Review: Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange & Deadly
Susan Dennard 
Series: Something Strange & Deadly, #1
Release Date: July 24th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 400
Source: Edelweiss

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.


Holy crap this was awesome. I don’t even want to write a review; I just want to bask in the awesomeness that is Something Strange and Deadly. (But you know, I kind of have to write a review, so here goes it.)

Eleanor Fitt is a sixteen-year-old living with her mother in Philadelphia, in the dawn of attacks from the walking Dead brought upon Philadelphia by a mysterious and unknown necromancer. To make matters worse, Eleanor receives letters from her long-lost brother, Elijah, and the content of the letters leads Eleanor to believe the necromancer has held Elijah hostage. Desperate to save her brother from the hands of the evil necromancer, Eleanor teams up with a group known as the Spirit-Hunters, all the while having to keep her strive to save her brother a secret from her overprotective mother, and everyone else.

Something Strange and Deadly was such an incredibly fun read, and I just loved it. There. That’s my review. What? I need to write more? Well, crap.

The plot for Something Strange and Deadly is very creative, and just a whole new take on the zombie genre. Instead of the zombies most people are typically used to, these zombies aren’t really even zombies. They’re animated corpses that do whatever their animator, the Necromancer, orders them to do. The Necromancer is an unknown person who is just wreaking havoc on all of Philadelphia by unleashing an army of the undead. I use the term “unknown” semi-lightly, because I had guessed who the Necromancer was a little too early in the book, but it didn’t really take away from my enjoyment, and I still ended up loving it.

The characters—especially Eleanor—were top-notch and were flawed in their own little ways, but they were still strong, amazing and extremely likable. Right off the bat I knew that I would like Eleanor; she’s stubborn, self-reliant, witty and strong. She knows what she wants, when she wants it, and won’t take no for an answer. As well as that, she is determined, and once she sets her mind on something, she goes through with it (these are the types of heroines we all need in YA). Aaaand, the relationship between Eleanor and her love interest (can I say who it is? Is that a spoiler?) is not insta-love, and their relationship actually takes time to develop and to form into something. (Yay!) Their romance also isn’t heavily relied upon in the book, and is more of just something that rides alongside the plot.

If you’re reading this book expected a massive zombiefest, you may be a bit disappointed in it. Yes, zombies are a big part of Something Strange and Deadly, but it’s not the main part. Throughout most of the book, there’s tons of character development, relationship development, lots of scenes in which Eleanor discovers secrets she never knew existed, and other scenes of the like.

And I know I’m jumping around a bit, but in my review I just need to mention that ending. That ending was just perfection! Everything about it I loved, and although I did see the Necromancer twist coming, there were other things I hadn’t seen coming, and I thought it was an extremely clever ending (but then again, the whole book is clever). And that last chapter, *sigh*, that was just an amazing last chapter, and I want the next book now. (pleeease?)

And now I have a few more survival tips for the impending zombie apocalypse (because it’s bound to happen, people):

Tip One: It’s not dead unless it’s completely and totally mangled.

Tip Two: Umbrellas can also be used as weapons.

Tip Three: Always aim for the knees.


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