Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Author: SUsan Dennard
Genre: Paranormal – Zombies
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.
“The fault is not in our stars,” I whispered to the ceiling. “But in ourselves. This was my choice.“
I never thought that I would enjoy a mixture of steampunk, zombies, and romance, but in Something Strange and Deadly they are woven together so flawlessly that you are enticed and tempted, and then hooked.
Eleanor Pitt, at first glance, is a proper young lady, yet she has never quite managed to fit into polite society no matter how much her mother pushed, prodded, and manipulated, to get them back into the Philadelphia society where they had once belonged. Eleanor was such an intelligent and curious girl in a time when women were meant to be anything but. I think this is one of the reasons that you’ll feel such an affection for her. She was just striving to do the best and be the best she can be but society frowns upon it. All Eleanor was concerned about was finding her brother, whereas for her mother reacquiring their position in society was all that matters and it didn’t matter how they do it, even to consorting with the very people who caused her husband’s death.
Mrs. Pitt was the stereotypical pushy mother that you see now at sport games, etc. and you feel no more empathy toward her than you do with them. We see Elijah mostly through Eleanor’s eyes and learn about him as slowly as she does. It was fascinating to have someone revealed this way as your view of him changes from a younger sister’s hero worship towards reality. How often do we do this very same thing.
The Spirit Hunters, Joseph, Daniel, and Jie all played a large part in the story, especially Daniel, as he and Eleanor drew closer. There was the feeling that something could happen between them but circumstances and time were not on their side. I loved the character of Jie, a feisty Chinese girl who dressed and pretended to be a boy because it was so much more freeing and she could move about more openly. And Joseph, the gentleman spirit Hunter from New Orleans, who carried such weight upon his shoulders. All three of them underestimated and disregarded Eleanor to begin with, Daniels nickname for her being Empress, but she proved that she was more than worthy of anything that they required.
As for Clarence, I was never sure whether he was a goodie or a baddie, you will find out eventually and it will all make sense but throughout the book you’ll always feel an underlying sympathy with him.
The book took a few chapters for me to warm up to, but once I was into it, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down. There were so many questions I had: where was Elijah; who was the necromancer; were the spirit hunters on the right side; did Daniel or Clarence stand a chance with Eleanor; what was the spirit thing that her mother had let loose at the seance; and what was the next thing that Eleanor used to bribe Mary, the maid, with in order to escape to investigate. Yes, I was most definitely hooked and reeled in and I kept going along with the ride. The questions were all answered and while this ended with them answered for now, you’ll know there is more to come.
I’m not usually into zombie books but these undead had an interesting way of looking at them and while they will still give you horror, they didn’t take over the book, the characters did. I have read a few steampunk books, too, where the horror took over, but once again, although it was the setting, it was minor, and the romance was very mild.
This was very much a character driven book and the characters were bought to life with wonderful skill and were very much alive and three dimensional. I would give this story four stars for a slow start but it was most definitely a book worth reading.
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