Friday, August 10, 2012

Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

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

Goodreads Summary:
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.

My Review:
This was one of the books I was really looking forward to in 2012. I mean, the cover alone is great...then you add historical fantasy with zombies...I was sold. I've read a lot of reviews for this book, so I know I'm going to be standing alone here, but I didn't love it. I almost didn't finish it because I found it slow until almost halfway through the book. Now, I just want to say it's not an awful book. I actually think it's a pretty solid 3 stars since it picked up at the end. But worth buying? No. Worth using up a precious library hold for? No. Worth reading? It depends on what's on your TBR list. If you've still got some really great books on there, I'd slide this one way down the list.

What didn't I like about this book? Well, I can't say it wasn't historically accurate. I mean, zombies. But it has a lot of qualities of mediocre historical fiction. Specifically, it will throw in historically accurate stuff that's obvious- like the Centennial Exhibition that was held in 1876. But it doesn't feel historically "lush" in the small details. I know it's historical fantasy, but it doesn't feel very Victorian Era to me. Not in the way people talk, acted, etc. And it's the little realistic details that make or break a historical fantasy novel. If you can get the details of the time period right, then the fantasy part seems more "real" and likely. I read a lot of Victorian Era fiction and Neo-Victorian literature, so maybe that's part of the problem. Maybe if you just go into it expecting a zombie book, none of this would be an issue. (I'm reading Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff right now and so far, Stormdancer is an example of historical fantasy done superbly. And it's just highlighting everything wrong with this book. Crosses fingers on Stormdancer...)

1 comment:

  1. That's one of my main problems with Steampunk. It has to be "lush" or I really dislike it. Part of the reason I pick up Victorian era books is because I enjoy the world building part of it. If the world building is weak, then it breaks the deal for me.

    But I can't use up a precious library hold, because my library doesn't have it. :( It gets books like a year after they release, lol.


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