Something Strange and Deadly Read Along: Week 1

October 10 – October 31, 2012

Okay my blogger friends! It’s time for the Something Strange and Deadly Read Along! I know I’ve got Something Strange and Deadly in my queue of Halloween reads and I thought it would be great to get even more people involved! It was such short notice that I have no co-hosts so I will be coming at you with all of the posts! Here’s how I have it scheduled:

October 3rd: Intro post and sign-ups
October 10th: Week 1: Chapters 1-7 (through page 90)
October 17th: Week 2: Chapters 8-14 (through page 178)
October 24th: Week 3: Chapters 15-20 (through page 278)
October 31st: Week 4: Chapters 22-end 

At the very end on Halloween day, I’m doing a giveaway for all of the participants! It will be your choice of a book by a 2012 debut author (purchased and shipped from The Book Depository) and the runner up of the book giveaway will get a prize package including some Something Strange and Deadly swag!

UPDATE 10/11: Susan Dennard has graciously donated an “Aim For the Knees” T-shirt as a giveaway as well!! This will be for participants only, so don’t forget to add your links! One automatic entry for signing up (as long as I see your participation posts) and additional entries for each week you link up with the read along!

Grab the button for your sidebar here:

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Week 1 Questions:

Character impressions: Clarence
What are your first impressions of Clarence? Does he seem like a trustworthy person, or is he hiding ulterior motives behind good looks?

Hmm, Clarence. You know, I really can’t tell! Obviously he has a secret to hide so that doesn’t seem too trustworthy. He’s got an arrogant sort of confidence that I can’t tell if that will come back to bite him, or if it really does work for his benefit. I don’t really like the way he talks to Eleanor so far, but at least she’s cheeky enough to say whatever is on her mind and she’s not afraid to be a little unladylike around him. I’m actually kind of hoping they’ll be friends, but it also seems like we’re getting a bit of I-hate-you-but-I’ll-love-you-later-in-the-book.

Character impressions: Eleanor Fitt
What are your first impressions of Eleanor? It seems like her mother always wants to put her family’s reputation above all else. How do you think Eleanor feels about this?

Eleanor seems like our typical strong, obstinate, and courageous heroine. Really, I think a lot of paranormal/dystopian-type books have to have this kind of lead character. If it was me, you know I’d never chase after the Dead! But Eleanor has a spark in her that is not only courage, but loyalty and love of her family. She loves her brother and feels if she doesn’t rescue him, who will? As far as her relationship with her mother goes, I don’t think Eleanor really cares about her family’s reputation much at all. It seems to extend as far as being presentable around other people and we do see her disdain for appearing poor (I noticed this with the mention of her old and tattered clothes, specifically). It seems to be a tricky situation because I feel like she cares but only to a certain extend. Maybe she cares about her personal appearance, because she didn’t seem to care much about the party her mother wanted to hold and that she was helping for the sake of her mother. It seems she doesn’t like being around all of those people and being judged all the time so instead, she’d rather avoid it and have her family keep to themselves.

Character impressions: Daniel
Daniel is quite brash with Eleanor when they first meet in the Spirit-Hunter’s lab. Do you see potential for a friendship? For a romance?

I love Daniel’s mad scientist vibe! He was really harsh with Eleanor when she first appeared, but then again, why not? She barged into his lab and start touching things and interfering with his work. Really, it was her out of place. I’m hoping this will develop into an interesting friendship! As of this very point in time, I’d say I’m looking for this to turn into an awesome friendship, but it looks like it’ll turn to a romance here soon!

1. Mrs. Fitt decides to hold a seance as a last minute fill-in for the party’s entertainment. How would you feel about this if you were a guest at the party? Do you think that’s wise with the Dead running around?

Um, I would leave that party right away once I heard mention of a seance! Whether they think it’ll work or not, I wouldn’t want to be around to risk it! And oh wait, it DOES work and Eleanor feels that spirit. Creepy to the max! I would never be around it. And seriously, why are they holding a seance when they know the Dead are walking around??? I guess they’re still a little bit different, but I’d be afraid it’d call the Dead to my house too.

2. Eleanor lives with only her mother and the live-in help since her father passed away and her brother is in New York and possibly taken by the Dead. I feel like the absent family member – especially a parent – is a theme I see a lot in YA novels. Why do you think that is? What aspect does this add to the story?

Hmm. I guess the absent family member really forces the children to step up and be a larger part of the driving force of the family. Not only does Eleanor have to help her mother with a lot more around the house, but now she’s taken on almost raising herself for the last few years she’ll be at home. It’s up to Eleanor to take care of a lot of things that her mother either overlooks or refuses to acknowledge (like the absence of her brother) and I think she’s much more inclined to show initiative and bravery when she knows it’s either up to her or no one will take on the task.

3. We first see the steampunk feel when Eleanor wanders into the Centennial Exhibition to find the Spirit-Hunters. What do you think of machines and science fighting the zombies and paranormal?

I thought this was a really interesting take! Personally, I haven’t read any steampunk so that was all brand new to me. I really was not expecting the Spirit-Hunters to be all about machines and science. I was thinking they would relate more to magic and “voodoo” to combat the necromancer. I really enjoy the twist that puts science head-to-head with supernatural.

4. What do you think really happened to Elijah? Do you think he was captured by the Dead, or are there more secrets hidden behind his disappearance?

In the very beginning, I would say I’m on Eleanor’s side. He probably got taken by the Dead or the necromancer and she needs to rescue him from this terrible fate. But the more we learn about his situation, the more mysteries pop up and I’m really starting to question if he is as helpless as Eleanor thinks….. Or maybe he has something to do with the Dead rising. Either way, I’m terribly anxious to find out!!

EXTRAS: Also add any of your favorite quotes, scenes, or other thoughts about the book so far!

p80: “Miss Fitt, you know curiosity gets men killed.”
I grinned. “Then I daresay it’s good I’m a woman.”

Thoughts so far: Well, I think Susan Dennard has given us a lot to think about so far! At first we think this is just the story of how Eleanor has to save her brother from the Dead. But once we dig more into the story, a lot more questions pop up and I know I’m starting to doubt that her brother is even on the side of good! It’s definitely taking a turn I hadn’t anticipated and I’m curious to see where this tale takes us!

And here are the questions for next week, 10/17:

1. On page 101, Eleanor is reading Elijah’s letter where he mentions the mysterious Gas Ring and how once they see their errors, “Father will be most proud” – Eleanor corrects the tense by saying he would have been proud, not will be and that Elijah never got used to referring to their father in the past tense once he passed away. What do you make of this “mistake”? Is there more to this mistake than Eleanor realizes or was it just an innocent oversight? 

2. We first hear about the grimoires in this section which Jie explains are books of black magic. What roles do you think these books will play in the story? Since Elijah has clearly involved with grimoires, do you think it’s for the side of good or the side of evil?

3. We start to question a lot of Clarence’s actions at motives in this section of chapters. Do you think he has it in for the Spirit-Hunters? Why does Daniel warn Eleanor against him, and what business does he have with Peger?

4. Eleanor and Jie discuss the roles and limited freedoms of women, especially regarding clothes and “proper behavior”. We know that Jie has been disguising herself as a boy so she will not have to abide by the silly rules that women are supposed to follow. When asked, Eleanor says that she has no choice but to obey, and Jie tells her “You always have a choice” (p166). We’ve come along way since Eleanor’s time in the nineteenth century, but do you think certain “rules” like these still exist? Women and men are equal in today’s Western societies, but are there any “norms” that women are still restricted from that men have full freedom to pursue?

4. Chapter 14 ends with quite the cliffhanger! What do you think this spirit is all about? Do you think it’s connected to the Dead at all or is this a separate entity? Why is it specifically connected with Eleanor? 

EXTRAS: Also add any of your favorite quotes, scenes, or other thoughts about the book so far!

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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3 thoughts on “Something Strange and Deadly Read Along: Week 1

  1. Lucy

    I think you may be on to something about Elijah. I was reminded of Clockwork Angel where all is not what it seems where the heroine’s brother is concerned. I hope he’s not a bad guy, but I guess time will tell. I like your answer about Eleanor having to step up and take care of the family- good point that that forces her to be braver and find her brother.
    That quote is a good one and one I didn’t remember. I need to take better notes 🙂

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