Recollections: Reviews by a Book Lover

Zombies, Oh My! Something Strange and Deadly

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

What’s it about: Eleanor Fitt goes to pick up her brother from the train depot in Philadelphia only to have one of the walking Dead deliver a note to her from her brother.  It seems whoever is raising and controlling the Dead have Eleanor’s brother.  Desperate to save her brother Eleanor seeks out the Spirit-Hunters who are protecting the city from the dead.


What I thought:  This book has a lot of the things I love: steampunk gadgets, Victorian time period, zombies, paranormal activity, a romance, and a female lead who doesn’t like to be told what to do.

Eleanor is desperate to find her brother and she will do whatever it takes.  However, this isn’t an easy task in 1876 Philadelphia for a female.  Her family is on the verge of losing everything, and her mother is looking to marry her off to a wealthy bachelor in order to keep their house.  So Eleanor must be careful to keep her reputation in tack, while searching for her brother.  I felt for Eleanor’s pull between what she must do for her family and what she wants for herself.   (I also enjoyed the unexpected romance which blooms between Eleanor and another character.)

The dead in this book aren’t your typical zombies.  These dead have been raised by a necromancer who is using voodoo.  The walking Dead the necromancer loses control over become the Hungry.  Unlike your normal rabid zombie these dead were raised by magic.  No virus was the cause of their rising, and while the dead can kill you, your body can only be reanimated by the necromancer.  Also this book is much lighter on the zombie gore than your typical zombie book.

The steampunk gadgets come in the form of Spirit-Hunter Daniel’s gadgets for battling the dead.  A shot to the head won’t kill these walking dead, rather the electricity which binds them to the necromancer must be cut, which is where the gadgets come in.

As for the other characters: Joseph is from New Orleans and was taught to use magic for good, and is the one with the power to stop the necromancer; Jie is a Chinese woman who dresses as a man in order to have the freedom Chinese woman are denied in the U.S. at that time.


Was this my favorite steampunk zombie book of the year?  No, but I will read the next book in the series because I did enjoy Something Strange and Deadly.   Dennard did a wonderful job keeping me caught up in the story.  At times I was unable to put the book down because I need to know what happened next.

Check out the official book trailer here.