This was my first steampunk novel, so I can't really say about it's effectiveness in that regard, but Something Strange and Deadly was fun. Peppered with mystery, adventure, romance and even zombies, Dennard has created a fast moving, entertaining read. It's hard to pick out things that were "bad" about this story, much like it's hard to say what was "excellent." It was all just light and good. Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt is our protagonist, and a very likable one at that. She's curious and brave when she needs to be. She grows as a person and learns to stand up for herself. She cares for her family and neighbors. It really is admirable. The love interest was done well. Daniel is somewhat of your typical douchebag with a heart of gold, but his shady past and cool inventions keep him from being too much of a trope. They two characters grew on me, and they grew together through the book. None of that silly all-consuming-love-at-first-sight. That always gets points from me. The plot twists and turns were just a little predictable, but still, fun. I loved the setting and felt that Dennard kept it purposefully simply. Yes it is historic and yes it is steampunk, but it's also accessible, almost superficial, though I don't mean that harshly. It was easy to delve into and makes this book a quick, one sitting sort of read. All in all, it was just what I needed to pull me out of a reading funk. It might also be suited to a rainy day, wrapped in a blanket with some coffee.