Jenelle's Reviews > Something Strange and Deadly

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
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I'm completely undone: my nerves are twitching, my pulse is racing, and my fingers are trembling as I type....

Have I entered the Twilight Zone? Am I on Candid Camera? Maybe the Earth's polarity has been reversed? Because right now I cannot even fathom how this book has gotten such good ratings so far, when in fact it is


I wish I could make that word ten times bigger just to emphasize how utterly craptacular this book is. So, so, so, soooooooo laughably ridiculous and cringe-inducing and positively sloppy--- I'm still reeling from the shock that people actually like this thing.

Since I seem to be in the minority, I assume you'll want some justification. No problem. But sadly I don't think there's enough room to copy and paste the entire text in as evidence. I'll have to just try to sum it up.

First thing you have to know, though, is that what I read was an ARC and could have been completely revised and edited before the official release. I honestly hope that's true.

Also, I think I should warn you, if you're still thinking you might check out the book, now is the time to stop reading this review, cause I am not going to hold back on details and that means spoilers-- like, all of them.

Still with me? Alright, here we go:

So the first chapter actually rocked. You jump right into the action of zombies in Victorian Era Philadelphia. I was totally on board. But then something weird happened. A zombie delivers a message to Eleanor, the protagonist, then walks away. Hm. Odd. Not typical zombie behavior but whatever. I'll go with it. Anyway, its from her brother, and she concludes this means he's being held prisoner by the zombies. Again: Hm. (I thought half the deal with zombies was the mindless hunt for brains, not errands).

Blah, blah, blah, the story moves on; her family is out of cash, she needs to snag a rich husband, and she has some dirt on the most eligible bachelor in town, so now they're hanging out as a form of blackmail.

In the meantime, the World Expo is in town, and some Spirit Hunters are there to help out with the zombies, which apparently, aren't that uncommon in small numbers, but there's been an epidemic. The spirit hunters, a debonair black gentleman from New Orleans who does Voodoo and speaks french *phonetically*, a hot guy who makes steampunk gadgets, and a little Chinese ruffian who turns out to be a girl. Of course, Eleanor enlists their help to find her brother and the spirit that's been unleashed from a party seance gone wrong.

She starts helping them, more zombies come, there must be a necromancer controlling them, her brother was studying related stuff so that must be why the necromancer has him. (beat) Riiiggghhhtt---duh, her brother is the necromancer.

If that wasn't obvious enough, guys her brother went to school with start showing up decapitated, and rich boyfriend thinks he's next. Not too hard to figure out that these are probably the boys she's talked about who bullied her brother, not to mention the sons of the guys who ruined her dad. Big brother is doing some avenging....with a zombie army.

As far as the romance goes, there were two obvious candidates for the position, and neither one seemed to want the job, nor did Eleanor appear to care. No sparks, no magic, no ANYTHING, except annoyance. There is a moment with each guy when they're mad at each other, and she's a little bit freaked out cause they're so angry they've grabbed her wrists or whatever, and then she gives some lame internal comment that is like "Ow that hurts, I wonder if this means he likes me," and then the moment is gone. She mentions thinking about them sometimes, but always in connection with the zombie drama, and only the faintest bit of interest in them personally.

Then, *gasp*, rich boy goes missing, the zombies have taken over the Expo, turns out her brother IS the necromancer, rich boy was the bully and shambles in as a headless zombie, the evil spirit who's been around once or twice is the Spirit Hunter's evil Voodoo friend who was conveniently mentioned in the beginning, and oh yeah, big bro wants to bring their dad back from the dead. Not to be a zombie, but to just pick up his old life 6 years later and be proud of his kid and finally run for city council, naturally.

Oh, and by the way, Eleanor suddenly has feelings for the dead bully boy, but darn, he's dead, not to mention headless, so by default that narrows it down to steampunk inventor boy. They meet up in the street, they argue, then awkward silence. Then, because the story necessitates it, they kiss for a sentence or two, and he says it was a mistake and they go off to stop her brother.

(Don't worry, I'm almost done).

Brother is having a hard time reanimating dad's skeleton, so he borrows some of Eleanor's spirit power (If he's a necromancer that means its in her blood too- obviously), zombie dad kills bro, she takes down dad, and evil spirit swoops into to possess bro's body. They have a final battle, Eleanor uses her new-found power to level the zombie army, and the only casualty, (besides her brother, who has an Obi-Wan Kanobi/ Anakin Skywalker spirit goodbye with dad) is Eleanor's hand.

Yes, it is mangled by a zombie. And yes, she loses it. That's right, as in amputated.

The kicker is, now that she's left handed, her brother has destroyed the town with everybody's dead relatives, the evil spirit is still walking around in his body, the rich boy is dead, her reputation is shot, her family is destitute, etc, etc.... well, the spirit hunter's are skipping town and so she asks inventor boy "So, you don't love me then." And he says, "No" and she says, "That's cool" and they leave and maybe she'll catch up with them later, THE END.

I'm already exhausted just recapping the story, so i'm not going to waste more time by rehashing the details, but I hope you see where I'm going with this. In short, this book is dumb; the story is painfully predictable, the characters are flat and boring, and everything in between is contradictory or nonsensical.

Something Strange and Deadly is henceforth going down as one of the three most idiotic books I can't believe I've read (the others being Torn and Article 5), all infamous for making me want to scratch my own eyeballs.
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Reading Progress

07/31/2012 page 160
41.0% "Ouch. This is awkward on so many levels!"

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Girlfriday I love your review. It has everything about how I feel about the book. I just finished it and now I'm wondering what in the world has happened?? I found myself shaking my head throughout the 2 days I was reading this book, but I couldn't just stop reading, I wanted to see where this mess was heading.

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