Review: A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

Review: A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
Review: A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

A Darkness Strange and Lovely

Written by Susan Dennard
(Harper Collins - 7/23/2013)
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #2
Genres: Paranormal, Steampunk, Young Adult
Format: ARC (406 pages)
Source: Library of Magan Bagan
Rating: 4 Stars

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Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again.

When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

My Thoughts

A Darkness Strange and Lovely came to me at just the right time. I’d been reading a lot of science fiction, then then tried to get into a book too full of purple prose for me to focus, so I picked up A Darkness Strange and Lovely and was instantly immersed. It’s only been a year since I read Something Strange and Deadly, but somehow I’d forgotten just how charming this series is.

The story picked up right away, and Susan Dennard’s clever use of language and description had me engrossed in minutes. The world is so easy to visualize, and Eleanor’s voice is so distinct and likeable that I found myself not wanting to put this book down. Eleanor’s interactions and relationships with the Spirit Hunters were believable and entertaining. I loved that she didn’t let anything change the strength of her convictions, yet still had plenty of compassion and respect for those around her.

There were several surprises in store for me in this book, and I loved every one. The introduction of a few new characters was welcome — as was the change of scenery. Eleanor ends up delving much deeper into the world of magic than she (or I) expected, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

That being said, there was a fair amount of predictability in this book, just like in Something Strange and Deadly. While I was able to guess about some of the twists/reveals pretty early on, it didn’t really bother me this time. Maybe I was expecting it, or maybe it seems more intentional this time (you know, the reader knowing the bigger picture and watching in anguish as the characters figure it out for themselves).

In the end, I really enjoyed this book and devoured it in a very short amount of time. A Darkness Strange and Lovely reminded me how much I enjoy Susan Dennard’s writing, and I’m looking forward to the next book.

[NOTE: I read this book as an ARC, borrowed from my sister, who receives many, many awesome things in her mailbox.]

Read 13 comments

  1. Ah, this is a problem totally on my part as a reader but I can’t stand it when I can guess an ending or twist to a book. It makes me not want to finish it. That’s why I’m so spoiler-sensitive! I had the ending to “One Day” by David Nicholls ending for me and it ruined the whole book for me, haha. I’m so picky!

  2. Love the dress on the cover! I haven’t read anything by Susan Dennard, but her post on Publishing Crawl about how she plans her books led me to her blig with the other posts on the same subject, and it’s been so helpful to me! Apparently she is the same mixture of organized and not organized as I am!

    • If you get the chance to read Something Strange and Deadly, I’d be very curious to hear what you think. I enjoy Susan Dennard’s lighthearted writing style, and so far I’ve mostly enjoyed this series… but Leanne really disliked it, so… I guess I wonder where you’d fall!

  3. Oh the cover is so pretty! I haven’t read the first book, yet.. so obviously haven’t read this one. I have been wanting to read the first book for a long time, so I think I should check it out. I don’t mind a bit of predictability, I find I read so many books that it’s hard for any to really surprise me and catch me off guard anymore.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Reading your review of how much you liked it is giving me second thoughts on saying I don’t want to read it. I keep wondering if I was just in a funk when I read Something Strange and Deadly, but I’m almost certain I wasn’t. Does Eleanor show a lot more growth in this book? If so that might warrant me picking it up from the library.

    • Hmm, it’s been a while since I read this one, so it’s hard to say… I want to say yes, but… Look, it’s similar in that there are some thing very obvious to the reader that Eleanor is kind of oblivious to and doesn’t figure out until it’s “too late” — just like in the first book. I do think she shows some growth in other areas (especially in regards to romance / general relationships with other people), though. And the dark magic in this book actually caught my interest much moreso than the paranormal stuff did in the first one. So… maybe a “if you have time and it’s free” book for you?

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