Something Strange and Deadly

Something Strange and Deadly

4.0 47
by Susan Dennard

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Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. And when she discovers that the Dead are rising in Philadelphia and wreaking havoc throughout the city, she knows that her brother is involved.

So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been

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Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. And when she discovers that the Dead are rising in Philadelphia and wreaking havoc throughout the city, she knows that her brother is involved.

So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been reanimating corpses. Their skills can save her brother. But as Eleanor spends time with the Spirit-Hunters, and their handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. Now not only is her reputation at risk, but her very life may hang in the balance.

In Something Strange and Deadly, the first book in a trilogy, Susan Dennard weaves together vividly imagined scenes of action, adventure, and gorgeous Victorian fashion to create an entertaining steampunk tapestry of humor, horror, and romance. Readers who love Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series will be intrigued from the start.

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Editorial Reviews

bookseller at Mysteries on Mainstreet Melissa
Oh. My. God. IN LOVE! This book takes the walking dead to a whole new level! This whole book keeps you on the edge of your seat… chewing your nails waiting to see what is going to happen next…This book is a MUST read.
Marie Lu
Thrilling, charming, and dark, Something Strange and Deadly is a delicious sandwich of harmonious flavors. I fell for Daniel, I soaked in the zombie mayhem with glee, I delighted in the steampunk fashion and gadgetry. If you enjoyed The Clockwork Angel, you’ll love this. Fantastical fun.
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
A wonderfully brisk pace sweeps readers into an intriguing mystery. Eleanor serves as a highly entertaining guide and readers will find themselves settling in among the undead just fine.
Shelf Awareness
From the first page, readers will be awakened to an 1876 Philadelphia replete with animated corpses, irresistible romance and a game of intrigue. Those who enjoy Cassandra Clare’s the Infernal Devices series will be spellbound by Dennard’s macabre and impressive debut
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
A wonderfully brisk pace sweeps readers into an intriguing mystery. Eleanor serves as a highly entertaining guide and readers will find themselves settling in among the undead just fine.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
A wonderfully brisk pace sweeps readers into an intriguing mystery. Eleanor serves as a highly entertaining guide and readers will find themselves settling in among the undead just fine.
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

A wonderfully brisk pace sweeps readers into an intriguing mystery. Eleanor serves as a highly entertaining guide and readers will find themselves settling in among the undead just fine.

Publishers Weekly
In Victorian-era Philadelphia, 16-year-old Eleanor Fitt worries more about “hungry and dangerous” reanimated corpses than about parasols and corsets. In this first book in a trilogy, debut author Dennard deftly weaves together a vast plot involving social status, spirits, zombies, necromancy, romance, and pseudoscience. Eleanor’s brother, Elijah, never returns home from New York City, instead sending a cryptic letter ripe for deciphering. As the dead rise and acquaintances are murdered, Eleanor fears for Elijah’s life. Looking for answers, she sneaks off to find the Spirit-Hunters, a group of eccentric teenagers, at the 1876 International Centennial Exhibition. Meanwhile, Eleanor’s mother is trying to marry her off to wealthy and connected Clarence Wilcox, but feisty Eleanor can’t shake her nagging feelings about him—or about a ragtag Spirit-Hunter genius named Daniel. In a swirling, rib-tickling story, Eleanor displays both good sense and the bravery to fight evil and remain free from the tyranny of high society. Blending historical fiction, horror, romance, and mystery, Dennard creates a roaring—and addictive—gothic world. Ages 13–up. Agent: Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Aug.)
Melissa - Mysteries on Mainstreet
Oh. My. God. IN LOVE! This book takes the walking dead to a whole new level! This whole book keeps you on the edge of your seat… chewing your nails waiting to see what is going to happen next…This book is a MUST read.
Children's Literature - Toni Jourdan
Eleanor Fitt is a struggling teenager growing up in nineteenth century Philadelphia. She lives with her mother since a political struggle has caused her father's early death, and her family's monetary and social demise. Her brother, Elijah, is missing and when a note from him is delivered to her at the train station her life takes on a drastic turn of events. Why? Because the note is carried by a zombie. Philadelphia is being besieged by the "Dead" and Eleanor fears for her brother as well as for everyone she knows and loves. Instead of hiding behind her tender femininity and allowing her mother to marry her off to the handsome and wealthy Clarence Wilcox, she searches out the Spirit-Hunters where she learns the fine art and science of zombie killing directly from the city's hired "supernatural force" protectors. Secrets surround Eleanor as she fights alongside Daniel, a strong willed, sarcastic Spirit-Hunter, but nothing will stop her in her search for her brother and the ultimate zombie eradication. Not even the ill-timed "feelings" that she is developing for Daniel. A spirited, period piece that ties together a woman's place during the Victorian era with the adventures that only a zombie tale can bring. Dennard writes in an easy-to-read, conversational style with strong characters that leave you rooting for Eleanor and wishing that you could be there cracking zombie kneecaps right beside her. Reviewer: Toni Jourdan
VOYA - Sherrie Williams
A necromancer has taken control of the Dead in late nineteenth-century Philadelphia, and Eleanor Fitt finds herself in the midst of the macabre uprising. Since the death of her father, her family's standing has diminished to the point that her mother is seeking to marry Eleanor off to any available suitor, much to her dismay. Her beloved and much-missed brother, Elijah, has been traveling the globe researching arcane arts for several years. One of the Dead delivers a note from her brother, leading her to fear that Elijah has fallen under the control of the necromancer. Eleanor seeks help from a ragtag group of Spirit-Hunters hired to protect the city from the ravages of the Dead. As Eleanor delves deeper into the Spirit-Hunters, the necromancer, and the Dead, she finds that even those closest to her may not be innocent. This debut novel is quite compelling and features a plot that moves at breakneck speed. It will likely generate a substantial fan base for the second book in the series, which is due to be published in the summer of 2013. While some readers may find the constant, detailed mentions of the discomfort of period fashions repetitive (corsets and parasols abound), the plot is full of action, betrayal, and romance. The protagonist is a strong young female who refuses to be dismissed and used as a pawn by her family or those around her. The mix of zombies and steampunk themes will appeal to fans of both genres. Reviewer: Sherrie Williams
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—This novel is a cool mixture of Victorian mystery/romance and zombie story. It makes for a sort of steampunk feel. It has suspense and is a mystery in the lightest sense of the word but the fun is in its blending of genres with the cosseted elite mixing with the zombie hordes. Eleanor Fitt is in a troublesome spot. Her brother is missing, her mother refuses to acknowledge the sorry state of their finances and is trying to marry her off to the highest bidder, and the dead are walking. She goes to the Spirit-Hunters determined to find out what really happened to her brother. Instead of answers she finds more questions: Why are the Spirit-Hunters here? Are they causing the trouble with the dead, or are they simply patsies? And, more importantly, why is everyone associated with her brother dying in such a dramatic way? Eleanor is strong willed and inquiring, and the situations mirror the Victorian sensibilities well. Give this novel to anyone who likes a light zombie story with a pinch of romance.—Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Zombies strike the 1876 Philadelphia World's Fair. Eleanor Fitt--of the Philadelphia Fitts--wants nothing more than for her brother to return from his three-year odyssey abroad. She and her dear Mama have just about run out of funds, and she misses Elijah terribly. So when a shambling Dead gives her a note from him telling her he's been detained, she is mightily distressed. The next day, the determined teen is off for some help from the Spirit-Hunters who have set up shop at the International Centennial Exhibition. Once readers accept Eleanor's casual response to the animated corpses--she recovers awfully quickly from her initial close encounter--they are in for an enjoyably breathless, if slightly disgusting romp. Her can-do attitude finds her at one point systematically disabling a throng of zombies by smashing their kneecaps with her parasol. Mystery, romance, humor, action, a sure-fire setting: Dennard delivers. The romance is less a triangle than a straight line, as readers will instantly spot Eleanor's best match, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Two of the Spirit-Hunters, the Creole magician at its head and a de-sexed Chinese girl who disguises herself as a boy, are more stereotypes than fully realized characters, but there is room for them to grow in the sequel. Readers who can look past the gloomily generic paranormal cover will find themselves pleasantly occupied. (Paranormal historical fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.46(w) x 7.88(h) x 1.00(d)
HL630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

Marie Lu

Thrilling, charming, and dark, Something Strange and Deadly is a delicious sandwich of harmonious flavors. I fell for Daniel, I soaked in the zombie mayhem with glee, I delighted in the steampunk fashion and gadgetry. If you enjoyed The Clockwork Angel, you’ll love this. Fantastical fun.

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Something Strange and Deadly 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
JessabellaReviews More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written story set in Victorian-Era Philly with ZOMBIES!! I received an Advance Reader's Edition of this book from Epic Reads. Thank you guys soo much! Eleanor Fitt is an extremely strong-minded heroine, which is quite refreshing considering the time period. She tells the story and oh! what a story it is! The scenes are so vividly imagined that this reviewer felt as if she was actually walking through the streets with Eleanor. The world building in this novel left reviewer speechless at times, it was that good! The mystery of finding out what happened to Eleanor's brother brings us to a world of necromancers, zombies, and the elusive spirit hunters. Daniel (who is a member of the little rag-tag group called the spirit hunters who are trying to stop the zombies from attacking Philadelphia) and Eleanor's often-times frustrating relationship will leave readers cheering for them to "just kiss already"! Readers will be hanging on to every beautifully descriptive word as they race to figure out just what really is going on in Philly, and who is behind it. This enchanting mix of zombies, mystery, magic, forbidden love, and good old-fashioned girl power is NOT TO BE MISSED!
PrettyInFiction More than 1 year ago
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard is not a "zombie book". Sure, there are zombies in it, but it's more steampunk than horror. While reading, I couldn't help but be reminded of The Girl in the Steel Corset by Cady Cross and Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey. Both books had similar elements to Something Strange and Deadly. I think anyone who enjoyed either of those book will definitely enjoy Something Strange and Deadly, and vice versa. Eleanor is such a smart character. Most kick-butt female characters are tough or mouthy, but Eleanor uses her brains to solve her issues, not her fists. She might be the most curious character I've ever read about. And she actually puts all of the clues she discovers together, and not in some brilliant epiphany at the last possible second sort of way you see in a lot of books. The cast of characters in Something Strange and Deadly were wonderful. Joseph, the elegant leader of the Spirit Hunters, inspired respect and loyalty from his friends. Jie, the tough Chinese girl pretending to be a boy, was such a fantastic influence on Eleanor. She showed her that you always have a choice, no matter if you're a girl, boy, rich, poor. It doesn't matter. You make your own decisions in life. And the best part was that Eleanor understood this advice and took it to heart! I liked Daniel right from the get-go. He jumps in with an attitude and a smug smile and that was all it took for me to fall for him. Luckily, it took Eleanor a little longer or this could've been a pretty boring romance. I enjoyed their banter and interactions so much more because they didn't get along at first. The ending Dennard left us with has me anticipating the future of the Spirit Hunters and Eleanor's possible role within their ranks. Not to mention some more creepy necromancer action! I recommend Something Strange an Deadly to fans of paranormal romance and steampunk. P.S. OMG THAT COVER!
MarissaA More than 1 year ago
Let me just say first, this was really well written! It felt like I was in the story, through the language, setting, described clothing, props/items; all of it gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to be in the 19th Century, the year 1876. The story itself was very creative and unpredictable, so you just never know where this story is going to turn. I really liked this story, the zombies; having it set in Philadelphia, in 1876; the mystery aspect, the characters, and a questionable Romance. Eleanor Fitt seems like a strong minded character and reading from her POV was just great; I liked that a lot, as we go along this uncertain journey with her. Other characters in the novel, including the mysterious Daniel Sheridan, was lovely to read, and he is one to watch out for :) Throughout the story, there are unexpected turns of events, especially towards the end, oh my, towards the end! You will be shocked at what happens. Shocked. The ending immediately made me want to read the next book in this series, so I look forward to it!
vedgerton More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading the book last night, and I must say that I was sad that it had ended. The story has lots of " twists and turns" that I didn't see coming and kept me guessing on what was going to happen next. The book seemed well written and it kept me pulled into the story from the first chapter to the last chapter. I'll just have to wait till the next book is released............for the rest of the story!! I can't wait. Thanks Susan for the wonderful story.
KristaKP More than 1 year ago
Just received my book in the mail yesterday and am on chapter 18. I couldn't wait to get home and start reading. I read until about 11 p.m. and then decided to get ready for bed only to get back up about 3 a.m. to read a little more. This is a book you just can't put down. You just can't stop reading. I just had to know what would happen next. I can't wait to get home tonight so i can continue where i left off. The only sad part will be when i am finished and i have to wait on the next release. This is a must have for anyone that loves the strange, the dead or just loves to read a good book that will take you away from everyday life into a world of the undead. This book is so intense, the characters so real. Thank you for a wonderful book.. Please keep them comming.
Falln2books More than 1 year ago
Something Strange and Deadly is one of those intense novels that kept me on the edge of my seat. I should have started this novel earlier in the day because I refused to put it down before I finished it. This resulted in a lost night's sleep, but it was so worth it! From the first zombie attack, which happened within the first few pages, I was hooked. The characters are well-developed, flawed, likable, and realistic. I couldn't help but sympathize with everyone (other than Eleanor's mother), even the bad guys. The plot is unique and engrossing. I also loved the setting. Most novels that are set in the Victorian Era are set in England and are steampunk. This isn't a steampunk book. There is not one overly advanced piece of technology. There are some strange inventions, but those inventions are still very much within the realm of possibility for the late 19th century. Dennard offers an interesting look into what Victorian Philadelphia would have been like if there had been a zombie invasion. Eleanor is no simpering miss, and because of this, she does not fit in during her time period. She's aware of this. She's too free-thinking for the Victorian Era. Therefore, she always feels like a misfit, which is a play on her name "Miss Fitt." Eleanor is a strong lead character who is willing to fight for what she believes in. She also isn't afraid to get her hands dirty and can take care of herself. She makes mistakes throughout this novel, but she grows immensely as a character. I can't wait to see what the sequel brings for her. Another character that I found extremely interesting was Jie. However, I don't want to spoil the surprise with who Jie is, so I'm not going to analyze this character any further. Daniel is also a great leading man. He's tortured (of course) and has done some awful things. However, deep down, he's good, and he's willing to try to make amends. There are a lot of characters in this novel who want to make amends for their mistakes, and there are also some who are unrepentant. That seems to be the defining way to tell who is good and who is not - if they want to make up for the pain they've caused others, or if they want to continue to hurt others. There are no strong messages against class or oppression or anything like that, but I don't think taking a stand against Victorian Era society would be applicable to our contemporary society. Therefore, it would be rather pointless to make any statements to that effect. The plot is intense, and there is a mystery going on throughout the course of the novel. I figured it out pretty early on, but it wasn't obvious. I just made a guess based and was correct. There are tiny hints, but nothing that gives it away until the big reveal. Also, the plot is an emotional roller coaster. I was laughing at a lot of parts, and I cried at the end. Because of my ability to relate to all of the characters, I was extremely emotionally invested in this novel. Furthermore, the pacing is perfect. The story flew by even though the book is 400 pages long. Nothing felt rushed, though. I know I was white-knuckling my Kindle during the last 20% or so of the book. The intensity of the plot grows as the story continues, which basically forced me to finish this book in one sitting. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves zombie stories, mysteries, books set in the Victorian Era, or supernatural/paranormal books.
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
Something Strange and Deadly is the first novel in Susan Dennard’s Something Strange and Deadly series. The tale takes place in Philadelphia, PA in the year 1876. I loved this steampunk zombie novel, featuring the feisty, sleuth protagonist Eleanor Fitt. I easily finished this novel in two evenings and look forward to reading more. We are immediately immersed in the tale as Eleanor waits at the train station for her beloved brother, Elijah to arrive. When he doesn't arrive she heads to the telegram counter for news. The dead alarms begin to ring. This signals that zombies are in the station. Chaos breaks loose as people scramble to escape. Eleanor dives into the telegram booth and hides. When the window shatters and a zombie appears she just about faints. Instead of attacking her, it drops a telegram on her lap. Too frightened to read it she rushes home. Here she reads the message and discovers he won’t be returning. Eleanor begins to believe that the zombies have him. When she sees an article about Spirit Hunters, she sets off to get answers and hopefully some help. The tale that unfolds has moments of suspense, mystery, humor and a smidgeon of romance. The dead are rising from Laurel Hill Cemetery and a necromancer is controlling them. I became completely immersed in the tale as Eleanor tries to stop the dead and save her brother. Eleanor Fitt is sixteen and lives with her overbearing mother and maid. Her brother Elijah has been away for over two years. The families finances are crumbling and her mother is constantly spending money trying to impress others. I liked Eleanor; she is witty, inquisitive and brave. Her need for answers causes her to be reckless and her free spirit creates tension with her mother. Daniel is an inventor and member of the Spirit Hunters. He is cute, stubborn and quick to temper. He is also protective when it comes to Eleanor. I enjoyed their witty banter and Eleanor’s attraction to him caused me to giggle. While there is a tiny bit of romance, their story is just beginning. Other characters added suspense and mystery. The world-building while at times predictable kept me entertained. Dennard beautifully captures the era and some of its ridiculous society rules. She does this without overwhelming the reader in details and instead focuses on the characters and plot. The flow of this novel was wonderful. I would have liked more gadgetry but enjoyed the tools the Spirit Hunters used. The characters themselves and mystery kept me turning the pages. Discovering the necromancer and searching for clues was entertaining. The zombies are in the background of this tale, but when they do make appearances the scenes are delightful. While the tale felt complete, Dennard’s ending has hinted at what is to come. While I easily pieced together the clues regarding the necromancer it was fun to discover the reasons. I want to thank Harper Teen and Edelweiss for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
histgirl 3 months ago
Zombies, the Victorian age, Spirit Hunters and Necromancers, oh my! The storyline is a creative take on zombies with a bit of Steampunk meets Ghost Hunters. I say a bit because the Steampunk isn’t overt and the storyline leans more to the spiritual/magic side rather than the technological side. The zombies aren’t your typical walking dead. These are animated corpses brought back and controlled by those with an innate handle on spiritual energy. That power in in itself is dark and easily abused. Tapping into it is dangerous and it’s the job of a crew of Spirit Hunters to sniff out the ones using it and stop them from harming others. Eleanor Fitz is 16 years old and lives with her mother in Philadelphia. Her family has been in a precarious financial situation since her father’s death and her brother who she’s close to has disappeared. On top of the pressure of her mother trying to find her a suitable match for a husband so she can help dig her family out of their financial mess she’s worrying about her brother and the undead that are rising in Philadelphia. Eleanor believes that the mysterious Necromancer who is raising the dead in Philadelphia is the same person holding her brother Elijah hostage. Unable to find him herself she turns to a crew of Spirit Hunters for help. The storyline focuses more on the development of the relationships and the growth of the characters as they face the onset of zombie attacks happening in Philadelphia. Eleanor is a feisty and likeable character. She’s determined, adventurous and doesn’t hold back her emotions or opinions. If you’re looking for a full on zombie fest this book won’t appeal to you. It’s less about the zombies and more about the mystery of who has animated the corpses and why they are doing it. The big bad scary isn’t the zombies, it’s the Necromancers. The mystery surrounding the Necromancer is what makes the story interesting. I would have enjoyed a bit more action and bigger fight scenes with the zombies but I figure that’s all being saved up for the other books. Reviewed by Joy for Crystal's Many Reviewers
Adriyanna 6 months ago
When I first read Something Strange and Deadly, it acted as a re-introduction to the steampunk genre. Beforehand, I’d only read a few steampunk-themed books and it’d been a few years. I was not let down. The writing is entirely compelling, the majority of chapters ending on a cliffhanger (you can’t help but think, ‘one more chapter, just one more’) and our protagonist, Eleanor Fitt is brilliantly witty! In an alternate 1876 Philadelphia where the Dead have risen, deadly villains and strange heroes leave nothing but an entertaining debut novel. Our main cast of characters are introduced in the first few chapters, though some are more of a foreshadowing (if you’re picking up on these breadcrumbs). We also get a very good look at the relationship between Eleanor and her mother, Abigail Fitt. SS&D is written in first POV, so the reader learns two sides of Eleanor. There’s the very outgoing side that couldn’t care less (or understand) about high society and the other which most people see, complying with her mother’s wishes. Eleanor’s mother on the other hand very much cares about fitting in and carrying on with the latest trends. She’s also set her mind on marrying Eleanor off to an eligible bachelor and in turn saving their family name and fortune. This high society is all about wearing a mask. Eleanor tries to act like a lady, but sometimes her real self comes out (more so around Daniel). Her mother also wears a mask by trying to hide the misfortune of the Philadelphia Fitts. When this mask comes off, the reader experiences the raw emotion these characters are hiding. For example, two of Eleanor’s ‘friends’ Mercy and Patience remove their mask after seeing Eleanor with Clarence Wilcox, a very rich and eligible bachelor. That moment is pretty scary for her. Then Eleanor meets the Spirit Hunters, Joseph-Alexandre Boyer, Daniel Sheridan and Jie. She’s able to break out of her shell and really grow as a character. It’s great being inside Eleanor’s head because while she’s a very likeable and humour-filled character, she does have her imperfections. Eleanor realizes along this adventure she’ll need to make a choice about who she wants to be. While on the search for her missing brother Elijah, the necromancer is leaving a trail of dead bodies and Eleanor fears her brother is his next victim. To add, her mother let out an evil spirit during a séance gone wrong. Like a good mystery, Dennard leaves hints for her brave heroine, but also like a good mystery these clues can point in an entirely different direction. Daniel Sheridan. Both attractive and infuriating, Eleanor and him can’t help arguing in their first encounter. As Eleanor allies with the Spirit Hunters, I found the two to make a great team (although they don’t realize it right away). Eleanor’s real self comes out around Daniel, and he himself reveals secrets of his own. It was also amusing watching Eleanor develop a crush on Daniel, but not necessarily be aware of it. She’d observe little details about him and then scold herself for such behaviour. With murder and voodoo magic lining the pages, Something Strange and Deadly captivates readers through incredible characters and shocking revelations. Despite danger at every corner, I wouldn’t mind joining Eleanor and the Spirit Hunters! They have a lot of unimaginable adventures ahead of them. *Review condensed to fit within 3500 characters.
CJListro 11 months ago
Read more: in short For some reason, I waited a long time to read this. I acquired a copy from Sue at a signing she did with Sarah Maas over a year ago. Perhaps I worried that my love of Susan would be at odds with the book. A ridiculous worry! Something Strange and Deadly is a novel kindred to my soul: bizarre, eclectic, and fancifully dark. It's also wickedly smart. Eleanor Fitt is the finicky, unconventional, clever heroine I've been waiting for. She's not very strong. She has no secret talents, other than a quick tongue and steel will. When her mother's fake seance raises an actual spirit, she ignores the protests of the nonbelievers and seeks out the Spirit Hunters, three misfits trained in the supernatural. Suddenly, she's caught in a game of many players, a game so much deeper than the raising of a mere few zombies. The intricate plot kept me rapt until the very end, when the only consolation was that I didn't have to say goodbye to the characters: I already owned the sequel. Seriously, I can't gush enough about this novel. I'm plotting fan art as we speak.
Mindy_Lou More than 1 year ago
The book was ok.. It wasn't a bad read just not the best.. I do not think the book was a waste of a read it just wasn't the IT book for me.. Time is set back in the days of big dresses and guys who left calling cards to escort women out.. It is twisted with darkness and Zombies..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it bad to say I was bored stiff with this book? Well, I was. Zombies in post-Civil War Philadelphia, magic, and... a 1930's idiom? Yes, indeed, the fun never stopped, making me wish I had the physical book to burn.
KikiD870 More than 1 year ago
Steampunk and zombies!  This may sound like an odd combination, but it is one that works!  Petticoats and parasols mixed with steam-powered machines and pulse bombs that kill zombies?  Yes, please! The story is set in the midst of Philadelphia's high society in 1876, the time of chaperoned dates, petticoats, bustles, séances, and burgeoning technology.  The Dead have risen, their numbers seemingly increasing every day.  The city has hired a group of veritable misfits, The Spirit Hunters, to hunt them down and protect the city.  But instead of supporting them, it seems as if they have been brought in mostly for show.   Eleanor and her mother live on the edge of high society, having fallen from favor since her father's business went south and his subsequent death.  They are barely hanging on and her eldest brother has seemingly disappeared when they need him most.  After receiving a letter from him, delivered by one of the Dead, Eleanor seeks out the Hunters in her desperation to find out what happened to her brother.  Her choice changes her life and draws her into a mystery that she never imagined, full of intrigue, surprises, and so many twists and turns. I loved Eleanor as a main character.  In many ways, she reminded me of Arabella Holmes in Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman, which I reviewed here.  Both of these characters are very different from most of the women/girls of their time, bucking social norms with their ideas and behavior.  I love that rebellious quality in a female protagonist!  She is loyal to her family, even to her overbearing and rather icy mother, and she has an extremely strong sense of right and wrong and she refuses to compromise herself.  She hated the social classes that dictated so much of her life and yearned for the freedom to live her life how she chose.   The Spirit Hunters truly were a band of misfits in that time.  They got no respect from the city leaders, whose city they were trying to save.  But this never deterred them from their mission.  Joseph was the leader, a black man in a less than tolerant time.  Daniel was a convict with a mushy heart of gold.  And then there was Jie.  There is so much to say about Jie, but it is best left to be discovered! Things to love...    --The ending.  Not exactly a cliffhanger, and not exactly a HEA, it leaves it open nicely for the rest of the series!    --The characters.  I loved the different kinds of characters and all of their quirkiness. My Recommendation:  The story is fast-paced and fun, full of unexpected twists and turns.  The premise is unlike anything I have read before and I loved that!  Steampunk and zombies!  I gave it 4.6 mugs!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zombies (the social workshop) has all the info.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do not often post book reviews, however, I felt for this brilliant novel, I must. Weather or not you like zombies, this book will leave you in awe. The female character, Eleanor Fitt, is a strong role model. There is a compelling love story, yet it does not take over the book. From early teens to adults, this is a must read!
vleighwrites More than 1 year ago
5/5 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The beging is hard to get into it doesnt seem very interresting
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard Book One of the Something Strange and Deadly series Publisher: HarperTeen Publication Date: July 24, 2012 Rating: 4 stars Source: Hardcover copy won from a giveaway Summary (from Goodreads): The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia… Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper— The Dead are rising in Philadelphia. And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother. Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance. What I Liked: I cannot believe how long I waited to read this book! Like, I feel so stupid. I've had this book for more than a year, and I neglected to read this book. There are so many books that I want to read, like this one, but I never got to it. But I finally got around to it, because I got an Advanced Reader Copy of A Darkness Strange and Lovely.  Eleanor's brother is missing. He hasn't come home from New York, and Eleanor is worried. So, she goes to check and see if a telegraph was sent - and a zombie attack happens. The Dead flock the post office. Sounds like quite the opening scene, right?! I thought so. Immediately, Dennard brings the action, zombies, and craziness. It's a great scene to begin the book, because readers get a feel of the tension and mood of the setting. Not an easy feat, but Dennard did it! Well, her brother is still missing, and while Eleanor was attacked in the post office, one of the zombies gives a letter to Eleanor - from her brother. This means that the zombies have her brother, or whoever is controlling them has him. Eleanor goes to the Spirit Hunters for help, and our story begins. I really liked this book! I can't believe I put off reading it for so long. I love historical fiction, and this book is an amazing historical fiction novel. It's set in the 1800s, and readers are constantly reminded of this. The mode of dress, the speech, the somewhat arranged marriages, the regression of women's rights... Dennard keeps bringing about Eleanor's pending engagement and marriage, which is a great way to remind readers that the romance in historic times had many different barriers - some very different from today. Speaking of romance, we have Eleanor and Daniel. I really like Daniel - he isn't the typical YA hero. I suppose because he is a historical fiction character, and not a contemporary character, there MUST be differences, but I feel like even then, Daniel is different. A good different. I love his mercurial temper - it reminds me of my own. That might not be a good thing though. Anyway, the plot of this story is very interesting and engaging. I like how Dennard ended this book - it's not a pretty ending, physically or emotionally, but it's a fitting ending. The climax is very exciting and heart-stopping, and the ending is a straight slope down. I like this! Bring on book two! What I Did Not Like: At this point, I can't remember anything in particular that I didn't like. Perhaps Eleanor's mother? I think that her character is so terrible and I HATE her, but that just shows how good of a writer Dennard is - she has readers feeling something towards a secondary character. I can't exactly justify why this one gets four stars instead of five - it just feels like a four-star novel, instead of a five-star novel. That's not a bad thing though! Would I Recommend It: I would totally recommend this book! Go zombies! Dennard's version of zombies is sensational and creepy and epic, and I don't care how many zombie books you will read in the future - READ THIS ONE! Anyone who enjoys zombie books, historical fiction, or just reading, will like this book.  Rating: 4 stars. I am so glad that I finally got around to reading this book! Susan Dennard is amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GET A HOLD OF YOUR SELF!!!!!!!!!!!!JEESH!!!!!!!
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
I am ashamed to say I left this sitting on my shelf for over a year. I always knew I wanted to read it, but I just kept getting slammed with my TBR pile and it kept getting pushed back. And then the second book came out and I knew I messed up. If it took me this long to read the first one, how was I ever going to get to the next in the series?! But then I saw that Epic Reads was reading this for their book club and I knew it was the perfect time for me to get started on it! The reason I let this sit unread on my shelf is I'm not a huge fan of zombies. I'm also not a huge historical fiction fan, so you can see where my doubt lied. I honestly just bought it because I thought the cover was intriguing. After reading this I wanted to hit myself. Both of those things (along with a fast moving plot) made this an amazing debut from Dennard. It honestly was refreshing not to read about things that are so common in the fantasy genre. Well I say that because I don't read that many zombie books OR that many fantasy for that matter lol I loved seeing the imagination that Dennard put into the zombies to make them so frightening. That's what I love abut fantasy. There's no limits. The authors have free reign to make the world and its characters how ever they want. The more descriptive the better. As for the historical fiction part, I got it, but it wasn't totally understood. For example, I KNOW what year it was and why they were treating Eleanor that way, but what about some mentions of how the building looked? Or things that were happening around them? Even things that were happening around the city. I really enjoyed the characters the most though. Eleanor was feisty and reminded me of me a little. I could definitely understand doing anything to help someone I love. Especially family! Even if it meant putting myself in danger. Then there was Daniel. I LOVED him. He was so smart but also had some &quot;bad boy&quot; qualities in him. Totally my style. Then there is Jie. One of my fave secondary characters ever. Smart, strong, and a fighter? What more can you ask for?! Unfortunately, the romance in this one isn't really prevalent, but there is a big reason for it. The entire novel Eleanor and her mother are arguing about who will ask for her hand and why its such a big deal that someone with stature asks her to be his wife. Eleanor on the other hand doesn't care to fall for whom her mother wants her to be with and she is falling for someone else... Someone who says they aren't in love with her. Hopefully they can get that together in book two, because I really want that to happen. Like I'm already shipping them lol In short, I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did. A huge thanks to HarperTeen (Epic Reads) for giving me the &quot;epic&quot; push that I needed into this frightening world of the &quot;walking dead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I won and received an ARC copy form Epic Reads. When I got this book i was in complete surprise because i really didn't know that I won it so I was taken by complete surprise. I had to buy the first book after receiving this and lucky it was only 1.99 for my Nook - I adored it. I enjoyed it so much. The plot was so strong, the characters all so exciting, and I just loved so many things about it. i just have to say that loved Daniel and Eleanor. The only reason I hate to give 4 stars is the ending, albeit a nicely wrapped up ending, I did not really like it, it is going to make me think and be a little down for a day or two.  Otherwise a greatly constructed, different book to me.