A Darkness Strange and Lovely: Something Strange and Deadly, Book 2 Book Poster Image

A Darkness Strange and Lovely: Something Strange and Deadly, Book 2



Thrilling sequel puts zombies in Victorian-era Paris.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers will learn about Parisian architecture, food ,and culture, including what it's like to be a young woman and man the Victorian era.

Positive messages

Believe in yourself, trust, and have hope and courage are themes threaded throughout A Darkness Strange and Lovely. The novel also shows the dangers of addiction, although instead of drugs or alcohol, Eleanor is addicted to magic and necromancy. Friendship is another important theme in the novel, as Eleanor feels she has to choose between her loyalty to the Spirit-Hunters and her new friend, Oliver. But as Eleanor's best friend Jie says: You always have a choice.

Positive role models

Eleanor once again sparkles as a go-getter and plucky heroine in her second outing versus the Dead. Although, this time Eleanor keeps some very dark secrets from the Spirit-Hunters, which causes her friends and her harm. Eleanor will do whatever it takes to protect her mother, despite her mother not wanting anything to do with her. Eleanor makes friends easily and is a delightful companion. Daniel Sheridan, her on-again-off-again beau, is charming and clever. He loves Eleanor, but gets jealous of other guys paying attention to her and is easily flustered in her presence. The other Spirit-Hunters, Joseph and Jie, also continue to be solid role-models and protectors. Oliver often manipulates her into using magic and necromancy for his own purposes.


Hand-to-hand combat and not-too gory descriptions of the Dead (zombies).


Mild romance, flirting, and kissing.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Eleanor, an older teen, drinks champagne. Oliver (not clear on how old he is) drinks alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that A Darkness Strange and Lovely is an exciting second book from Susan Dennard, following Something Strange and Deadly. Readers who enjoyed Eleanor's adventures in Victorian Philadelphia will love her outing in Paris in the same era. The novel's about the Dead (zombies) rising through the black magic of a powerful necromancer -- much like in the first book. This story picks up just months after the first book left off. It's full of heroic characters, zombies (without gory description), and romance with some kissing, but no strong language to worry about. People are killed, but nothing is described.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

In her last adventure, chronicled in Something Strange and Deadly, Eleanor Fitt battled the rising dead in her hometown of Philadelphia. Eleanor also believed her troubles with a dangerous necromancer, who caused the chaos were over ... or at least held at bay. But Eleanor's troubles are just beginning in A Darkness Strange and Lovely. Through her ragtag group of friends, the Spirit-Hunters, she learns that the Dead are rising in Paris. Eleanor fears the worst -- the necomancer or a new one has returned. Traveling from Paris to Philadelphia to assist her friends, Eleanor discovers that several Parisians are being murdered by a dark sacrifical power. On board the ship to Paris, Eleanor meets a charming but strange young man named Oliver. Oliver was friends with her brother, and through manipulation shows Eleanor her own true power as a necromancer. Eleanor loves the feeling that magic gives her, but struggles with its temptation by either embracing the black magic or putting everyone and everything she knows at risk.

Is it any good?


A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY is a thrilling second novel from Susan Dennard. Just like with her first book, readers will enjoy the characters, quickly turn the pages to figure out the mystery, and delight in the romantic spark between Eleanor and Daniel. However, it's not until halfway through the book that readers finally see Daniel. Hurray! The story slogs a bit aboard ship, and readers will look forward to when Eleanor is once again on dry land. Dennard's research and knowledge of Philadelphia and Paris clearly shows. A Darkness Strange and Lovely even begins to have a more steampunk edge with airships and cool gadgets. The action-packed ending will leave readers eager for the third installment.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the series. How do you think the sequel compares with the first book, Something Strange and Deadly?

  • Do you like that Susan Dennard set the story in Paris this time rather than Philadelphia? How important is setting in a fantasy novel?

  • Does Eleanor make the right or wrong choices when it comes to handling her addiction to magic? What are your thoughts on addiction and how people struggle with it?

Book details

Author:Susan Dennard
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Arts and dance, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, History, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Science and nature
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:July 23, 2013
Number of pages:416
Publisher's recommended age(s):13 - 18
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of A Darkness Strange and Lovely: Something Strange and Deadly, Book 2 was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!