Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Review: A Darkness Strange and Lovely

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.  Quoted from Goodreads


Despite the numerous books I've read to the contrary, zombies aren't really my thing.  Yes, I adored Warm Bodies, and I appreciated World War Z, but it isn't a selling point.  So, last year when Something Strange and Deadly came out, I passed it by.  But then all the reviews were so positive and this ADSL kept popping up on everyone's most anticipated for 2013 list, I decided I had to check it out. So here's me, jumping on the Susan Dennard's bandwagon.

Really, I've thoroughly enjoyed this series.  It's addictive, and while I'm super glad I waited until the second one came out so I could read the first two in a row, I can't wait for the third one. 

First, there's the lovely Eleanor.  I adore her as a main character.  Sure, she has her very stupid moments, she's way too impulsive, curios, insecure, headstrong, and makes loads of mistakes, but she's always trying.  Plus, nothing she does is inconsistent with her character.  She's the same, albeit slightly improved/braver/more heartbroken, girl we meet in the beginning of the first book.  

This book we also get introduced to the absolutely delightful Oliver (and a few more excellent characters, but none I loved as much as him).  I adore his character.  It's light, funny, but he also brings so much gravity to the book.  What happens between him and Eleanor (and don't worry all you Daniel shippers) was heartbreaking and perfect and horrible at the same time.  He's a great source of both conflict and comfort, and more than anyone, I really love what he brought to this second installment.

Now for everyone else, and I do, remarkably, mean everyone. All the characters that you love (and hate) from the first book make an appearance.  I wasn't sure how much some of them would, considering the change of scenery and all, but everyone gets their moment. I absolutely adored Eleanor's individual relationships with each character. Nothing was cookie-cutter, and even characters that only appeared for a chapter or two this time around still exacted an emotional pull on her and me as a reader.  It's probably one of the things I love most about this series.  The characters and their relationships are constantly changing and keeping you guessing.

Then we have the lovely Daniel.  He really only gets better as the series goes on.  This was the perfect second book for their relationship. I won't tell you exactly what happens (misunderstandings, fights, teamwork, etc.) but it continues to solidly build their relationship, and I can't wait to see how the third book plays out.

Now, in case you're getting tired of all these glowing character reviews, there is action.  Tons and tons of action piled on top of itself.  We have hellhounds and demons, murders and kidnappings, all on top of the ever present zombie threat.  And it's mostly set in Paris!  

This is the sort of book you can't put down.  It has great characters and loads of action.  It's a innovative 4 stars for me.  Really this series has been one of the discovery highlights of my July reading.  Now I'll have something to look forward to for next July, and I'm already counting down the days.

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