Something Strange and Deadly is, undeniably, one of the best pieces of literature I’ve ever read, simply as that. The story, set in 1800’s Philadelphia, revolves around sixteen year old Eleanor Fitt, who was born in a high-class family on the brink of poverty. Her mother wants to marry her off, but she has bigger problems: there are walking corpses around all of Philadelphia and whoever’s behind it has something to do with her brother’s disappearance. In order to find out her sibling’s whereabouts, she teams up with a group of “Spirit Hunters” that were hired to deal with the animated corpses. From this moment on, her life changes forever.
I’m unable to move on from reading any Dennard book. Her debut novel, Something Strange and Deadly, is so intense that no matter how many times I read it, I will keep feeling that hollowness that you usually experience only from the first time you read a really great story.
How is it that rereading a story you already know can toy with your emotions, even when you’re already aware of what’s going to happen? Is it the characters? The plot? The twists of fate that come at you from every turn? Is it the singularity and determination of Eleanor “Empress” Fitt? The stubbornness and undeniable charm of Daniel Sheridan? Perhaps the mystery behind the unnamed Necromancer and Elijah Fitt’s disappearance?
Whatever it is, Susan Dennard has proven time and time again that she’s got it. Are there are any details from the story I might not like? Yes. For example, I’m not particularly fond of certain characters, such as the snobby high society ladies like Alison Wilcox, the “Virtue Sisters” (Patience and Mercy), and even Eleanor’s own mother was someone that I disliked from the moment they appeared on the pages. Despite that, I am capable of understanding that all of those unlikeable characters are necessary, not just for the course of the story, but also for us to fall harder in love with the important characters and so we can appreciate them even more.
I don’t want to go too much into detail regarding all the mishaps in the novel, just so I don’t spoil it for anyone who wants to read it, but I can say that if you do, you won’t regret it. Something Strange and Deadly is only the first of the Eleanor Fitt Saga, followed by another two novels: A Darkness Strange and Lovely, and, Strange and Ever After.
Dennard will soon be releasing a completely new story under a whole new universe in her upcoming book Truthwitch and, if I were to speak from what I’ve seen of her previous work, I’m sure Truthwitch will be just as captivating and intense as all of her other books. In the Meantime, feel free to fall in love with Daniel Sheridan just as hard as I did.
Literary Journalist originally from Vega Alta, PR. Currently Residing in Syracuse, NY. Book addict, Broadway obsessed, thinker, dreamer and willing to work hard to achieve everything I set my mind to do.
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