Something Strange and Ever After: Something Strange and Deadly, Book 3

Book review by
Julie A. Carlson, Common Sense Media
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More gore in trilogy's riveting, epic finale in Egypt.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This time around, Eleanor and her friends the Spirit-Hunters journey to Egypt to take down the evil necromancer, Marcus. Through Strange and Ever After, the sights and sounds of ancient Egypt and the Nile come alive. Readers will learn about airship technology, Victorian practices, etiquette, and female empowerment. 

Positive Messages

Strong messages about the importance of friendship and family, protecting others, helping people in times of need, risking your own safety for others, trusting people and your own instincts, learning to decipher right and wrong, learning to stand up for yourself, not letting yourself and your actions be controlled by other people, and believing in yourself even when times get tough. Readers also will learn about forgiveness and taking risks, even when the path you choose may not be the one you truly want but the one that's right. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Eleanor Fitt doesn't give up, even until the bitter end. She stands up for justice and takes matters into her own hands. Though Eleanor has a take-charge attitude, she must learn to control her magical power and her feelings of revenge. She's a strong woman and wants to help her friends and family. In Strange and Ever After she loses a lot, and her friends warn her that revenge isn't always the answer. They're afraid of losing Eleanor to a darker magic that she can't come back from. The series concludes as a testament to what being a friend really means. There are many likable heroes who risk life and limb to help one another. Readers will discover within the darker depths of Strange and Ever After the importance of being kind, caring, forgiving, and humble.


There's more violence in Strange and Ever After than in the previous two novels: hand-to-hand combat, fighting with weapons (real pistols and pistols with magical properties), descriptions of bloody undead (zombies), descriptions of people being shot, the undead being shot or stabbed. Major and minor characters are hurt, injured, or killed. 


Mild flirting, hugging, thoughts of kissing, and actual kissing.


"Goddammit" and the use of "shut pan" (old saying for "shut up"). 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Strange and Ever After is the epic conclusion of the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy. There's more violence than in previous installments, with lots of hand-to-hand combat and fighting with weapons, including pistols, and more gruesome scenes and graphic descriptions (including those of bloody zombies). Major and minor characters die, and people and monsters are injured and killed. There's mild flirting and romance. The only strong language is "goddammit." The themes take a darker turn, but the underlying message is about the importance of having true friends. 

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What's the story?

STRANGE AND EVER AFTER is the last novel in the Something Strange and Deadly series by Susan Dennard. Eleanor is now on a mission to take down Marcus, the evil necromancer who has awakened the dead and destroyed everything she's ever loved. Along with the Spirit-Hunters, Eleanor journeys from France to Egypt to save her friend Jie. Eleanor also must learn to control her magic, something her brother never did, which cost him his life, and she must figure out her feelings for Daniel. While doing all of this, Eleanor must learn how not to lose herself and her friends in the process.

Is it any good?

Readers will be sad to see the adventures of Eleanor and the Spirit-Hunters come to an end -- but they will not be disappointed with the conclusion. Strange and Ever After is a solid book with riveting scenes, heroic conquests, and plenty of action. The gothic atmosphere is rich, and characters leap off the page. The novel takes on darker themes, but its key message is about the value of friendship. This satisfying conclusion ties up loose ends and leaves readers with the hope that there's always a brighter tomorrow. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about steampunk fiction. Why is this genre so popular? How did the Egypt setting of this series installment fit with the steampunk style? 

  • Were you surprised by how Strange and Ever After concluded? Were you happy or unhappy with the ending? 

  • Would you risk your life for someone you loved?

Book details

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For kids who love fantasy and romance

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