Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices series, this is the epic conclusion to Susan Dennard's trilogy that started with Something Strange and Deadly and continued with A Darkness Strange and Lovely. With supernatural forces, epic romance, and a mysterious Egyptian city, Eleanor and her team are set for an adventure they will never forget. It has been a tumultuous time for Eleanor Fitt since life as she knew it in Philadelphia came abruptly to an end. While the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and Daniel—have helped her survive her brother's violent death and an invasion of Hungry Dead, Eleanor has lost just about everything. And now, Jie is missing—taken by the evil necromancer Marcus. Eleanor is determined not only to get her back but to finally end this nightmare. But to do so, she must navigate the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt amid the rising Dead, her unresolved feelings for Daniel, and her volatile relationships with Joseph and Oliver, her demon. And it won't be easy. Because Allison, her friend from Philadelphia, has tagged along, becoming strangely entangled in Eleanor's mission. It will take all of Eleanor's powers of black magic, and all of Daniel's and Joseph's trust, to succeed. But there will be a price. People will have to suffer the consequences of what Marcus has done, and what Eleanor, Oliver, and the Spirit-Hunters will do to stop all this deadly chaos.
Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3)Featured
The characters had their ups and downs as far as likability. Eleanor grew on me. She was very naive and weak in the beginning, kind of narrow-minded and selfish in the second book, but she grew a lot and matured in her way of thinking in the third book and I definitely liked her more in the end. Daniel and Oliver had their moments where they really pissed me off and moments where they tugged at my heart. I didn't really care for the romance because, like the characters themselves, there was just too much back and forth, hot and cold, calm and explosiveness with it all. I didn't like how Daniel and Eleanor could be so affectionate one minute, then condemning each other for their actions and arguing the next. The same thing with Oliver. He really cared for Eleanor and stood by her side through it all, but the way he treated her and spoke to her some of the time really grated on my nerves.
If I had to choose a favorite character, it would have to be Jie. She was very feisty, outgoing, and I liked that she didn't adhere to what was expected of girls like her at that time. She was definitely a fun character.
I was pretty upset about the ending, a particular incident, to be exact. Granted, I understood the logic in it and it fit with a certain character, but still. It was not what I was hoping for. I would say this series was just okay for me overall, with the last book being the better of the three, despite the upsetting ending. I know a lot of other readers loved this series, and it does have a unique feel to it, what with the Egyptian mythology and all.
THIS is how you end a trilogy, my friends. Like a freaking BAMF. Seriously, I had my doubts going in after a favorite trilogy went down in a fiery mess of plotberg, but Dennard’s ending is more than I could have dreamed. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and sassy and perfection. Also, Dennard is a recap queen. I’m going to be honest and say that I didn’t remember book two super well, but Dennard got me up to speed in no time and I was rolling. All of this is to say that you should run, not shamble, to read this book because it’s freaking amazing.
I’ll admit that I struggled a bit with A Darkness Strange and Lovely. Eleanor hid so much for so little reason and I was endlessly frustrated with that. In Strange and Ever After, Dennard addresses this and Eleanor has to look at the choices she’s been making and why. Eleanor really has to face her demons, figurative and literal. I realize too that part of why I was so frustrated with Eleanor in book two is that we have so much in common, which is why it hurt to see her pushing away the people who care about her; I hate it because I know it’s something I would do too. In Strange and Ever After Eleanor does a lot of growing. She has an amazing character arc and the part of this book that most makes me want to cry is how far she’s come by the end.
The big problem in a lot of trilogies is that the stakes are high and terrifying but that the author goes too hard for that HEA. Everything needs to wrap up in a big shiny bow at the end, so the plot ends up resolving really conveniently in such a way as to leave all the people the reader cares about alive and the romance happily afloat. There are no lasting consequences and the suffering is limited in scope. Personally, I don’t like this. Defeating a great evil is not going to be easy. In Strange and Ever After, it’s not. I won’t tell you what does happen, but I will say that the group works hard for every single bit of it.
Obviously, romance is important to me, but it wasn’t my primary focus in this particular book. The plot really took the front seat and it was so badass. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that I really love the way it was handled, though some may not. The ending’s definitely bittersweet, but it’s lovely and dark and strange and precisely what it needed to be. I’ll actually be really interested to see what people make of this ending.
There’s also action galore. There are fights against all sorts of zombies, of course. Then there’s the Indiana Jones style jaunts through the pyramids. The pacing is fast fast fast. Though Strange and Ever After is long, it’s a page turner that I didn’t want to put down. How many times can I tell you guys that you need to read this series? A LOT OF TIMES. It’s dark and funny and a bit romantic and full of action and magic. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE?
The Final Verdict:
Guys, I have mad respect for the way that Dennard ended this trilogy. Just so much respect. A lot of people are going to weep, though I didn’t. On a reread, I might even cry. AND THERE WILL BE REREADS. I give this trilogy my highest series recommendation. Go forth and read.