Friday, July 27, 2012

Blog Tour Review: Something Strange and Deadly


Something Strange and Deadly

Author: Susan Dennard


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.

Published 24 July 2012.


IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

So begins Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. And hereby, unfolds a tale of glitzy tea parties, handsome eligible bachelors and misunderstood love. 

Add some steampunk and the Dead to this classic and "voilà!", you get the novel-- Something Strange and Deadly. And the result is something deadly to the heart.

Deadly because you will fall head over heels in love with it, in love with its setting, its characters and its plot.

Eleanor of the Philadelphia Fitts is a faded member of the high society. Her single-parent family is struggling to make ends meet and her mother is as eager as the legendary Mrs Bennet to marry her off to the rich and handsome Clarence who is of good status.

Yet, Eleanor only meets her real Mr Darcy when she is forced face to face with the Spirit-Hunters after her brother, Elijah, goes missing. With the Dead rising from all around Philadelphia, Eleanor has to split her waking hours between squeezing into corsets while attending operas and working with the Spirit-Hunters to prevent the Dead population from spiralling out of control. At the same time, there is also the puzzling mystery of who is the Necromancer behind the hungry dead and the family mystery that seems to tie in closely with the deaths of high society members. 

The plot grows thicker and thicker and we are swept up in a whirlwind of adventure and of course, romance. Our Byronic hero appears in the form of the sandy-haired Daniel Sheridan and no one can describe Byronic heroes better than famous historian Lord Macaulay-- he is proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner of his kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection. With such a character, the romance in this novel goes up a notch. Slowly and deliciously, the two stubborn characters (Eleanor and Daniel) start falling for each other. But, Susan Dennard makes it impossible to forget their romance with an open-ended closure, not satisfying enough, yet still full of hopeful promises.

As for the identity of the necromancer, Dennard executes a thin thread that runs consistently throughout the whole novel. The whodunnit had me making wild guesses at every turn and kept me constantly delighted.     

Ultimately, I just want to say that each and every element in the novel, be it adventure, romance or mystery, is just truly exceptional. I will fall in love with the mystery in this novel all by itself. But, having a gorgeous romance and a blood-pumping adventure doesn't hurt as well ;)

It seems almost impossible to have steampunk alongside with zombies and to have it take place in the 1800s, but Susan Dennard has achieved it all in one go. That is why you shall have to read the book simply if not for any other reason than to see how she does it. 

And trust me, she does it gloriously and brilliantly.

Source: ARC from HarperTeen for review purposes as part of the blog tour

Author Spotlight

She is a writer turned marine biologist turned writer again. Among the traits she shares with her heroine Eleanor are a weakness for Shakespeare quotes, a healthy appetite for baked goods, and an insatiable curiosity. Sadly, Susan does not get to wear a corset or wave a parasol on a daily basis.

She lives in Germany with her French husband and Irish setter, and you can learn more about her crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on her blogtwitterfacebook, or GoodreadsSomething Strange and Deadly is her debut novel.


There is also a giveaway of a signed copy of Something Strange and Deadly. However, it is opened to U.S. only, as it is sponsored by Susan herself. 

Sorry, international readers, but don't worry, a few more giveaways are coming this way in August ;)

As for U.S. readers, count your lucky stars and participate now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Character Gallery



  1. Wonderfully done! Thank you for participating on the tour!

  2. Yay! Thank you for taking the time to not only read SS&D, but review it too. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. :D

    1. Oh, thanks for writing this book, Susan ;) If not my review wouldn't have existed!

  3. Great review, sounds good so I am adding it to my TBR list :)


  4. Great review! I've added it to my TBR list as well as everyone else! I hope I win!

    Have a great weekend!

  5. Great review! I'm not just saying that either, it was really well written, Sel! And I'm glad to hear that you really loved this book. :D And, *fan-girling*.. the author commented just 3 spots above me! So cool. My review will be my next post, but that could be a few days because I'm currently camping right now (Yay for McDonald's wifi!)

    1. Oh, thanks Linny! But I think you've disappeared off the blogosphere >:( I guess college is a busy place :)

      *fan girls with you* I think Susan is awesome!

  6. This book sounds very interesting. I enjoyed the review and it gave me some insights into the book and what to expect. Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to win this book. :)


    1. Welcome, Jess! Glad you loved my review, hehe ;D

  7. Ooo, Steampunk inventions and zombies. :)

    1. I know, that's certainly worth oohing over ;)

  8. I like Susan's outfit. She looks like she's from another era. It suits her!

    1. Well, she is from another era, technically. But I still adore her outfit too, nonetheless :)

  9. Dear Sel,
    I have change my blog's domain
    My old one was!

    Plz check it out!

  10. Hi Sel,
    Thanks for the Giveaway! :)

  11. Oooh, this book sounds really good, I love me some steampunk. Thanks a bunch for stopping by my blog! YAY Chinese book bloggers! Woot woot! :) Love the blog; new follower!

    Mary @ Books Equal Brains

    1. Totally! I love steampunk too ;)

      YAYs again to Chinese book bloggers :D

  12. Dear Sel,
    I have nominated you for THE VERSATILE BLOG AWARD!!!!!
    I love your blog and I think you really deserve the award, check out the information at Thanks!!!

  13. Great review. This cover has to be one of my all time favorites (and book 2's cover is even more amazing!). And the synopsis is awesome. I can't wait to read this book, which is sitting on my shelf staring at me every day. I will be able to get to it soon, and I absolutely cannot wait.


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Wishing you lots of good books to come along your way!

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