FCT: Something Strange and Deadly - Susan Dennard

First Chapter Thoughts for…

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

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 the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

To be completely honest (author, please turn away for a moment) I did not expect much of this. I wanted to preview before reading because I’ve heard from some readers that this trilogy isn’t as good as the Witchland series, and Dennard herself has said that she’s grown a lot as a writer since these books came out. In fact, in a recent IG story she even said that this first book isn’t as good (in her opinion) as it’s sequel because she bowed to every suggestion made by her editor. So for that, I’m withholding a lot of judgement of overused phrases and uneven characterization in the first three chapters.

It isn’t even that the characters aren’t well characterized. It’s too early to say that Eleanor is inconsistent because I’m just getting to know her, but the way she describes the brother of an acquaintance— whom she has just met— makes me feel slightly confused.

But it’s early, and there is so much to like. I remember Dennard speaking about ‘voice’ in historical stories last summer (again, in her IG stories) and see it’s been very well done here. So what if they’re called “the walking Dead”? The use of a séance is spooky as all hell, and having just read The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne, I felt like I could fit in very well. The twittering gossips at the party held by Eleanor’s vapid-cliché of a mother are all passable, good enough to color the scenery for a few more chapters, but I am most excited to meet the Spirit-Hunters and see what Eleanor’s brother Elijah has been up to...

Verdict: to-be-read

Pages: 388
Year: July 24th 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen, an imprint of HarperCollins