A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2)Featured
Eleanor Fitt is left in Philadelphia after Daniel leaves to go to Paris with the other Spirit-Hunters. She's down on herself and has lost just about everything. This includes her hand and the love of her life. Then she's prompted to go to Paris on a quest to find Marcus, the one who killed her brother. On the ship she encounters a demon who knew her brother and who also can help her with a power that is within her. What happens next is a wild ride through Paris and unexpected encounters with the dead.
What worked for me had to be the amazing voice that grabs the reader and won't let go. Eleanor's first glimpse of Paris is told in such a way that you feel that you're right there. The details of the city, Spirit-hunters, and the dead adds to the wonder of this story.
I have to admit I liked Oliver, the mysterious demon, who knew Eleanor's brother. I sense Oliver and her brother were very close. There's a hint that this relationship was much more. Can't wait to see what is revealed in the next book!
The chemistry between Eleanor and Oliver was intense but not in a love interest type of way but rather as two individuals that need each other. It's kind of like a like/hate relationship. At times Oliver comes across as a reluctant demon type of genie.
Now Daniel at first came off to me as snobbish. I'm not sure if this was more of a front to show his true feelings. Little by little their relationship shows it's true colors. You can't help but hope both Eleanor and Daniel will not be so proud and admit their true feelings.
I love that zombie-gun that kind of reminded me of a steampunk Ghost-hunters(only in this case zombie)electrical gun. The other little touches include a few Parisians that aren't all they seem to be.
The revelation kind of surprised me and the final climax leads up to a hook that you can't help but know will culminate into a grand finale to this series.
Lush Victorian Parisian setting with characters you can't help but care about. You'll want to invest time knowing them. Add a dash of romance, mystery, suspense, and horror. A great combo for fans of the first book in this series and for those who love zombie tales.
Setting is in Paris!
Love the voice
I have been waiting for A Darkness Strange and Lovely since the moment I finished Something Strange and Deadly Susan Dennard captured my heart and my imagination in her debut, so I was eager to see what she would do with the next book. Happily, there is no second book syndrome here and ADSaL has all the elements that made SSaD such a delight.
Without a doubt, it's the narrative voice that makes Dennard's series stand out from the pack of paranormal offerings. Eleanor is so many things: clever, silly, practical, powerful, self-conscious, and infuriating. Her voice rings so clearly through this first person narrative, and she really doesn't sound like anyone but herself. Even when she's at her most irritating, when she digs herself a whole of lies so deep she can't see out because she's afraid no one will accept her, she's still her kooky, charming self. Also, the girl can eat, and I suspect she's a bit chunkier than the usual YA heroine, which is just another reason to love her.
Dennard really steps out of the box with Eleanor. She's no stereotype. She speaks her mind, eats anything she can get her hands on, and has far more power than her companions. In fact, her power scares everyone but herself. Actually, scratch that; it scares Eleanor a bit too. In the face of the most extraordinary circumstances, Eleanor is the kind of person who never stops trying, even when she only has one hand or everyone has turned their backs on her. Though she makes some really stupid choices, I still have so much respect and friendship in my heart for Eleanor.
The plot this time comes with a bit less zombie mayhem, and a bit more mystery. Eleanor sets off to join the Spirit Hunters in Paris, where a Marquis is hosting them. Paris is beset by les Morts, and the Spirit Hunters have yet to figure out who has been sacrificing people and raising their corpses. Dennard does a good job throwing out a red herring, and making things a little bit twisty without it being overwhelming.
Props, too, on romance remaining on the back burner, slowly simmering, but not to the boil stage yet. Though it's a good one, I think the time to unfold is necessary and will only make the moment when Daniel and Eleanor officially get together that much sweeter. Both of them still have some growing to do, and I like that Dennard gives them that time, rather than rushing them into some super intense forever love.
Dennard adds a couple of new cast members, most notably Laure and Oliver. Eleanor meets both on her passage to France, and I think I like them. They're definitely both interesting figures, and I want to know more about them. Clearly, Laure's going to be important in the third book, but, for now, there was a lot of time spent on her that doesn't seem to have accomplished much. Oliver's pretty awesome, and I like the dynamic he adds to the group, the tension. I am also thrilled that Oliver is not another love interest for Eleanor.
What Left Me Wanting More:
This is a very personal thing, but I just didn't get as sucked into this as I expected to.
The Final Verdict:
Readers who enjoyed Something Strange and Deadly will likely be pleased with Susan Dennard's sequel. Also, the moment ADSaL concludes, you're going to want book three something fierce, because it is going to be epic.
I have never ever been to Paris but after reading ADS&L, I feel like I have. Susan Dennard has a way with words and she does a superb job of making her books very atmospheric. I got a good sense of what Paris was like and how Parisians acted during Victorian Times. It's quite obvious that Dennard did tons of research was done while writing this book because she captures the essence of the "Steampunk" age perfectly. Due to Dennard's fabulous writing, I felt like I was in Paris with Eleanor, Mr. Sheridan and the whole gang.
Even though ADS&L is set in the City Of Lights (Paris), I feel like it has a darker tone than book 1. There is more focus on the dark and mystical nature of necromancers in this book. Susan Dennard spends so much developing necromancer and demon mythology. I have read countless paranormal books yet no book has portrayed demons like Dennard does in ADS&L. I applaud Dennard for being extremely creative with her necromancers and demons. I already tried to use my necromancer abilities to score a copy of book 3, it turns out the command, sum veritas doesn't work for me! Bummer :(
Susan Dennard doesn't ever hold back with the spectacular, awesome zombie scenes. She writes scenes that will make your heart race and have you plead that your favorite characters come out alive. These zombies aren't as sweet and benevolent as R, these zombies are extremely terrifying. In the case of apocalypse, I suggest taking a parasol with you because Dennard taught me how powerful a parasol can be.
ADS&L has just the perfect dosage of romance for me and I just love Daniel and Eleanor as a couple. Cheers to Susan Dennard for not including a love triangle! There is only a little bit of romance in this book but there was enough to satisfy me. If you enjoy heavy dosages of romance, I suggest you look elsewhere because this book is more focuses on characterization and plot development.
I love the characters Dennard has created, especially Oliver! Oliver annoyed me so much yet at the same time I couldn't get enough of Oliver. The Spirit Hunters are as awesome as ever and I love seeing them return in this book. I really wanted to see more Jie in ADS&L but she wasn't in this book as much as I would have liked. Dennard really knows how to create a terrifying villain, I can honestly say that the villain is pure evil. I don't want to spoil who the villain is because that's one great plot twist that I will not ruin.
ADS&L doesn't suffer from middle book syndrome (usually I don't enjoy the 2nd book in a series as much as the 1st book). I can honestly say that Susan Dennard books are my weakness because I can't resist their awesomeness. I can proudly say that ADS&L perfectly captures the grim yet beautiful tone of Paris during Victorian Times. I can't recommend reading Susan Dennard's zombie books enough and I can't wait till book #3 releases. I need the sequel to this book more than zombies crave brains!