Early Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

July 23, 2012 Review 2

*This title will be released on July 24, 2012*

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1)

Something Strange and Deadly

(Something Strange and Deadly, #1)
by Susan Dennard

Genre: Paranormal YA, Steampunk | Excerpt: Yes
Book Trailer:  Yes
Reviewed by: Abigail | Source: Publisher

  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (July 24, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0062083260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062083265


Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.

Sexual Content



There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

The year is 1876 and 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.


Zombies, Victorian sensibilities, and clockwork gadgets galore.  I do love a good paranormal steampunk, and SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY by Susan Dennard is a good, if not great, example.

The beginning is a bit choppy and there are some wild leaps in logic that unfortunately are the only things that support the plot of the whole book. Eleanor’s conclusions about her brother’s absence were complete conjecture, and the conclusions she made stemming from that felt even flimsier.  I had to set my brain aside in order to move past this.  Once I did that, the story was much more enjoyable, specifically due to the Spirit-Hunters.

Imagine a young Victorian version of The Ghostbusters, and you get the Spirit-Hunters.  Three brilliant, bizarre, and often rude outcasts who in SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY answer the call to put Philadelphia’s rising dead back in their graves and stop the necromancer who’s controlling them.  Not an easy job when popular opinion blames them for the zombies in the first place.  When Eleanor seeks them out for help, she gets much more than she bargained for and soon finds herself aiding the trio in all sorts of improper and often highly illegal acts that would ruin her if discovered.

Eleanor has a few more modern sensibilities than I generally prefer in period novels, but her slow and surprising excitement at the world the Spirit-Hunters exposed her to was very believable, as was the increasingly strained relationship with her husband-hunting mother.  The plot was on the predictable side, as was the romance, but I enjoyed this enough to keep an eye out for the sequel, A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY, in 2013.

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2 Responses to “Early Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard”

  1. Paige Cuccaro

    My daughter loves steampunk. This one sounds exactly like something she’d love, even with the flaws. Nice review. Thanks for sharing!!