Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Genre: YA Paranormal
Goodreads Summary: (Formerly titled The Spirit-Hunters)
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.
Something Strange and Deadly wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but I found this very refreshing. I’ve never read a book like it and it kept me intrigued the whole way through. Here’s why:
The plot was not predictable in the slightest and I would even classify this book under the mystery genre as well because in many ways it was also quite like a detective story. The main character, Eleanor, is searching for her brother and trying to find out who the necromancer is and trying to find out what the evil spirit wants.
All of these things added a lot of intrigue to the plot as we knew as little as Eleanor did. I thought that some plot strands were going to be extremely obvious and I guessed where they were going; however, most of these actually took unexpected turns and played out completely differently to what I had at first imagined. Although I had my suspicions as to who was behind all the trouble, I was never 100% sure.
My first impressions of most of the characters had changed completely by the time I reached the end of the book. I liked Eleanor, the main character, because although she lived in a society governed by strict social rules, she didn’t conform to these. Unlike most girls of the Victorian era, she isn’t silly or obsessed with marrying a rich husband, instead she is down to earth and understands the things that are truly important in life. I think she was an inspirational character and it was great to follow the story from her point of view. Sometimes I thought she was a little annoying or naive, but for the most part, I greatly enjoyed reading about her character.
My favourite character has to be Daniel. At the beginning, I absolutely hated him and his rude nature, but it wasn’t long before I started falling for his character. Although this book isn’t a romance novel, I thought his relationship with Eleanor was really well written, because it wasn’t too fast or too slow or too mushy as lots of relationships involving people from different social classes are.
All in all, Something Strange and Deadly is a gripping novel, full of intrigue, mystery and romance that had me turning pages like crazy. It is a really well written novel that was charged with emotion, mystery and the paranormal. I was completely absorbed in the story and I think I even shed a tear or two at the end and I haven’t cried whilst reading a book in quite a while.
I would highly recommend this to all fans of books featuring necromancers, spirits, zombies and mystery. I’ve never read anything in the ‘steam-punk’ genre before, but I think this would also appeal to people who love reading that genre because of the Victorian setting.