Last week I signed up for the Something Strange and Deadly Read Along being hosted by Brittany at The Book Addict’s Guide. I had been wanting to read SSaD for a while and this seemed the perfect opportunity to start it and have fun reading with others at the same time. This is my first read along since I started my blog and Brittany couldn’t have picked a more perfect book.
Click the banner above to go to Brittany’s week 1 post.
If you’d like to sign up to the read along you can do so up to 17th October by clicking the button above or find the button in my sidebar.
Let me know if you do sign up!
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?
Clarence is a strange one for me to work out! I definitely think he’s hiding something but is it for the purposes of good or bad? Who knows right now. If he didn’t have anything to hide he wouldn’t have been checking his watch waiting for the “Cockney guy” to turn up at The Fitt’s party, he wouldn’t have gone outside to meet him and he wouldn’t have paid him or hidden the newspaper when Eleanor saw it. He also implied he only “knew of” Elijah but later it turns out he knew him better than he first led Eleanor to believe. Could he be the older school boy who tormented him? He seems intent on charming Eleanor but it makes me wonder if he’s only doing that to throw her off his trail once she’s smitten with him. Whatever it is that Clarence is up to we’ll find out soon enough!
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 a really strong-minded, determined and brave girl. In Brittany’s answer for this she said “If it was me, you know I’d never chase after the Dead!” and I definitely agree, it takes someone fearless to do that in the hope that she can find out answers about what’s happened to her beloved brother. I’d be cowering in the corner, terrified! Eleanor feels like she’s on her own with this problem, if she doesn’t find her brother then no-one will. The Spirit-Hunters aren’t interested in extra cases, her mother is more concerned with society etiquette, her friends are a bit flakey and Clarence at the moment has not proven that he can be trusted.
I think Eleanor sees that her mother is pre-occupied with thoughts of what others think of the Fitts family but she’s not too concerned about it herself. She knows that she really should meet certain standards of etiquette but then she doesn’t give too much thought to others. Like when she was caught talking to Clarence in the hallway she knew that that wasn’t great, rumours spreading like that could be bad for her personal reputation and well as her family’s. With regard to her appearance I’m not too sure she’s overly bothered. When Allison showed up and asked her to go to tea Eleanor was already dressed in her walking dress. I think if she was too bothered she would have gone to get changed since she knew they were going to a nice hotel and would have stood out in plain, tattered clothes.
She does worry about not having enough money but not in the way some of the wealthy families she knows would worry. They would worry about being seen to have the most money and to make a show of having money by buying expensive furnishings, clothes etc. Eleanor simply worries about having enough money to keep the house running and paying the help. She mentions that she’s taken over the family finances, maybe this way because her mother was spending too frivolously trying to keep up with other families.
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?
Haha, I love the first description we got of Daniel in his goggles! He definitely seems like an eccentric scientist. He wasn’t all that nice to Eleanor when she turned up at the Spirit-Hunters’ office but then again she smashed one of his experiments by barging in and not waiting for someone to answer the door. Like Daniel said he had worked really hard to get everything he needed for the experiment and now all that effort was wasted. Given that in A LOT of books where characters start off hating each other they end up falling in love I think that’s what will happen here. I have a hunch that Daniel may be involved in helping/rescuing Eleanor from a bad situation involving Clarence and him being on the bad side. Time will tell if I’m right!
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?
Eek! If I was one of the guests at that party I’d be looking for where the maid hung my coat at the first mention of a seance happening! I am a REAL scaredy cat with things like that. The fact that the seance works would send me over the edge of terrified! And as for them holding a seance knowing that the Dead are already up and running around is just plain madness! What was Mrs Fitt thinking? I get that she’s missing her husband and hopes to make contact with him but really, you’d think she’d forget about that for a while with what’s going on!
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?
This is a hard one for me to answer. I think an absent parent, or other family member, kind of forces the character to grow up a bit faster than normal. They usually have to take on more responsibility, like with Eleanor she now runs the family finances. She’s also taken it upon herself to solve the mystery of what’s happened to her brother without involving her mother. Eleanor and her mother have almost reversed roles – Mrs Fitt is busying herself with parties and socialising and hoping for suitors for Eleanor and Eleanor herself is helping to fight the Dead!
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 haven’t actually read anything from the steampunk genre before. I had heard of it but I had to look up the proper definition when Brittany posed this question! I am actually really enjoying reading about machines helping to fight the Dead and the necromancer. I think it takes a well thought out plot to make it work and I can tell that this is the case so far with Susan Dennard’s story. All too often when it’s magic fighting evil the character/s just suddenly find that they have X/Y/Z power and I find that boring and all too easy, it makes for a lazy story sometimes.
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?
I’m really not sure and I’m dying to find out! One thing that I did wonder about is who is “Sure Hands”? Cockney guy gave Clarence a picture of a younger male and it made me wonder if that was a picture of Elijah? Is Sure Hands a good guy or a bad guy? I think since Eleanor obviously idolises Elijah there is a good chance that we’ll see another side to him that will shock Eleanor and knock Elijah off the pedestal Eleanor has put him on.
So, there you have it. There’s my break down of what I have read so far of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard. If you’d like to check it out on Goodreads then you can click on the Goodreads button below to be taken to its page.