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Book Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly wasn’t for me. I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t get into it.

Book Review: Something Strange and Deadly

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something strange and deadly susan dennard

Title & Author: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Genre: YA Fantasy – Zombies

Release Date: July 24, 2012

Series: 1st in a trilogy

Publisher: HarperTeen

How I Got the Book: Bought


“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.”

Zombies Newbie

Something Strange and Deadly was my first zombie book! I don’t know what’s held me back – maybe because zombies tend to go toward the kitschy end of fantasy/sci fi, but that part of the book I actually liked.

Other than the living dead, I wasn’t really a fan of Eleanor, Daniel or the setting. To me, this book was had too much cheese and not enough meat.

A few things that bugged me:

  • Eleanor is painted as a “strong” heroine, yet she literally faints at every turn.
  • Eleanor has zero fighting skills, yet randomly comes up with this slick karate-esque moves
  • The romance was flat for me – Daniel is annoyed by her half the time
  • A saw the “twist” in the book 100 miles away. So obvious.
  • Eleanor is often described as “fleshy” (I kid you not). So please explain the cover, book designers!
  • I hated HATED the ending. Ugh.

This book wasn’t all bad, I swear. Despite having a slow start, the book does pick up its pace around the middle of the story. There’s tons of action – zombie fighting and evil mastermind finding and whatnot.

I just wanted so much more from Something Strange and Deadly. The premise was there – but the execution was not.

Also, having really not liked the ending, that totally turned me off from the whole book. That’s the last thing I will remember about the book, and it stopped on such a depressing note.


I didn’t connect with this book. It simply wasn’t my thing. If you like zombies and corsets and the 1800s, Something Strange and Deadly could be for you.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.