Reviews for Something Strange and Deadly

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
In 1870s Philadelphia, Eleanor suspects her brother has been kidnapped by a necromancer and the reanimated Dead. To rescue him, she teams up with Spirit-Hunters, who possess the magic and technology to destroy the Dead. The lukewarm love triangle of determined Eleanor, wealthy Clarence, and scruffy Spirit-Hunter Daniel only slightly detracts from the compelling blend of magic, zombies, and political conspiracy.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 June #2
Zombies strike the 1876 Philadelphia World's Fair. Eleanor Fitt--of the Philadelphia Fitts--wants nothing more than for her brother to return from his three-year odyssey abroad. She and her dear Mama have just about run out of funds, and she misses Elijah terribly. So when a shambling Dead gives her a note from him telling her he's been detained, she is mightily distressed. The next day, the determined teen is off for some help from the Spirit-Hunters who have set up shop at the International Centennial Exhibition. Once readers accept Eleanor's casual response to the animated corpses--she recovers awfully quickly from her initial close encounter--they are in for an enjoyably breathless, if slightly disgusting romp. Her can-do attitude finds her at one point systematically disabling a throng of zombies by smashing their kneecaps with her parasol. Mystery, romance, humor, action, a sure-fire setting: Dennard delivers. The romance is less a triangle than a straight line, as readers will instantly spot Eleanor's best match, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Two of the Spirit-Hunters, the Creole magician at its head and a de-sexed Chinese girl who disguises herself as a boy, are more stereotypes than fully realized characters, but there is room for them to grow in the sequel. Readers who can look past the gloomily generic paranormal cover will find themselves pleasantly occupied. (Paranormal historical fiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 July #2

In Victorian-era Philadelphia, 16-year-old Eleanor Fitt worries more about "hungry and dangerous" reanimated corpses than about parasols and corsets. In this first book in a trilogy, debut author Dennard deftly weaves together a vast plot involving social status, spirits, zombies, necromancy, romance, and pseudoscience. Eleanor's brother, Elijah, never returns home from New York City, instead sending a cryptic letter ripe for deciphering. As the dead rise and acquaintances are murdered, Eleanor fears for Elijah's life. Looking for answers, she sneaks off to find the Spirit-Hunters, a group of eccentric teenagers, at the 1876 International Centennial Exhibition. Meanwhile, Eleanor's mother is trying to marry her off to wealthy and connected Clarence Wilcox, but feisty Eleanor can't shake her nagging feelings about him--or about a ragtag Spirit-Hunter genius named Daniel. In a swirling, rib-tickling story, Eleanor displays both good sense and the bravery to fight evil and remain free from the tyranny of high society. Blending historical fiction, horror, romance, and mystery, Dennard creates a roaring--and addictive--gothic world. Ages 13-up. Agent: Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Aug.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 September

Gr 8 Up--This novel is a cool mixture of Victorian mystery/romance and zombie story. It makes for a sort of steampunk feel. It has suspense and is a mystery in the lightest sense of the word but the fun is in its blending of genres with the cosseted elite mixing with the zombie hordes. Eleanor Fitt is in a troublesome spot. Her brother is missing, her mother refuses to acknowledge the sorry state of their finances and is trying to marry her off to the highest bidder, and the dead are walking. She goes to the Spirit-Hunters determined to find out what really happened to her brother. Instead of answers she finds more questions: Why are the Spirit-Hunters here? Are they causing the trouble with the dead, or are they simply patsies? And, more importantly, why is everyone associated with her brother dying in such a dramatic way? Eleanor is strong willed and inquiring, and the situations mirror the Victorian sensibilities well. Give this novel to anyone who likes a light zombie story with a pinch of romance.--Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ

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VOYA Reviews 2012 April
A necromancer has taken control of the Dead in late nineteenth-century Philadelphia, and Eleanor Fitt finds herself in the midst of the macabre uprising. Since the death of her father, her family's standing has diminished to the point that her mother is seeking to marry Eleanor off to any available suitor, much to her dismay. Her beloved and much-missed brother, Elijah, has been traveling the globe researching arcane arts for several years. One of the Dead delivers a note from her brother, leading her to fear that Elijah has fallen under the control of the necromancer. Eleanor seeks help from a ragtag group of Spirit-Hunters hired to protect the city from the ravages of the Dead. As Eleanor delves deeper into the Spirit-Hunters, the necromancer, and the Dead, she finds that even those closest to her may not be innocent. This debut novel is quite compelling and features a plot that moves at breakneck speed. It will likely generate a substantial fan base for the second book in the series, which is due to be published in the summer of 2013. While some readers may find the constant, detailed mentions of the discomfort of period fashions repetitive (corsets and parasols abound), the plot is full of action, betrayal, and romance. The protagonist is a strong young female who refuses to be dismissed and used as a pawn by her family or those around her. The mix of zombies and steampunk themes will appeal to fans of both genres.--Sherrie Williams 3Q 3P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.