Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Something Awesome and Awesome: the Review of Something Strange and Deadly
Every time I start a book by someone I know (Which, amazingly, is happening more often now. Woot!), I have a stab of fear. I feel very fortunate to have gotten a spot on the Something Strange and Deadly ARC tour, but once the book arrived I thought, "Oh, damn, now I've signed up to read/review this book in a very public forum: what if I don't like it."
Basically, I panicked when it arrived, because I know reading is subjective, and all of those things that we all know and say, and understand, but still I worried I wouldn't like it. And then what????
Well, I should not have wasted time even thinking these thoughts. The book not only met but SURPASSED my expectations. I thought it was well-written, clever, creative and the pacing was extraordinary--
But the things I REALLY adored were the sheer imagination Susan poured into this book, Eleanor herself and her personal growth, Daniel-- please God, Daniel-- and that Susan did NOT hold back, in any way. She did not coddle these characters, and you can tell. It made for an extraordinary read. There were not easy answers. There were not storybook endings. And I loved it.
First, let me say-- the cover is gorgeous. (I cannot count the number of times I caught my 6 year old SON staring deep into the eyes of Eleanor-on-the-cover. I think he's in love.) You might not be able to tell at first glance that the background is a mesh of gears and works. It's beautiful and stunning-- just as I'd hoped. But don't let the cover lead you to believe that Eleanor is anything but kicka**.
It took me a few pages to get clued into the world of the book-- the Dead, we learn, are rising in Philadelphia, but this is not some kind of "Braaaaains"-zombie-type book. Eleanor's brother is missing, and in her work to find him, she discovers the Dead are being used by a necromancer for some ill purpose we, and Eleanor, do not yet understand. With the help of the Spirit Hunters, Eleanor will work to get to the bottom of the mystery.
I love a mystery where you get some clues along the way, but it's neither super obvious, nor so thrown together at the end that it proves illogical. Susan's mystery is airtight and perfectly crafted.
And can I please talk about Daniel!!!! Is he a hero? An anti-hero? I don't care! He's a dreamboat. If his nerdy inventions didn't grab me, the SPARKS flying between he and Eleanor did! I see him as a young Tom Jane/Simon Baker/Jude Law. And I love that the relationship was honest and real-- that there were not, as I said before, easy answers to the conflicts.
I know I'm rambling, forgive me!
The take home message is: I loved the book, and I highly recommend it.
You should definitely give it a whirl in July when it's released!