"Real love isn't about drama or heartbreak. Real love just is."
Like its predecessor, A Darkness Strange and Lovely takes a fun spin on the Victorian Era and its cast of characters is diverse and well rounded. New characters are introduced, including (but not limited to) Oliver, Laure, and Madam Marineaux. Of course, we still get to see the characters we've already fell in love with (except for the ones who are dead.)
I'll admit, I was a bit nervous and quite suspicious about all the new characters-- especially Oliver. Heck, the synopsis was the first thing that made me overly suspicious of everything, but I eventually couldn't help but fall in love with Oliver. My love of his character did not lessen my suspicion of him. He obviously has some motives that he isn't revealing to Eleanor-- then again, it would seem that almost everyone in this book seems to have different motives.
Here's the synopsis for A Darkness Strange and Lovely.
Perfect for fans of Libba Bray's The Diviners and Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices series, this spellbinding sequel to Something Strange and Deadly delivers a mix of supernatural forces and intense romance, set against the enchanting backdrop of nineteenth-century Paris.
With her brother dead and her mother insane, Eleanor Fitt is alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor hears the vicious barking of hounds and sees haunting yellow eyes, she fears that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are after her.
To escape, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. But Oliver harbors a dangerous secret involving necromancy and black magic that entices Eleanor beyond words. If she can resist him, she'll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over, and there's a whole new evil lurking. And she is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.
In Paris, there's a price for this darkness strange and lovely, and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.
After reading that, how could you not feel suspicious about Oliver?
Anyway, this book was not quite as good as the first, in my opinion. It was still a brilliant story, but I preferred the first for a few reasons. It, like the first book, was pretty predictable. The foreshadowing was more like forelighting, but there were a few red herrings in there to throw the reader off, which I enjoyed.
Something that really felt annoying to me in this book was the romance. While the romance taking a back seat in the first book was the right decision and made the bit of romance that we did get all the better, the romance in this book took a back-back-back seat. And then the bits we did get felt a bit rushed and a little forced. We don't even get to see Daniel until about halfway through the book, and then there aren't an overwhelming number of scenes containing him after that either. I was especially disappointed about the amount of romance in this book because while I waited for it to come in the mail I read the e-book-- A Dawn Most Wicked, which is all about Daniel and his first love. Plus it adds Daniel's perspective on the final scene between him and Eleanor in Something Strange and Deadly. AH. THE FEELS ON THAT MADE ME SO HAPPY. And that built up my expectations for the romance in this novel a little too much, I think, as well. What I was expecting-- an angsty romance feel because Daniel rejected her in the last book and stuff. What I got-- almost immediately back to lovey a little too quick for my liking. Eh. Maybe it's just because I like a little angst in my romances. I don't mind not having the angst, but I would've liked to see more of the romance before it just kinda returned back to actual romance. It's like Daniel decided he wasn't good enough in the last book but in this one he was like lol jk I'm just gonna go for it. Basically it made the ending of the last book feel a little pointless.
My biggest complaint about the last two books in this trilogy would have to be the antagonist. For me, Marcus does not seem to be the best antagonist. Maybe it's just because I've been spoiled with really good antagonists, but I just didn't actually care about the Marcus thing. Why? I think the reason is because we don't really know Marcus. Sure, we know he wants to destroy Joseph because Joesph "betrayed" him, but we never really get to meet him at all except in the fight scenes. Actually, (slight spoiler) we see Marcus basically once in the entire second book, and that was just in the beginning. The whole not knowing the antagonist thing in the first book worked because it was supposed to be a mystery (a really obvious mystery, but a mystery). And then when you do meet the antagonist (Elijah) you realize that you actually do know him, his personality, his motivations and all that because Eleanor talked/ thought about him a lot previous to finding out he was the necromancer. Marcus? We don't know him. The best antagonists are the ones you really know and can ever feel for a bit. Marcus is just a giant looming threat, which makes the conflict against him an unengrossing one.
All in all, I would give a Darkness Strange and Lovely 7.5/10 stars. It wasn't quite as good as the first book, but I did still quite enjoy it. Fun story. It was supposed to come in the mail on Thursday, which turned out to be a really bad day for me. The only thing I was looking forward to was getting the book and immediately starting. The package was here by the time I got home, and I excitedly ripped it open... To find the third book (which I had also ordered) but not the second. The second's shipping had gotten delayed and would arrive Friday. That was a heart crushing disappointment for me, and being the impatient girl I am, I bought it on kindle and finished it Thursday. (I actually almost finished the third book Thursday as well.) While, for me, neither the third nor the second book quite live up to the first, they're both quite captivating and exciting. I highly still highly recommend reading them.