Sunday, March 2, 2014

Review: A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

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.

Hardcover, 406 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by HarperTeen 
(info grabbed from GoodReads)

I was not really sold on this series when I decided to pick up A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY -- I was on a historical fiction/steampunk kick and not really wanting to try something new-new.  I started reading and it was like "Yeah.  Yeah.  Meh."  but then:  "YES.  OMGOMGOMG.  YAY."  I don't know what exactly happened, but I now am in love with this series.  It's not like I didn't like SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, it just didn't have a certain... je ne sais quoi-

Oh.  That's right.  I'm in love with France.  I forgot for a second.

This review could quickly spiral into a rant of how much I enjoyed the fact this book is set in France, but I'll try and stay coherent: I loved the rich descriptions of Paris and how the setting was actually used within the story.  I get annoyed when a book is set in a destination for no real purpose to the story.  A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY definitely used the locale change to the story's advantage, from Eleanor's excitement over sightseeing, to eating at a cafe as well as other French novelties, to seeing the Palais Garnier and inserting other such landmarks into the plot.  It was wonderful and brilliant and other positive adjectives.  Viva la France!

With a new setting come a couple of new characters.  Laure was a fun addition serving as a female friend to Eleanor and bringing a bit of light to Eleanor's somewhat drabness.  She was charming, insightful, and a little quirky.  Her presence added a bit more spark to the story than it's predecessor had.  And then there's Oliver.  Oliver is the other new character worth mentioning (I suppose).  He wasn't as welcome for me or for Eleanor, and I found him annoying for most of the novel.  It wasn't anything he did, I just didn't like his whole deal.  Why?  Because he is not French.  And he's whiney, but mostly because he is not French.  That aside, both characters add to the story.

The other reason this book was better can be summed up in two words: Daniel Sheridan.  Yes, I am aware he is in the first book.  He is actually in MORE of the first book, but his limited presence made it so much more special when he was around.  Because hot damn, insert GIF here.

All in all, I'd recommend reading SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY just so you can read the sequel.  And if you have read SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY and were on the fence about reading the sequel, then get off that damn fence and experience the glory that is this book.  Because it's amazing and France, France, France, France, France, and sexy rakish Daniel, but mostly France.

Final Thought: TOADSTOOL.

This review is also posted on GoodReads

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