Something Strange and Deadly

Something Strange and Deadly

Book - 2012
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"In an alternate nineteenth-century Philadelphia, Eleanor Fitt sets out to rescue her brother, who seems to have been captured by an evil necromancer in control of an army of Undead"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : HarperTeen, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780062083265
0062083260
Branch Call Number: YF DENNA-S
Characteristics: 388 p. ; 22 cm

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Lise_biblio Apr 11, 2017

I enjoyed this Victorian zombie trilogy which reminded me of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. This version adds some interesting steampunk elements. There is also an enticing love story in this trilogy and some surprising twists and turns. All in all, a very entertaining read for teens.

a
akzfineart
Dec 03, 2016

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.

SS&D is full of plot twists! There’s a particular character who played their role very well, so well I didn’t see it coming. I won’t reveal their name as it might be a spoiler. What’s more, it was fascinating to read Dennard’s twist on other developments/events. For example, jingling bells are placed in a casket to warn the town against the risen Dead (pg 119). In the real world, measures like these were taken incase people were accidentally buried alive. I felt having little things like this really helped me connect with this alternate world and make it all the more real.

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.

i
isshin_yujo
Feb 17, 2016

I saw that the sequels were available in ebook form but not the first one. The book looks so great but I can't get the paper version.

s
sandette
Jun 21, 2015

I loved this one! The author's prose is so lyrical, and after everything she's been through, I sympathize with and feel closer to the main character, Eleanor. OMG YOU AND DANIEL NEED TO END UP TOGETHER, IF YOU DON'T I MIGHT DIE.

j
jomac_05
Jul 27, 2014

fell in love with this book, right away.

ladygrimm Apr 01, 2014

A very addictive read. I instantly fell in love with Eleanor and all of the Spirit Hunters. I don't like zombies too much. Thankfully while the zombie parts are very juicy (no pun intended), they are not overwhelming the story. It ends perfectly for its sequel to pick up but you can read it alone and still be satisfied.

c
crystal12544
Oct 30, 2013

this book was amazing! one of the best i have ever read and i would recommend this book to anyone wanting a good read

y
ychi
Jun 22, 2013

Yay for having expectations met! Eleanor is an ideal protagonist: unassuming enough in the beginning so no possibility of a bad first impression exists, and later strong when the situation calls for it. She's a convincing 19th-century heroine, in other words, with very relatable issues: being overweight (especially in the era of corsets and petticoats), searching for meaning beyond reputation and trying to find the choices she only just realizes she has. The development of secondary characters provides a rare cultural diversity. Joseph Boyer is Creole (his dialogue is lightly sprinkled with the language), and Jie Chen is a Chinese girl pretending to be a boy -- and she's gifted with some eye-opening lines for Eleanor regarding women's choices. As for Daniel, his rough-around-the-edges personality is a refreshing compromise between flashy bad boy and effortlessly suave gentleman. Side characters Mr. Clarence Wilcox and Eleanor's mother serve their purpose well. This book is 388 pages long. Thank goodness each of those pages is put to use. Dennard weaves quite a thick plot, and sensibly, each chapter allows another piece of a piece of the puzzle to be presented, upping the tension. The political intrigue originating in the past is a sturdy link to the story's supernatural elements, though Daniel's past is somewhat rushed and uneven, as is the credibility of the necromancer's identity. As well, the Exhibition, a display of modern technology, could easily have been more fleshed out to become a living, breathing setting rather than just a background. After a few surprisingly well-described action sequences, the final chapter arrives, and I hereby state that it's the best last chapter I've read. Eleanor isn't spared any injuries (indeed, it's going to be interesting to see how she manages in the final two books), and that the same time she deals with her romantic situation with aplomb: "My stomach clenched painfully. But it was all right; it would be all right. Better to know than to wonder." (p. 387) And Eleanor's determined strength in the final four paragraphs... well, I won't spoil them for you.

j
jillageyer
Dec 08, 2012

It was an awesome book. I'm not much of a zombie person, but it was awesome. It was incredible great for girls and guys. Got every element that makes a good story.

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akzfineart
Dec 03, 2016

akzfineart thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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