A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It was the interesting sister to save brother in a steam-punky world that drew me in first. But it was the kick ass girl all independent and funny that kept me. Then there were the Spirit Hunters and how they stood out that kept me rooted. But mostly it was the necromancy plus the odd timed romance-y bits that I really liked. This one has me feeling things have changed though… it’s not all that.
Perhaps because of the change in direction in the girl? Sure the world feels real. And sure, things moved fast. Sure, we believe she’s a girl from that time and that time is different, but this girl isn’t quite the girl I was rooting for in the first book. For one, there’s less thinking here - and more trusting on her part - a drastic departure from the way she used to be. And who was she trusting plus the speed at which the same took place? It all had me feeling something was missing (her brain, perhaps?) But not really… because the things she’s dealing with here are different. Diving into the darker side of things as she was, she was bound to be feeling isolated and whatnot. So, some of her actions made sense with that in mind. But still… why the trust. Eh?
Now, here I am feeling ho-hum. Not just over the change in the lead, but also in the almost absence of characters I actually LOVED in the first. There’s little of the boy she loved (but didn’t love her back) And here I was wanting something from that corner: a comeuppance of some sort, even though it was so obviously another I love you but must not set-up’s. I needed something… not all those long moments of nothing between them!
The girl in this one is little of what she was like in the first one, but understandably so. The ones I truly loved almost absent. The only truly interesting thing that actually happens is the addition of a demon dude who waxed poetic about “love… just being.” Otherwise, we’ve an interesting authentic feeling world that’s different made complicated by missed opportunities, wires being crossed, petty jealousies and secrets as well as selves that are held back. Typical YA, basically.
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