A Darkness Strange and Lovely
Publication Date: 24th June 2014 (first published 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...
With her brother dead and her mother insane, Eleanor Fitt is alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor hears the vicious barking of hounds and see haunting yellow eyes, she fears that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are after her.
To escape, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. But Oliver harbors a dangerous secret involving necromancy and black magic that entices Eleanor beyond words. If she can resist him, she’ll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over, and there’s a whole new evil lurking. And she is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.
In Paris, there’s a price for this darkness strange and lovely, and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.
Check out my review for book 1, Something Strange and Deadly by CLICKING HERE.
Serious spoiler's ahead if you haven't read the first book in the series, Something Strange and Deadly!
I'm a little dubious when it comes to sequels, as more often than not they don't live up to the first book. However when reading A Darkness Strange and Lovely I found myself thinking "and here I was thinking the last book as good!" Dennard seriously kicked it up a gear with this instalment of the Something Strange and Deadly series and I could not but it down!
This book starts 3 months after the last one concludes. It starts in Philadelphia with Eleanor (El), handless, penniless and in all honesty, friendless. Her mother is in a mental hospital and the only friends she does have are half way across the world in Paris. Oh and to make things all the more complicated Marcus is still out there and he's not even close to finished with her. The plot follows El as she makes her was across the Atlantic to Paris, although aboard the ship she finds herself confronted with something she never expected. Oliver. AKA her brother's Demon best friend. El has to come to terms with her new powers and again there is a strong emphasis on right and wrong and being able to figure out who you are when your world seems to be spiralling.
El's character in this was quite a bit different from the first book. She's stronger and more self-reliant that she ever has been before. She's got this power within her she doesn't know how to use and she's a little unwilling to adapt at times. Stubborn doesn't even begin to cover it!
I am happy to announce that this story was less predictable! And being as that was the only major flaw in Something Strange and Deadly I'd say we're off to a good start. I'll admit that when reading I thought I knew where the story was going, however I was surprised as the plot unfolded. I think that the biggest difference between the writing styles on book 1 and this instalment is that Dennard was able to drop clues without giving the game away. Also, I don't know what happened between writing these two books but she also picked up the magical skill of misdirection - which again, only added to the suspense within the story.
The only downside I had with this book was there wasn't enough Daniel! It wasn't until about half way through that he finally turns up. I love him as a character and I think that his connection with El and the people they are when they're around each other is really special. I hope that we get to see a lot more of these two as a duo in the final book in the series - Strange and Ever After.
Overall though A Darkness Strange and Lovely is a well-written and exciting sequel that doesn't in any way, shape or form let the reader down. It's still packed full of zombies and magic but with the Parisian setting it makes the story all the more endearing. There were some serious questions left unanswered at the end of this book and I'm about to delve into the final book in the series.
Wish me luck!