IMG_3276Reviewed by Carrie Ardoin

I thoroughly enjoyed this romp back into the world of our main character, Eleanor Fitt. Since the end of the first book, Something Strange and Deadly, Eleanor has been coming to terms with the novelties that learning about and fighting necromancy brought into her life. She lost her right hand in the fight that also killed her brother, Elijah. Her mother, who was already on the verge of madness from losing her husband and her wealth, made the full descent into it when she learned of her son’s death. And to top it all off, the Spirit Hunter that Eleanor fell in love with broke her heart and then jaunted off to Paris.

The book starts off with Eleanor boarding a ship and going to find the Spirit Hunters when she learns that Marcus, the nefarious necromancer who is wearing her brother’s body, has found her in Philadelphia. Eleanor has discovered that she also possesses the necromancy powers that her brother had. This is distressing, as she definitely does not want to end up down the same dark road that Elijah and Marcus traveled; yet the powers call to her, and they are becoming impossible to resist.

I found A Darkness Strange and Lovely to be a fantastic follow up to Something Strange and Deadly. It is obvious how much the events of just a few months prior have devastated Eleanor. She’s still only sixteen years old, but she is far from the girl she used to be. I liked that Eleanor really didn’t have to rely on Daniel, the man who rejected her advances, or anyone else to get anything done. I know that the necromancy powers are supposed to be something bad, but to be quite honest I liked the moxie and life they gave to Eleanor–made her feel useful in a world full of otherwise silly women.

As in the first book, I had a feeling of who the villain would be–there is quite heavy foreshadowing and just a general feeling that something is off with the character. Maybe it’s just obvious to me because I’m a more seasoned reader and this book is targeted at a young adult audience, but I feel like this obvious foreshadowing is something the author could work on a bit more for the upcoming final book in the series.

There aren’t too many zombies in the book, and of course they aren’t traditional zombies anyway. But Susan Dennard does such a great job with world building and making you feel as if you are really in some faraway time and land that you don’t miss them too much. I really wanted to put on a luxurious ball gown and fill up my dance card alongside Eleanor.

I’m looking forward to the next and final book in this series, and I can’t wait to see if Eleanor ends up on her own or not–because I think she will be fine either way.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Carrie runs the blog Sweet Southern Home, and is a stay at home wife and mom to one little boy. When she’s not reading, she’s usually watching Netflix with her husband, playing outside with her son, or baking. Her family would describe her as sometimes annoyingly sarcastic, but mostly lovable. 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperTeen. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.