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!


  1. Oh, Kat...oh, Kat. Reading your review has made me the happiest gal in the world. Honestly--I appreciate this SO much. As I toil through book 2 revisions with no end in sight, this is EXACTLY what I need to read to keep on keeping' on.

    So thank you for taking time to read the book. Thank you for being honest about the possibility of not enjoying it (I know that stab of fear you mention very well!), and thank you, THANK YOU for taking even more time to write up this absolutely wonderful review. I appreciate it so, so, so much.

    <3 And now I'm rambling, so YOU must forgive me. ;)

  2. I'm so glad you loved it as much as I do!! Susan is such a talented writer, and this story is SO amazing, I can't wait for EVERYONE to read it. :) Also, Daniel as a young Jude Law -- YES YES YES! Hehehe.

  3. So funny that your four-year-old loved the cover because just now when I was reading your post, MY four-year-old noticed the ARC tour banner on top and said, "Ooh, there's Something Strange and Deadly!" Clearly, she remembers me reading (and loving!) the ARC a few weeks ago!

    And now I've rambled too. :)

    Anyway, I loved this book for all the same reasons you did. I'll be posting my official review soon!

  4. Yay Susan, I'm so glad to hear it! Ramble away!

    You are so right, Holly! I can't wait until I can TALK about it with other folks. I want to blather about some of those amazing scenes...

    Funny, Katy-- that's adorable! So, Susan's got the 4-6yo market all wrapped up. Now, if they could only read.

  5. This one looks soooooo good. Glad you liked it!

  6. YES. That's everything I feel about it too. So glad you liked it as much as I did! :)

  7. Yay Rebecca - it was great. I hope you get a chance to read it.

    Fantastic Meredith!

  8. I'll be keeping an eye for this one -- and I may even let my daughter read it too! :)

  9. Oh Mare, it's pretty gripping! Let me know what you think!

  10. SUCH an amazing book. And Daniel... I know, right? SWOON CITY. I can't wait to see SS&D take off, it's incredible.

  11. Totally, amie! I feel the same way, it is going to be fun to watch!

  12. Sounds like I will have to add this one to my to-read list! Love the title, and that cover is gorgeous :).


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