Saturday, February 15, 2014

Review: A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 23rd, 2013
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.

I wanted to love this book so badly. I loved the first one a LOT. But after fighting it, I just couldn't. Don't get me wrong, a lot of the same aspects that were in the first book were present in this book, but there was so much that was also missing. And with this, there was definitely "second book syndrome."

It was a bit obvious that this was a connecting book, aka the second book to a series. While it still had some of the same elements, it wasn't as big of a deal anymore, and the plot was slightly anti-climactic. I was able to, once again, predict a major plot twist, though there were also a few that got me.

But what made me the most upset while reading this book was that the characters I had grown to love in Something Strange and Deadly were almost non-existent. Sure, they were in the book, but they weren't themselves. Eleanor, whom I loved in the first book, really annoyed me in this one. I think that was one of the main reasons why I didn't like it as much and couldn't really get into it. She didn't have the same spunk, and she made so many reckless choices. I get that what happened was extremely traumatic, but it changed my connection with her. And it wasn't just Eleanor. (I was also confused by her longing for Clarence. I know she felt something towards him, but it was never to that extent.) I also get that it may not have been what the characters would have opted to do, but their personalities changed so much that I just couldn't feel the same way about them. Daniel was cold and distant. He was polite. He and Eleanor clearly didn't have the same spark. They were civil, but they didn't have the same connection. I get that Eleanor was upset, but it made one scene of the book seem...out of place, I guess. Then there was Joseph. I absolutely adored him in the first book, but he also felt so much more harsh and non-sympathetic. He didn't have the same charm, and he didn't respect people in the same way. I understand his anger, but I just didn't feel the same way about him anymore. Only Jie had hardly changed, but then she wasn't even in most of the book.

The new characters also didn't affect me the same way the characters in Something Strange and Deadly. Oliver REALLY annoyed me. And the others didn't ever feel important enough to bother with.

But the thing is, the book wasn't bad. It was slow, but I think that the main reason I was so bored by it was because I was expecting a lot. I was expecting the same characters I'd come to love. I was expecting a slightly more exciting plot. This was definitely more character driven than plot driven. I just don't know that it was executed as well. I think Susan's writing was the same in terms of style, but everything that's hidden behind the words was much more lacking than in the first one.

But nevertheless, there was a lot that I did enjoy. As always, I loved Jie. I also liked seeing how the pieces all fit together. I liked how there was forgiveness, but also a lost chance, at the end. I absolutely loved the setting. I love Laure. I loved the end. I love how things didn't move too quickly between Eleanor and Daniel. I loved seeing the conflict between Daniel and Oliver, even if I b*tched about it while I was reading.

The thing is, I like Susan's writing. There's something about it that reminds me a bit of my own. There's a lot more "telling" than many author's would have, but that works for me. I write like that. I like reading like that. Maybe it takes a bit out of reading, but at the same time, it allows me to focus on other aspects of the story.

I know I talked a lot about the negatives, but in reality, I did enjoy the book. I can't exactly pinpoint why I liked it so much despite all the aspects I didn't like. I JUST DID. :P

You can find Susan Dennard on: her website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr
You can find A Darkness Strange and Lovely on: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | IndieBound


  1. When I read the entire review, I expected a 2/2.5 star review. It makes me laugh that 4 stars is your idea of "not as good," lol.

    Great review! Hope you get a copy of the last one

    1. :P Looking back at it now, I was probably a bit generous with that rating. *goes back to switch*

      Thanks! I don't have an ARC, but I'm holding out on the hope that I *might* ;)


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