Monday, July 7, 2014

A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard {review}

A Darkness Strange and Lovely
by Susan Dennard
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: July 23th 2013
♦hardcover, 406 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Something Strange and Deadly, book 2
*NOTE: description and review may contain slight spoilers for book 1 in this series! *
With her brother dead and her mother insane, Eleanor Fitt is alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor hears the vicious barking of hounds and sees haunting yellow eyes, she fears that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are after her.

To escape, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. But Oliver harbors a dangerous secret involving necromancy and black magic that entices Eleanor beyond words. If she can resist him, she'll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over, and there's a whole new evil lurking. And she is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.

In Paris, there's a price for this darkness strange and lovely, and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.
Review: To give you a clear picture of my feelings for this book, I simply say this: every night, in the ridiculously wee hours of the morning, I had to tear myself away and force myself to put this down.  Very rarely can I say a second in a series surpassed the first, but with A Darkness Strange and Lovely, Susan Dennard did just that.

Starting off just after the last book ended, Eleanor Fitt leaves her faithful maid and recently-committed mother behind to join the Spirit Hunters in France. She encounters several new faces, one in particular that will change her life forever. Oliver is an old friend of her brothers, someone who was extremely close to him, in fact.  Through him she finds a whole new side of herself and a partner in her quest for vengeance on Marcus. She’s welcomed to Paris with open arms by her friends, but getting them to trust Oliver won’t be so easy---because of what he is.  Eleanor also finds a hidden strength in herself in the form of magic, and she’ll have to fight to prove to her friends that she intends to use it for good and not give in to the darker side of it the way her brother did.

Not only was this second story even more excitement-filled with the addition of Eleanor’s own magic, Oliver, and the terrifying Hell Hounds, but everything was set even more on edge by the tension in each of her relationships.   Joseph is furious with her for turning to magic, Jie stands by her until she finds out what Oliver is, and Daniel and Eleanor seem even more confused and conflicted about their feelings for each other. But it’s not just unjustified drama---each character has good reason for the way they feel and it just makes you feel for ALL of them!

The adventure heightens as the threat of Marcus bears down on them and the Dead, or Les Mort, are rising faster than ever in Paris.  Eleanor and her friends must find out exactly who is behind it and why, all while keeping the suspicion off of themselves.  It comes to a gruesome and wildly exciting end and perfectly sets the stage for the stories conclusion to come in Strange and Ever After.

Find Susan Dennard online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook
Purchase:  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. Oh wow, 5 stars, really?? I stumbled upon your post and thought why not but can't read it because I haven't read the first book unfortunately. :( Although, I think I may pick this series up soon because I own the first book and I thought it looked like an original story. :)

    Lola @Seeing Night Reviews

  2. Ah I'm so excited to read this! I absolutely loved the first book, I need to get back into this series! Gorgeous cover too! x

  3. Definitely 5! And even better than the first book, which is something I rarely come across! I just finished book 3 and it's pretty amazing, too!

  4. This series is great all the way through, so I definitely recommend continuing with it, especially if you loved the first one! It only gets better!

  5. Aw :D YAY! So glad you loved this book. <3 That makes me very happy. I hate yet to start this series.. because of the ending of book three, lol :p But I will read them. As I think I would love them too. I hope :D Excited to see how you like book three. :)

  6. My review is coming up soon for book 3 but I will tell you that the series was amazing all the way through! I hope you like them, too, Carina!

  7. I haven't started on the series yet though I've heard plenty of good things about the books. Maybe it's because of the concept of necromancers... My experience with books with necromancers haven't been that good. But reading your review makes me want to give the book I try.

  8. What I want to know is how's she dealing with the loss of her hand. I once tried to wash the dishes while reading on my kindle at the same time, and it didn't go so well.

  9. I keep hearing so many good things about this series and the excitement for the third and last book feels so huge! I think I'm going to have to add these to my growing TBR list. They just sound amazing and I need to know what all the fuss is about :)