Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Darkness Strange & Lovely - Susan Dennard

[Please note that this is the second book in the Something Strange and Deadly series. If you'd like, please check out my review of Something Strange and Deadly (book 1) and A Dawn Most Wicked (the novella) instead.]

A Darkness Strange and Lovely - Susan Dennard
A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #2
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: July 23, 2013 (Get your copy ASAP!)
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks Harper Collins!) || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

When it comes to a series, there's nothing quite like a second book that's as strong as the first. That, my friends, is precisely what A Darkness Strange and Lovely is. Readers will be reunited with Eleanor Fitt and the Spirit-Hunters, but this time in the beautiful city of Paris! There are hijinks and battles, reveals and new characters. And all these things add up to one potent, addictive read!

Eleanor is, surprisingly, my favorite character in this novel (and yes, even more than Daniel!). Her loyalty, pluck, wits and determination still remain her most admirable qualities, as a series of events calls each one into action. But readers are allowed to witness her internal struggle here, as she fully realizes what it means for her to have the same affinity for magic as her brother. She toes the line between dark and light, between innocence and worldliness. Eleanor's realistic struggle to determine the kind of young lady she will choose to be is definitely essential to this story, and also, very well-done.

As for the Spirit-Hunters, I certainly felt like there wasn't as much of them as I would've liked! Jie still remains the fighter, using physical prowess to fend off les mortes. Joseph is still the leader, determined to find a way to disable les mortes without using necromancy. This leads to some interesting tension between him and Eleanor, of which I wasn't the biggest fan... even though I understood why it existed.

And then, there's Daniel Sheridan. If he initially appeared overbearing and difficult in the first book, that actually happened again in this one! He was pompous and incorrigible when we first meet him again, which made me want to roll my eyes and shake him. There's clearly a method to his actions, as always, but while readers remain unaware, his seemingly new persona will grate on nerves. However, revelations arise and suddenly, it is easy to fall in love with Daniel all over again (as if I ever stopped, even when he annoyed me). He's such a complex character, this one. But underneath the abrasive first impression, he's a sweetheart and he proves it all over again.

If there's any character that rivaled Daniel in the level of annoyance he brought on, it's Oliver. Oliver is still a mystery, even though the story includes him for a lot of the plot. He's got his reasons for his actions, most of which remain in the dark. Clearly, we are meant to be distrustful of him, and I am thoroughly suspicious. But Oliver can also be charming! And he's British! And... well, you'll find out for yourself. It'll be interesting to see what happens with him in the next one.

Story-wise, I'd say that this is much more exciting than the first. There are new inventions, new adventures, new places to visit, new people to meet! Unlike before, Eleanor is sucked into more action, now that she knows about this paranormal side of things. She's also started to recognize and embrace her necromancer abilities, which means that she's also an even bigger target for the bad guys. This means there's a whole lot of action and twistiness, and it's so brilliantly done.

As with the previous book, it was blessedly easy for me to guess who the villain was. Thing is, I didn't really care that I could! I was still surprised by the precise motive and actions the villain employed in the end.

Considering the emotional turmoil I experienced, I was clearly invested. And being invested in this series is a good thing, as Dennard has not yet failed to treat us to growing, real characters, exciting story twists and fun, logical developments. A Darkness Strange and Lovely blew me away, honestly. This series just keeps getting better and better, and I'm eagerly anticipating discovering what happens next for the gang in Egypt during the final book!



Something Strange and Deadly - Susan Dennard

In case you didn't already know, we are huge fans of the Something Strange and Deadly series and the author, Susan Dennard. This review marks the (sad) ending to our three-day celebration! You can check out our various posts below:

6 comments:

  1. You have no idea how happy it makes me to know that ADSaL is stronger than SSaD since 2nd books in trilogies aren't usually as strong. I'm glad Eleanor is just as amazing in this book as she was in the 1st; it sounds like she goes through a lot of growth, which is fantastic. Also, I'm rather glad that Daniel isn't abusive in any way. I can deal with annoying; just not abusive. Great review!

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  2. I really need to get around to reading this series. I've heard such wonderful things about it, and it's fantastic to know that the second in the series is even stronger than the first. <3

    Fantastic review Alexa! :D

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  3. I really need to try this series! I've always loved the cover of the first one, but for some reason I keep putting it off ... your review makes me want to pick up the first two books!

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  4. I really liked A Darkness Strange and Lovely, I think the magic of the novel and the series is when Spirit-Hunter and Eleanor are together. Plus Eleanor and Daniel scenes are soooo perfect.

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  5. Gah, I'm desperate for this one. In fact, I believe as soon as I get paid I'll be on my way to start this one because this is one of my most-anticipated titles of the freaking year! The idea of learning more of Daniel, seeing Eleanor's struggles deepen, and an introduction to new characters while reuniting with the old has me absolutely slobbering. I NEED THIS BOOK NOW. :D

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  6. YAY!!!! I just finished the other day and am sooo in love with it! I feel like I could gush for hours... but I won't. I like the twists this one took and that it allowed us into a darker side of the whole situation. It was really pretty interesting to see how Eleanor's powers developed and how they warred with Joseph - I wasn't a fan of this, honestly, but got it. Can't wait for the next one and their exciting journey; Egypt is going to be awesome!!!!

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