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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

Strange and Ever After is the third book in the Something Strange and Deadly series.  For the first two books' reviews, click here:  Something Strange and DeadlyA Darkness Strange and Lovely.  There won't be any spoilers for Strange and Ever After in this review, but there may be spoilers for the first two books.

Strange and Ever After wraps up this trilogy really well!  The characters remain true, and continue to show growth; the setting is awesome; and the pacing feels just right.  Sometimes finales to trilogies or series can feel a bit rushed or even anticlimactic--this wrap-up feels excellently planned.

I definitely recommend that you begin at the beginning with this trilogy in order to truly know the characters.  Susan Dennard doesn't waste any time or words on character descriptions or background before rushing right into plot in this novel.  In fact, Strange and Ever After opens mere minutes after A Darkness Strange and Lovely ends, and the reader is immediately thrown into the midst of the Spirit Hunters clique as they race across the sky in an airship.  (The airship is described to be very similar to a zeppelin.  Very cool.)  I love hearing Daniel and Joseph's Creole accents in my mind as I read, and picturing the lovely Jie.  I love that Dennard doesn't phonetically write out the Creole accent... that style of writing always slows my reading pace!  I appreciate that she trusts her readers to remember who has what accent.  At the outset of this book, I didn't actually care overly much for Eleanor, the main character.  Most of the time I don't end up caring for books where the main character isn't overly likable, but not in this case- in this case, Eleanor undergoes so much believable character growth that I ended up liking her, and the book, all the more for the rough start.  Dennard also gives us character growth in Oliver.  Yes, she manages to write maturity and emotional growth into a paranormal being!   That is talent, my friends.

Not only are all the characters lovable in their own ways, the setting alone would be enough to recommend this book.  Egypt!  The settings for this trilogy keep getting better and better.  Victorian Philadelphia, Paris, and now Egypt!  High society with balls and gowns + steampunk inventions!  Rich history + zombies and magic!  What more could you ask for than an adventure involving crystal pulse pistols used to fight hordes of reanimated mummies?

Finally, I can also say that this finale reads really smoothly in terms of pacing.  I read it in one day and was never bored; never tempted to skip ahead.  I was also never overwhelmed, and never had to reread a passage for missed details.  There was a really well-written huge battle that did not have a predictable end- I was on the metaphorical edge of my seat the whole time!  Then there were great details in the final chapter that let you know where your beloved characters end up.

I would love to see more books from this world!  Ms. Dennard, can we get a spin-off series?


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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