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Something Strange and Deadly Read Along Week 4 October 31, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk, Read Along.
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It’s the final week of the read along! How this month has flown by! Then end of the read along comes at a perfect time, Halloween! So Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you enjoyed this experience as much as I did.

1. On page 284, Eleanor gives the same advice to Clarence as Jie gave to her: “You always have a choice.” Eleanor has started to evolve in her thinking a little bit and become more independent. How did Clarence take these words of wisdom? How do you think it’s affecting the relationship between Eleanor and Clarence at this point in the novel?

Clarence didn’t respond to the advice very well. In fact he rejected it outright and scoffed at her.  It made their relationship very uncomfortable at that point. I don’t think either of them knew where to go from there.

2. We finally find out what’s happened to Elijah – and it’s something that puts Eleanor in a very difficult position. Why do you think Elijah chose this path? And how do you think Eleanor handled the news? What would you have done in her situation?

Oh boy. I didn’t exactly see this coming. I think Elijah had been hounded by bully’s and his father’s mad ravings gave him the motivation to seek revenge. Eleanor handled it naturally at first. She was completely horrified! After the initial shock, she handled it like a champ.

I’d like to think I’d have handled it the way Eleanor did, but it’s so hard to say. I don’t have any close siblings. I have no idea what it would be like to be anywhere in that situation. I might be in denial a little longer then Eleanor was!

3. The last quarter of this book brings us a LOT of surprises and twists. What would you say was the biggest surprise to you?

The biggest surprise was what happened to Clarence! I didn’t see that one coming!  I was shocked. I kind of did a little shout when I read about that one.

4. Now that we’ve finished with the book, what did you think? How did you feel about the book as a whole? Where do you think her story will take us in the next book?

I loved the book! Eleanor was a little annoying at times but I really liked her on the whole. I loved the rest of the characters. I thought Elijah was a bit too cardboard though.

Hopefully the next book will have Eleanor traipsing after the Spirit Hunters across the country! That’s what I’d like to see!  A reunion. I think there’s still some unfinished business between Daniel and herself. Then again, maybe she’ll come across vampires!

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Something Strange and Deadly Read Along Week 3 October 24, 2012

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It’s Week 3 of the Something Strange and Deadly Read Along! I’m really enjoying this book. I hope you all are reading along with us!

1. We’ve watched Eleanor chase after the Dead and after Daniel without hesitation. Do you perceive Eleanor as brave or foolish to act with little thought to consequence?

I see Eleanor as brave. She’s led a very sheltered life yet not only risks injury to herself but her position in society as well as her Mother’s disapproval when she gives chase. That in itself is brave. She cares about her brother Elijah so much she would do anything for him including risk all those things. I think she realizes how much she jeopardizes herself in her pursuit of him and Daniel.

2. Eleanor gets a letter from Elijah to tell her to stop searching for him – that it’s a bad idea and it’s hurting him rather than helping him. Is Eleanor in denial that her brother is working with the necromancer? Or do you think the necromancer is threatening Elijah now that he knows Eleanor is searching for him? 

I’m afraid that Elijah is working with the necromancer. That’s my fear. It’s my hope that he isn’t.

3. We find out the history of Daniel Sheridan in these chapters and that he has quite an interesting connection to the Fitt family that Eleanor never knew about. Were you surprised to find out Daniel’s history in Philadelphia? If you were Eleanor, how would you have taken the news?

I was very surprised to find out more about Daniel’s history. I thought he had a personal history with Clarence not with the Fitt family. My initial reaction would have been to be much angrier then Eleanor. In the end, I would have forgiven him. After all he was manipulated by much older men who had vaster resources.

4. We also find out the real story of the Wilcoxes and that both Clarence and his father have a major connection to the Fitts also. We’re clearly getting closer to solving some of the mysteries that have been building up in the story. What do you make of this connection? How do you think this will affect the climax of the book??

The connection between the Fitts and the Wilcoxes should play a big role in the climax. I think it’s extremely important. I knew I couldn’t trust Clarence! He’s going to be a major role player in the end and it’s not going to be good. His true character is showing.

That’s it for this week’s Read Along questions! See you back here next week for the finish!

Something Strange and Deadly Read Along Week 2 October 17, 2012

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It’s Week 2 of the Something Strange and Deadly Read Along! I’m on time with my questions this week!

1. On page 101, Eleanor is reading Elijah’s letter where he mentions the mysterious Gas Ring and how once they see their errors, “Father will be most proud” – Eleanor corrects the tense by saying he would have been proud, not will be and that Elijah never got used to referring to their father in the past tense once he passed away. What do you make of this “mistake”? Is there more to this mistake than Eleanor realizes or was it just an innocent oversight?

I’m not sure what to make of this. At first I thought that “Oh wow! This could be big!” I thought maybe the necromancer was actually Eleanor and Elijah’s father. Except he was a supplier by trade. I’m not sure that makes him into a necromancer. I guess I’ll have to read on before I find out whether or not that has any real significance.

2. We first hear about the grimoires in this section which Jie explains are books of black magic. What roles do you think these books will play in the story? Since Elijah has clearly involved with grimoires, do you think it’s for the side of good or the side of evil?

The grimoires seemed to be a big clue to something. I’m just not sure what. I just feel like I need a little more information before I can really figure out what their deal is.

Elijah probably started studying grimoires with the best of intentions but he might have ended up with a hot mess on his hands. In other words, he might have knowledge that lands on this side of evil. That might be what got him into trouble.

3. We start to question a lot of Clarence’s actions at motives in this section of chapters. Do you think he has it in for the Spirit-Hunters? Why does Daniel warn Eleanor against him, and what business does he have with Peger?

Clarence is obviously no friend to the Spirit-Hunters. I honestly have no idea why Daniel warned Eleanor away from Clarence. I do think that Clarence is using Peger to monitor the Spirit-Hunters activities and whereabouts though.

4. Eleanor and Jie discuss the roles and limited freedoms of women, especially regarding clothes and “proper behavior”. We know that Jie has been disguising herself as a boy so she will not have to abide by the silly rules that women are supposed to follow. When asked, Eleanor says that she has no choice but to obey, and Jie tells her “You always have a choice” (p166). We’ve come along way since Eleanor’s time in the nineteenth century, but do you think certain “rules” like these still exist? Women and men are equal in today’s Western societies, but are there any “norms” that women are still restricted from that men have full freedom to pursue?

I don’t think women and men are equal in today’s society. I think that there’s still a prevalent prejudice that women ultimately want children and marriage over a career and/or a single life. Women have the freedom to pursue a career and a single life, but the expectation to have children and to get married is still there.

4. Chapter 14 ends with quite the cliffhanger! What do you think this spirit is all about? Do you think it’s connected to the Dead at all or is this a separate entity? Why is it specifically connected with Eleanor?

I think it might be a separte entity that isn’t connected to the dead. Maybe it’s her father or maybe it’s Elijah. I’m not sure. There are so many ways this could go. This is why this is such a good book. The mystery is so good!

Those are my answers to this week’s questions! See you here next week!

Something Strange and Deadly Read Along – Week 1 October 14, 2012

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It’s time for the first week of questions for the read along. I’m actually late for it. I’ll try to be more timely next week!

Week 1 Questions:

Character impressions: Clarence
What are your first impressions of Clarence? Does he seem like a trustworthy person, or is he hiding ulterior motives behind good looks?

I think he’s too polished for me. I don’t trust him at all. It also seems like he’s trying too hard to charm Eleanor. He’s obviously hiding something and I don’t think it’s something good. I can never trust a character that’s all charm and good looks.

Character impressions: Eleanor Fitt
What are your first impressions of Eleanor? It seems like her mother always wants to put her family’s reputation above all else. How do you think Eleanor feels about this?

I thought Eleanor was very brave and resourceful. She withstood the Dead attack very well, but I don’t like the way she sways under her mother’s thumb. I wish she’d stand up to her mother a bit more. I think she feels that she needs to carry the weight of the family’s reputation and the family’s fortune on her shoulders. That’s too much responsibility for one girl.

Character impressions: Daniel
Daniel is quite brash with Eleanor when they first meet in the Spirit-Hunter’s lab. Do you see potential for a friendship? For a romance?

Daniel is everything Eleanor isn’t. He’s lower class and he’s uncultured. The way the two clashed made me think that they were bound for an opposites attract type of relationship. I can just see the set up for that.

1. Mrs. Fitt decides to hold a seance as a last minute fill-in for the party’s entertainment. How would you feel about this if you were a guest at the party? Do you think that’s wise with the Dead running around?

I thought she was crazy! With all that psychic energy running around? To hold a seance? Maybe she thought that nothing would happen but it was extremely foolish and I would have stopped her. I would have literally shook some sense into that silly woman. All she could think of was impressing her guests and she had no thought to the consequences.

2. Eleanor lives with only her mother and the live-in help since her father passed away and her brother is in New York and possibly taken by the Dead. I feel like the absent family member – especially a parent – is a theme I see a lot in YA novels. Why do you think that is? What aspect does this add to the story?

I think divorce is common these days and I think that authors try to address that in books these days. I think authors try to help young adults not only relate to the characters their portraying in their books, but also to cope with their situations.

3. We first see the steampunk feel when Eleanor wanders into the Centennial Exhibition to find the Spirit-Hunters. What do you think of machines and science fighting the zombies and paranormal?

I love machines and science joining the fight! I think it adds a new dimension to a story. I think we’ve seen it in other stories with vampires and werewolves, but I don’t remember it with zombies.

4. What do you think really happened to Elijah? Do you think he was captured by the Dead, or are there more secrets hidden behind his disappearance?

I do think there is more to the mystery then there appears to the naked eye. I have a sneaking suspicion that Clarence has something to do with it one way or another but we’ll have to see how that plays out. I’m eager to see if my hunch rings true th0ugh!

That’s it for this week’s read along questions! I hope you enjoyed it. Next week we’ll be reading Chapters 8-14 (through page 178). I hope to see on Wednesday (Oct 17th.)!