Friday, August 2, 2013


A Darkness Strange and Lovely
Susan Dennard

Rating: A-
Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath...

With her brother dead and her mother insane, Eleanor Fitt is alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor hears the vicious barking of hounds and see haunting yellow eyes, she fears that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are after her.

To escape, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. But Oliver harbors a dangerous secret involving necromancy and black magic that entices Eleanor beyond words. If she can resist him, she’ll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over, and there’s a whole new evil lurking. And she 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.

My thoughts on the book:
A Darkness Strange and Lovely is an intriguing follow-up to Something Strange and Deadly. Dennard continues Eleanor's story, and complicates her life even further. This novel does not suffer from "second book syndrome," and I was engaged throughout the entire story. With rich world-building, an intriguing plot, and captivating characters, this is sure to be one of the summer's hottest reads. 

The characterization in this novel is top-notch. Eleanor annoyed me some in this installment, even though she is still a strong and interesting heroine. I don't like how she insists on keeping secrets from people, and she never seems to learn from her mistakes regarding that. Hopefully she'll improve in this department in the third book. Also, she keeps whining that no one will teach her anything, but she avoids the people who could teach her something. It makes no sense. Other than those two things, she is still extremely likable and surprisingly strong, considering the time period. I wish we could have seen more of Daniel, and I'm hopeful that the next book will focus on him quite a bit. I absolutely adored the new addition to the team, Oliver. He's extremely entertaining and well-developed. I can't wait to get to know him better. 

The plot is intriguing and mysterious, though I figured out the bad guy pretty early on. However, there were a few things thrown in there that surprised me. Also, Dennard includes a couple of red herrings to keep the reader on his/her toes. The pacing is pretty much perfect, and the descriptions are well-written. I could picture Victorian Paris, and I felt like I was there. Dennard's writing is lovely, and I enjoyed the awkward tension between Eleanor and Daniel. The ending sets the stage for the third installment, but ties up most of the problems in this novel quite nicely. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good Steam Punk novels. The zombie twist, along with Dennard's unique characters, make this series stand out from the other Steam Punk books. Give this series, and this book, a try. You won't be sorry. 

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