Darkness has come to the City of Light...
With her brother dead and her mother on the verge of insanity, Eleanor Fitt is utterly alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor begins to hear the vicious barking of hounds and see images of haunting yellow eyes, she fears the worst—that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are coming for her.
To escape and search out the Spirit-Hunters, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. Though friendly, Oliver entices Eleanor with necromancy and black magic, yet as long as she can resist his powerful temptation, she'll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over the city...and there's a whole new evil lurking. With the body count rising, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.
In Paris, there's a price for this darkness strange and lovely...and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.
In this spellbinding sequel to Something Strange and Deadly, Susan Dennard delivers a thrilling mix of intrigue, romance, and revenge, all set against the wonderfully enchanting backdrop of nineteenth-century Paris.
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by HarperTeen
Three and a half stars: A good sequel, but I struggled with the heroine.
Eleanor hurries along the busy streets of Philadelphia, anxious to complete her errands. She rubs the stump of her arm nervously, hoping to erase the phantom pain from her missing hand. It has been months since the Spirit Hunters left after she lost her hand in the zombie attack, and Eleanor is anxious to hear from them. Finally, a letter arrives from Jie. Eleanor's heart beats anxiously hoping for some word from Daniel, but alas......As Eleanor prepares to cross the street, pain assaults her phantom limb. Then to her horror, Eleanor catches a glimpse of yellow eyes peering out at her in the darkness. Marcus, the necromancer who killed her brother has come for her. Eleanor quickly flees to Paris in hopes of finding the Spirit Hunters so they can help her banish Marcus once and for all. Will Eleanor be able to defeat darkness?
What I Liked:
- It has been two year since I first picked up this series, and I am pleased that this sequel was entertaining and interesting, and it that it didn't succumb to many of the sophomore novel stumbles. This book has an engaging story, fascinating characters and hungry zombies.
- Ms. Dennard excels at her settings and world buildings. She quickly moves us from 19th Century Philadelphia and takes us to Paris, the city of lights and Le Mort. Things are not so perfect in the romantic city since the zombies started walking the streets looking for their next victim. I love how well Ms. Dennard presents Paris and this time period.
- Even though I was able to guess early on in the book who the villain was, I was pleased that there were a couple of twists at the end that put things in a whole new light. So even though I thought I knew who was behind the zombie attacks, I was wrong. I liked that Ms. Dennard threw in some surprises and that in doing so, she managed to further connect the two books.
- The romance is still in the early stages. It is moving, and then it isn't. It stumbles and falters due to the stubborn natures and headstrong attitudes of both parties. It is painfully apparent that they both have feelings for one another, but neither is willing to act. I like that the romance is taking its sweet time to build and that it isn't succumbing to any of the ridiculous tropes like love triangles and insta love that we are so tired of in YA.
- Even though I had some issues this time around with Eleanor, I still admire her courage, tenacity and her determination. While most well bred ladies would be swooning at the sight of zombies, Eleanor doesn't back down, she insists on fighting them any way she can, even if that means putting her life in danger. In this book, Eleanor is struggling with her own black magic, and trying to avoid succumbing to the dark arts. I did like her inner struggle, and I am anxious to see how she will make out. So far, I am liking her growth.
- I appreciated that Ms. Dennard provided plenty of refreshers to help jog memories in between books. The recap was done just right, not too much to mire down the story, but enough to help remind of us the events in the previous book.
And The Not So Much:
- My issues with Eleanor stemmed mostly from the fact that I questioned her judgement and her poor decisions. This time around she becomes entangled with Oliver, her deceased brother's demon. I didn't like that she kept things hidden from the spirit hunters and that she was endangering herself and others by her questionable decisions. I missed her brandishing parasols and trying to avoid the stifling societal restraints and expectations of a young lady. She isn't quite as headstrong and rebellious in this one.
- Oliver the demon was a conundrum. At first, I wanted to like him. He is a demon brought forth and bound to her brother, but since Elijah's death, Oliver is wandering alone until he attaches to Eleanor. Oliver constantly kept me guessing regarding his intent and his nature. I am still confused as to whether he is good or evil. Right now, I am thinking he is up to no good.
- I desperately missed the Spirit Hunters. They don't show up until the second half of the book, and even then, their parts are scant. Jie is noticeably absent for most of the book, and I found I was missing her fierce prowess and antics. Daniel and Joseph's parts are small as well. I thought that too much time was spent with Oliver, and I would have preferred more of the Spirit Hunters.
- I was a bit disappointed that Eleanor didn't clue in early that something wasn't quite right after she spent time with a certain person. Her memory was always blank and she was missing time. It was painfully obvious to the reader what was going on, so I kept expecting her to figure it out, and if not Eleanor, then the demon, but she doesn't.
- The book ends on a jarring cliffhanger. Not one that will make you want to throw the book against the wall, but there is still a cliffhanger none the less. At least, the villain was unmasked and the lines are laid out for the next book.
Something Strange and Lovely is a good sequel with an entertaining story and exciting developments. Expect a few stutters with Eleanor's character and the romance. Still, it was a fun read, and I am looking forward to the finale.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.