Series Send Off: Something Strange & Deadly series by Susan Dennard

Check out past Series Send Off posts in which I finish the last book in a series & chat about it plus introduce new readers to the series with my general & non-spoilery thoughts about the series as a whole!

I do this weird thing where sometimes I hold off reading the last book of series I love — especially if I’ve waited the time in between rather than binge reading. It’s a weird thing. I KNOW. It’s a combo of 1) I just don’t want things to end and 2) also I get afraid because I’ve been let down in series before.   I had read the first two books a while ago and finally had the guts to finish it!


 Goodreads // Amazon


Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:


This would make such a good series to binge read because it’s ridiculously action-packed and you’ll want to compulsively read it. And it honestly truly feels different than a lot of series out there! It’s this great mix of magic and adventures (holy great settings to have these adventures in) and steampunk goodness. So action packed, too! The stakes get higher and higher in each book and things get even more real! Necromancers! Armies of the dead! Really intense baddies! Magic! Demons! What is going on in Book 1 is just a smaller sliver of the bigger picture of what is at work!



What The Series Is About:

It’s 1876 and the Dead are rising in Eleanor’s city of Philadelphia because of a necromancer who is hellbent on raising them. She finds out her brother’s disappearance could possibly be related to what is going on and, in her search for answers, finds herself spending time with a rag tag group called The Spirit Hunters who are also trying to track down this necromancer and stop all the madness! Together with the Spirit Hunters, Eleanor sets out to find her brother and stop the necromancer which proves to be a tough feat that sends them all over the world for answers and the chance to stop even worse things from happening.



Recommended For People Who Love:

steampunk, adventure novels, magic, zombie-lite type of books (if you are looking for like a really heavy classic zombie book this isn’t it…like the dead have risen but THEY aren’t the main focus), readers looking for action



Thoughts On Each Book

(Skip below to the next section or read my review for book 1 if you haven’t read the series yet!)


Something Strange & Deadly — You can read my full review of Something Strange and Deadly here but I just have to say, especially after finishing the series, this book is definitely the lighter of the 3 in terms of what is going on. Seriously the magic and things going on gets so much darker. And after thinking about this book I’m just like WOW WOW WOW look at the adventure they went on after the things they realize in book 1 and how those things were small in comparison to the scope of the rest of the series. LOVED this book…hold your butts for the adventure that goes on in the next 2. That’s all I’m saying. Also, LOVED that the setting was my stomping grounds of Philadelphia in the late 1800’s.


A Darkness Strange and Lovely: I personally didn’t think this book suffered from second book syndrome in the way that some other books do. It definitely did a lot of setting up for the epic and explosive book 3 but in a way that I felt natural because at the end of book 1 they are figuring out just what kind of shit Eleanor’s brother was really in and how much bigger it is. They are looking for answers and figuring things out in this book and trying to put an end to it all — without realizing just how dark it all is. Plus, we meet Ollie — a demon that changes things for Eleanor when he offers her magic and who is one of the greatest characters in this series. It creates a lot of interesting things between her and the Spirit Hunters but also I think Eleanor has a lot to grapple with as she uses it. You see her really change and test the limits of her own morals as she discovers what she can do and how she can use it. She wants to help and save her friends and put an end to the stuff going on. She has good intention but that kind of power doesn’t come with consequences. I loved the Paris setting and the action and the development of the story.

Strange and Ever After: WOW what an emotional, explosive and truly action-packed series conclusion! I loved that the stakes really and truly felt higher and more dangerous. Sometimes I feel like battles aren’t as tough in some series as I’d like them to be but this one truly made me feel how hard these characters fought. I truly felt like they were in danger as soon as they really figured out what they needed to do. That this battle they would inevitable have would cost them in ways. And I wasn’t wrong in that feeling as the gang faces Marcus in this book. Eleanor grows a lot — she isn’t always easy to like or get along with and she constantly pushes people away but she’s starting to realize her tendencies. Plus I think a lot of how she changes and grows is related to the power she possesses. It changes her and she has to figure that out — same with her friends — they don’t approve of it but also they recognize how it helps them. All these moral grounds they all have to work through.  I really loved how much we got to understand Ollie in this book. I love him so damn much. I will say the only thing that tripped me up during this book is that I felt like confused with some of the magic. Even more elements are added and even some Egyptian gods and stuff but I got so confused with some of the layers of it all.

I think the ending to the series is definitely polarizing but I found that I REALLY loved it.

[spoiler]You know….a good chunk of the books and tv series that truly impact me are the ones that show that hard fought battles don’t always end up in happily ever afters. When the stakes are truly that high and dangerous, people will die. Sacrifice will happen. I mean, as much as the Walking Dead kills me with killing off main people…like I’d be pissed if they didn’t because how else will I believe the dire straights they really are in? I did NOT expect Daniel’s death. I expected someone to die but not him. It was so devastating to me but I honestly felt like it made so much sense. They all were willing to save and sacrifice themselves for each other. You see that at so many points. And Daniel was just so truly good. He would have sacrificed himself for all of them — not just Eleanor but especially for Joseph who was so much to him. Some may feel it was unnecessary but I never felt that way…it just felt right…albeit SO SO devastating. I respected it. It couldn’t have been an easy choice for Susan to do that when you have such a shippable romance. Of course I wanted their romance to play out and them to be happily ever after but it doesn’t at all negate the strong and fierce love that they had for each other. I felt how much their love for each other changed both of them. I also loved that Susan didn’t let their romance seem more important than what they were facing. Like you can tell they felt conflicted when they were trying to also figure their relationship out as well as save the world. The love was important but saving the world was just as important. [/spoiler]




Rating Broken Down By Books

Something Strange and Deadly


A Darkness Strange and Lovely

Strange & Ever After



And so I’m saying farewell to this series:

Farewell my spirit hunting, friends! Thank you for taking me on wild adventures and reminding me that, despite what you’ve gone through in life and how easy it is to push people away because of it, it’s better to embrace the people who genuinely want to love you. Thanks for allowing me to become part of your rag-tag, misfit unit of a family.


What did you think of the conclusion to this series if you’ve read it?? What did you think of the series overall?? If you haven’t read it, have I piqued your interest?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Lovely send off, Jamie!!! I absolutely loved the SS&D trilogy and although I cried (A LOT) during book 3, I think you’re right about the ending making sense. Overall, I pretty much agree with your thoughts on all the books (although I haven’t read them since Strange and Ever After first came out, so it’s all a bit fuzzy now). I had a strong love/hate relationship with Ollie and Eleanor’s use of her magic, but I liked the extra tension it added to the story.

    • OMG I cried so much too! I was a snotty mess. GAH. I think what I loved about the book is that as readers I think we are supposed to have that reaction about the use of her magic and that I could see that same fight in her as well. Gah it was just so good and such a great ending!

  2. haven’t read it, sounds like i need to! adding it to my (never-ending) list!

  3. You know, back when I had just started blogging I actually got asked to be a part of the blog tour for this book but I was reading more middle-grade and hadn’t really branched out into the YA genre so I declined and I really regret it haha! I’m hoping that my library has this series as it looks SO GOOD and I really want to read them!

  4. I have very mixed feelings. At the time, I hated it but over year later, I don’t feel quite so passionate. However, I really enjoyed the series as a whole and don’t regret reading it.

    • I can def see how people had mixed feelings over that ending! I think endings like that are SO polarizing! It’s always interesting to go read reviews from both sides haha.

  5. I agree with so much of this. I binged them all last summer and it is one of those series that gets better and bigger with each passing book. And I 1000% agree with everything you said in the spoiler section. I felt like it made perfect sense but it didn’t hurt any less when in happened. That to me is the mark of a good author. You connect so much with the story that you understand the characters on a deeper level.

    • YES THIS. Like I wanted to die when it happened but it made sense…no matter how much I hurt and didn’t like that it did. So much the mark of a good author…you are right! Also I loved that she clearly did the hard thing..the thing nobody would want…but was brave enough to do it despite any backlash because that’s where the story took her.

  6. You’ve completed piqued my interest! I’ve been meaning to read me some Susan Dennard for a while now, especially since Truthwitch is the new hot thing. Plus, Sooz and Sarah J. Maas are besties and I want to be in both of their clubs. Totally going to bump Something Strange and Deadly up higher on TBR list. 😀

    • You absolutely should! It’s such a good series. And for as good as this is….GIRL…Truthwitch just blew my mind!! It’s amazing to see what Sooz can do with fantasy!

  7. I binge-read this series last year and was so emotionally-drained afterward. I hardly ever cry when reading, but I cried so much reading the last book! I didn’t like what happened, but I understand why it had to happen.

    • SO emotionally draining!!! That is exactly how I felt. Like I understood why it had to happen but logic does not help my heartbreak!!

  8. Wow I don’t know why but I’ve only taken a passing interest on this series, but the magic and the zombies and your individual reviews on each book, it really sounds like it would be up my alley! It kind of reminds me of The Diviners in some way, and I kind of love the different historical settings with the steampunk mesh. And wow, the conclusion sounds impactful! Lovely review!

    • It’s so good! I think it’s definitely an underrated series for sure! It’s amazing how what you think is going on in book 1 just gets bigger and more intricate in the subsequent books! Ahh and I’ve been meaning to start The Diviners! I also am soooo into the historical/steampunk mashup. It makes for awesomeness. Now you have me wanting to go pick up The Diviners!!

  9. Hmmmm. I didn’t realize this book had steampunk elements (which I love). I hadn’t really planned on reading it because of the undead/zombie aspect (which I hate) but now I am torn and might have to give it a shot. Great sendoff!

    • Yes! It’s awesome! Honestly the undead is sooo not even the main thing of this story. I had put it off for that reason too. Even though walking Dead is one of my all time fave shows. lol. GO FIGURE. But really the undead are just kind of this result of OTHER things going on…if that makes sense. like they are NOT the focus of what is going on. Esp in book 2 and 3.

      I will be SO curious to hear what you think if you end up picking them up!