posted at Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 at 6:08 PM | Reviews, Young Adult
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #3
Published by HarperTeen on July 22, 2014
Genres: Historical, Horror, Paranormal, Romance, Steampunk
Amazon • The Book Depository
In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.
He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.
With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.
Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.
Well, damn. THIS is how you end a trilogy, my friends. Like a freaking BAMF. Seriously, I had my doubts going in after a favorite trilogy went down in a fiery mess of plotberg, but Dennard’s ending is more than I could have dreamed. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and sassy and perfection. Also, Dennard is a recap queen. I’m going to be honest and say that I didn’t remember book two super well, but Dennard got me up to speed in no time and I was rolling. All of this is to say that you should run, not shamble, to read this book because it’s freaking amazing.
I’ll admit that I struggled a bit with A Darkness Strange and Lovely. Eleanor hid so much for so little reason and I was endlessly frustrated with that. In Strange and Ever After, Dennard addresses this and Eleanor has to look at the choices she’s been making and why. Eleanor really has to face her demons, figurative and literal. I realize too that part of why I was so frustrated with Eleanor in book two is that we have so much in common, which is why it hurt to see her pushing away the people who care about her; I hate it because I know it’s something I would do too. In Strange and Ever After Eleanor does a lot of growing. She has an amazing character arc and the part of this book that most makes me want to cry is how far she’s come by the end.
The big problem in a lot of trilogies is that the stakes are high and terrifying but that the author goes too hard for that HEA. Everything needs to wrap up in a big shiny bow at the end, so the plot ends up resolving really conveniently in such a way as to leave all the people the reader cares about alive and the romance happily afloat. There are no lasting consequences and the suffering is limited in scope. Personally, I don’t like this. Defeating a great evil is not going to be easy. In Strange and Ever After, it’s not. I won’t tell you what does happen, but I will say that the group works hard for every single bit of it.
Obviously, romance is important to me, but it wasn’t my primary focus in this particular book. The plot really took the front seat and it was so badass. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that I really love the way it was handled, though some may not. The ending’s definitely bittersweet, but it’s lovely and dark and strange and precisely what it needed to be. I’ll actually be really interested to see what people make of this ending.
There’s also action galore. There are fights against all sorts of zombies, of course. Then there’s the Indiana Jones style jaunts through the pyramids. The pacing is fast fast fast. Though Strange and Ever After is long, it’s a page turner that I didn’t want to put down. How many times can I tell you guys that you need to read this series? A LOT OF TIMES. It’s dark and funny and a bit romantic and full of action and magic. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE?
Guys, I have mad respect for the way that Dennard ended this trilogy. Just so much respect. A lot of people are going to weep, though I didn’t. On a reread, I might even cry. AND THERE WILL BE REREADS. I give this trilogy my highest series recommendation. Go forth and read. Also, I’d dearly love some companion series about View Spoiler »the children who go to the Sheridan school as they grow up « Hide Spoiler
View Spoiler »“I can still make a fist, and breath still burns in my chest. So look at my face. Look at my mortal soul, and remember it. You did not crush me, and you will have the rest of eternity to think on it.” « Hide Spoiler
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