This is going to be the vaguest review ever because Susan Dennard’s A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY doesn’t come out for another eight months still, but I can’t not
talk about it. The sequel to SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, this novel picks up right where the first left off. The Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, and Eleanor Fitt is dealing with the aftermath. When the evil necromancer Marcus reappears, Eleanor heads to Paris via steamer to track down Joseph, Daniel, and Jie. Aboard the ship she befriends Oliver, a mysterious young man harboring secrets regarding black magic, and what Eleanor learns from him complicates things greatly as she reunites with the Spirit Hunters.
I had a hunch while reading book one that Dennard excelled at writing setting (historic Philadelphia seeped off the pages), but now I’m positive of it. I truly felt like I was in Paris while reading this novel. Everything about the bustling city felt realized, and just as in book one, the fashions, speech, and technologies that populated the story were authentic to the late nineteenth century. Setting/world aside, I love these characters. It was so fun to be back with them. The Spirit Hunters are more of celebrity figures in Paris than the rag-tag team Philadelphia perceived them as, and this puts an interesting spin on their dynamic. Tensions between Eleanor and Daniel, who has “cleaned up” given all his time in the spotlight, couldn’t be higher. Jie is as spunky as always. And Oliver! I loved this new addition to the cast and how he fits both into the backstory as well as Eleanor’s present. Full of equal parts action and mystery (with a dash of romance), this sequel was a blast. Can’t wait for the final installment.
Originally posted here
NOTE: This review is based on an ARC.