A Darkness Strange and Lovely picks up Eleanor Fitt's story from where Something Strange and Deadly left off. Having lost her brother Elijah to the villainous necromancer Marcus Duval, her mother to a mental hospital, and her right hand to a Hungry Dead, Ellie finds herself having no place to run, or to hide from Marcus's machinations. Her friends, the The Spirit Hunters (Joseph, Daniel & Jie), have fled Philadelphia and have landed in Paris where it appears the dead have also risen.
Ellie cons her way aboard a steamer heading towards France where she meets an interesting man named Oliver who has a few secrets of his own including the fact that he's familiar with Ellie's brother Elijah. (I still say there is a lot more to THAT relationship than Dennard has explored, and I wouldn't be surprised that they were more than just friends.) He also makes Ellie understand that she's not the only necromancer in the family and attempts to set her in the right direction, unsuccessfully, which shouldn't surprise anyone when there is blow back and a bit of belligerent behavior on the part of Ellie.
For the record, I didn't much care for Ollie and I sure don’t trust him. I know there is more to him than meets the eyes and obviously he’s now part of the story whether we like it or not. I just don't fully trust his intentions or his actions towards Ellie. On the other hand, dealing with Ellie isn't all that easy once she realizes that she's got a bit of power in her hands and believes that she can defeat Marcus without anyone else's help.
Naturally, once Ellie reunites with the Spirit Hunters, she's once again thrown into a situation where she's combative and under the opinion that she can pretty much do what she wants to do and faces yet another dangerous villain. Ok, maybe I am being a bit drastic in my telling of Ellie's actions, BUT, she did have a tendency of driving me straight for the bottle of Jack Daniels that has been sitting in my cupboard for many years now.
As a side note, I have been to Paris, France and it was an adventure I’ll never forget. Of course, it was a totally different time (1981) and era from when this story is set. I actually appreciated the time and effort Dennard puts into writing about Paris. As a reader, I like it when I can close my eyes, and imagine myself sitting exactly where Ellie and the Spirit Hunters were sitting and when.
I still won’t be deterred by Ellie’s actions and do actually see a bit of character growth in the right direction. She is straight up feisty and has a good heart overall. I like the fact that she faces danger alongside the Spirit Hunters who weren’t all that thrilled to learn about her new powers. She even refuses to allow herself to be controlled by Oliver.
Did you read that kiss? No, I mean, did you READ THAT KISS? ::sigh:: Yeah, so, I can forgive Daniel after that kiss.
Overall, a decent sequel to A Darkness Strange and Lovely and I WILL be looking forward to the sequel coming out sometime in 2014.
Author - Susan Denard
Title - A Darkness Strange and Lovely
Published by Harper Teen
Released July 23, 2012
Genre - YA, Steampunk, Historical, Fantasy
Borrowed via Library