This was me trying not to cry at the end of Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard, trying not to cry when I read the last line and softly closed the book, trying not to cry as I typed the title for this post.
This is what I need right now.
In case you’re wondering what has rendered me a blubbering mess, it’s the wonderful, terrible, lovely, aching conclusion to the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy.
In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus…all before it’s too late.
He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.
With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.
I’m a mass of contradictory emotions right now. I’m elated because this was a beautiful, heart-wrenching, thrilling book; at the same time, my heart is completely crushed and uncomprehending.
Much as my heart aches to say it, I think the ending to this series is spectacular. This review will be short and sweet I have zero complaints about this book. None. It was perfection – but, with Susan Dennard, can you really expect any less?
The book starts with an sucker punch and does not stop the entire time. Were it not for the job I’m required to have to feed my book addiction, I would have devoured this one in hours. Or so I thought. As I was sucked further and further into the book, I started reading less and less because the faster I finished, the faster it was done. And then what? What would I do without Eleanor and Daniel and the Spirit-Hunters? I could do without Marcus and Allison, but over the years of the books’ releases, I’ve grown so close to these characters, I didn’t want to close the book cover on them.
Eleanor. Strong and courageous as ever, and though I was screaming at her to stop hiding secrets (didn’t you learn the last time, with your demon?!) I couldn’t fault her. She only wanted to be happy, after such an unhappy few years, and she wasn’t foolish in her actions. Eleanor is the type of character I love and admire: strong but not perfect, growing and developing over the course of the books. She’s loved so much and lost so much, but she soldiers on and I love her.
One thing I liked about the series as a whole was that there was no love triangle. A few times I was frightened there would be. I liked seeing Daniel and Eleanor together and the way their relationship changed on its own. Besides, between fighting the Dead and Marcus and trying to uncover the mystery of Elijah, their relationship and lives were under enough stress!
At the end, I was bawling my eyes out. I won’t say why, just that I had to stop reading because I couldn’t see through the tears streaming down my face. It came out of the blue and hit me with the full force of a pulse bomb (ha ha).
“I will fight until the end, no matter where it takes us. But sometimes a man needs a few good dreams to warm his wicked nights.” – Daniel Sheridan
I was not a pawn. I was a queen. I was an empress. – Eleanor Fitt, her empress
“It is perfectly all right to be strange. For ever after, you will be glad you did what you wanted instead of what everyone else expected. No doubt you wonder how someone as young as I can possibly know this, but trust me: I have seen more deadly, dark, and…lovely things than you can possibly imagine.” – The lovely and strange Eleanor
Strange and Ever After was the perfect ending to a brilliant trilogy. Satisfying, emotional, and magnificent, it is a book I will always treasure.
To Eleanor, Daniel, the Spirit-Hunters, and the incredible Susan Dennard who made it all possible: thank you. It’s been a pleasure.