Last week the online read-along and book club for Susan Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly began and she posed an interesting “reader discussion” question for that book as well as one for the sequel, A Darkness Strange & Lovely. Because both of these books are crazy awesome, I babbled about my thoughts last Wednesday. Today we meet again, Something Strange & Deadly book club. This is the place where I babble bookishly while quietly mourning the death of my IRL book club because of all the baby-having.
Anyway, you can see Susan’s week 2 post at her blog, where she has additional interesting information about why Victorians put bells on people’s graves and a sample of what the steamer ship in second book may have looked like in real life.
Something Strange & Deadly Discussion Question #2
Magic and ghostly elements frequent the Something Strange and Deadly series. Even though corpses do awaken from time to time and hauntings are hardly that uncommon, the people of Philadelphia seem determined to pretend the Dead are not a growing threat. Do you think that’s part of human nature? To push on and ignore the danger at our door? Or do you think Philadelphia’s ignorance—or for that matter, any ignorance/false sense of safety in modern days as well—can be pinned on politicians? Can you think of any examples where something similar happened, but rather than the Dead, it was a natural disaster/growing crime rate/etc.?
I’ve come to find that many people enjoy pretending unpleasant things don’t exist, hoping that if they look the other way someone with less to do with deal with the issue so they don’t have to. Or maybe if they ignore the issue, it will quietly shuffle away before withering up from lack of attention. I’ve never understood this mentality and adds to the growing dread I have regarding the impending zombie apocalypse. Before anyone takes it seriously, we’re pretty much going to be dead.
I think the politicians in SS&D (and in real life) don’t help matters. When you have impressionable people listening to ignorant blowhards spouting off lies like their truth and spreading ignorance, it’s a disaster waiting to explode all over everybody. It’s a large contributing factor to the strict partisanship that clogs up government and leaves people watching Fox news and believing it fact. To this day there is still a faction of people who think childhood inoculations can be tied to autism despite that the “doctor” who did the study that is always quoted as proof has been proven to be a lying phony who has no idea what he’s talking about. Rather than listen to all the other scientists who dispute the connection, a subset of parents want to believe in fake science, depending on other people to inoculate their children to prevent near extinct diseases from spreading. Instead you get a bunch of kindergarteners with ruebella.
But I’m ranting (and I didn’t even touch climate change) and it’s not even about an awesome book. So the simple answer is yes, human nature generally prefers “ignorance is bliss” and politicians don’t help.
A Darkness Strange & Lovely Discussion Question #2
Eleanor finds herself increasingly dependent on Oliver. She claims she does not trust him, yet she continues to turn to him for help and guidance. Do YOU trust him? Or do you think, were you in her shoes with Hell Hounds at your heels and Marcus not further behind, you would reject Oliver’s offers of “help?”
Oliver is a curious character. I understand Eleanor turning to him because he’s the only one with a feasible solution and the power to save her in several situations. She has no idea what’s going on and Oliver knows how to protect her at least temporarily even though he is a demon. He has his own motives for helping her and it’s heavily implied that he was in love with her brother, so there may be a sense of loyalty on his part. But I understand both Eleanor’s hesitation in trusting him after having heard all the things about demons from her friends, but having to due to the situation.
Are you participating in Susan’s book club? Link up your responses in the comments. I’d love to read them!