Release Date: July 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins | HarperTeen
Pages: 388 pages
Source & Format: Gifted; Kindle e-book
Series: Something Strange & Deadly #1
Amazon | Goodreads
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.
Thoughts on Something Strange and Deadly
To be completely honest, I wrote this book off the minute I read the summary. Zombies? Thanks, but no thanks. I've just started being okay with creatures in my books, but I figured zombies might be taking it a bit too far. Then, I kept seeing trusted bloggers proclaim their love for this book so I decided to give it a shot.
I closed out 2013 with this book, and it's actually one that contributed to my goal to focus less on hype this year. That's not to say this is a bad book - by no means! But it really wasn't the right book for me, and I think I kind of knew that before I opened the first page. I certainly gave it a shot and found some things to love about it, but it was overall a mixed bag for me.
Here are three things I loved about Something Strange and Deadly:
- Eleanor Fitt - She's such a fantastic heroine! She's got a mind of her own, and she doesn't back down from a fight. I love when a girl has sass and spunk! Her mother is a total pain, but Eleanor doesn't let that hold her back. She's fighting for the people she loves, which made her a character I enjoyed.
- Philadelphia - I liked that the city was important in the story. The details about places they were going and things happening in the world helped me picture this setting. I liked that the story felt so original in some aspects but still really relatable in others. For example, it was nice that it was set in a real city even though it included some very unreal events (the Dead rising).
- Historical details - As a huge historical fiction fan, I adored these elements of the book. The time period, the small details about life during that time, the social restraints - I was completely interested in this aspect of the book. My huge problem with steampunk in general? I just cannot get past the inclusion of things like zombies in a historical setting. It's like my brain just does nott compute.
Unfortunately, those three elements weren't enough to leave me loving Something Strange and Deadly overall. I felt disconnected for the story and had to keep reminding myself to pick it up. There wasn't anything bad about it - I've got no major complaints or dislikes. I did guess one of the big secrets revealed in the end very early on while I was reading the book. It did take away the kind of mystery and tension that might have propelled me through the book, but that wasn't a huge deal. I also wasn't really invested in the romance, which is another reason this was probably just an okay read for me.
Something Strange and Deadly fell into that middle ground for me - good but not great. I'm not sure if my expectations were too high after seeing a number of rave reviews (always a possibility) or just the fact that I struggle with paranormal/science fiction blending with historical fiction. I have a feeling it's a combination of both. I plan on finishing this series because I liked it enough to be curious about what happens next, but I'm also not in a huge hurry to continue. It's a fun read that was really original, but I ultimately didn't completely connect to the story.
"Miss Fit, you know curiosity gets men killed."
I grinned. "Then I daresay it's good I'm a woman."