First off, if you haven’t yet participated in the Epic Reads discussions, I urge you to! They have lots of awesome conversations going on about Something Strange & Deadly. 🙂

Second, if you missed our FINAL DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (plus the chance to win a signed copy of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas), head here.

As hard as this might be to believe, Chapter 19 happens to be my favorite chapter in A Darkness Strange & Lovely. Yep, that’s right–it’s the EXACT same chapter number as my favorite in Something Strange & Deadly. And it’s not that I don’t love all the other chapters in book 2, but I had a massive case of writer’s block right before Chapter 19 in ADS&L. After days of pulling out my hair, the light finally burst through the clouds…and chapter 19 all the way to the end just poured out of me.

So, if you’ve read A Darkness Strange & Lovely or are reading it now, be sure to remember that when you read chapter 19. 😉

BUT, since I know many of you wonderful readers haven’t yet read A Darkness Strange & Lovely, much less read Chapter 19, I didn’t want to spoil those scenes with a playlist breakdown. Instead, I thought I’d share a playlist that goes with the opening scenes of A Darkness Strange & Lovely.

Nothing to spoilery here. 😉

First, I’ll share the actual playlist so you can listen, and then I’ll break down which piece I associate with which pages. AND, I’ve got the first 85 pages of the book embedded below that so you can listen and read along. 🙂 Enjoy!

1. “Calliope” by Robert Bennet. First of all this music is beautiful–the gentle opening and general happy-yet-aching feel to it really tugs at my heartstrings. I can easily imagine Eleanor at the post office on a bustling Philadelphia morning just as a letter from Paris has arrived. At the 0:50 mark, Eleanor has taken the letter into the shadow of a storefront and is reading Jie’s words. At the 1:12 mark, she reads about Daniel, her gut tightens, yet she forces herself to keep reading…Only to then reach his own little scribbled message. Her her stomach twists harder and harder, until Mercy and Patience Cook abruptly interrupt her thoughts… (p. 1-6)

2. “Concealed Weapons Tango” by Paul Haslinger, from The Three Musketeers. I love the way the title–“Concealed Weapons Tango”–really reflects what’s happening in this scene. Patience is wielding every snarky comment she can conjure under the facade of good manners, and Eleanor is just left with her mouth falling wider and wider. Then, at the 0:41 mark, Mercy manages to drag Patience away, and Eleanor is left to gape in the store window and try to gather her emotions back in control. (p. 6-10)

3. “Welcome to Fright Night” by Ramin Djawadi, from Fright Night. Eleanor struts away from the bank, only to feel a weird tingling all over–like electricity in the air. She recognizes the sensation of Dead nearby, and then at the 0:19 mark, pain scorches up her arm and a wild wind rises. Then hounds begin to howl at 0:33. Yet as Eleanor frantically searches for the source of this clearly magical wind and pain, her eyes land on yellow eyes glowing from a nearby shadow. Marcus. But when the door to the bank swings open at the 0:53 mark, Eleanor is briefly distracted–and suddenly all the baying hounds and violent wind break off. And the yellow eyes are gone. In a panic, Eleanor flees downtown and heads for home. (p. 10-12)

4. “The Tomb Raider” by Jason Graves, from Tomb Raider. As Eleanor races through Philadelphia and hops a streetcar home, she runs through her plans to leave the city. She was prepared for a possible quick escape, and now she clearly would have to follow through. At 0:35, Eleanor finally pushes into her house, shouting for Mary to gather her things–only to find after the 0:47 mark that Allison Wilcox has called on her… (p. 12-14)

5. “Swordplay” by Harry Gregson-Williams, from Kingdom of Heaven. This music really goes well with the intensity and heartbreak that wraps around Eleanor’s conversations with Allison. She has no choice but to explain to Allison–as quickly as possible–what happened to Clarence the night he died. I can just see Eleanor sliding into Allison’s carriage at the 0:46 point, answering more questions about Elijah. There’s an underlying beat there that could easily be Eleanor’s pounding pulse. At the 1:08 mark, when the beautiful chorus comes in, Eleanor and Allison reach the grounds of the asylum where Mama is living. Eleanor is impatient with Allison, her temper finally letting loose, but then, at the 1:27 mark, they hear Mama scream–and they set off at a run. By the end of the piece, they see Mama by the low fountain, struggling with the uniformed nurses of the asylum–and screaming that her son is still alive. (p. 15-26)

6. “Mercy in Darkness” by Two Steps from Hell. I LOVE the dark, hollow feel in this piece. Mama is screaming at Eleanor, claiming Elijah still lives, and Eleanor’s entire world is collapsing around her. She realizes Marcus has not only returned, but he has found Mama–and the only people who can help her are an ocean away, in Paris. Her mother thinks she’s a monster; Allison knows she’s a monster; and she really has absolutely nothing left for her in Philadelphia. The rug has been yanked out from beneath her. (p. 27-31)

7. “Anastasia” by A Silent Film. This song isn’t so much associated with a scene as it is the ENTIRE opening of A Darkness Strange & Lovely. The lyrics and overall angst of this piece is so, so, so perfect for Eleanor:

Do you remember what you wanted to be?
Do you remember how you use to feel?
Now you’re pushed and shoved and made to fit the mould
Like a rounded peg, you’re forced in a square hole
Run away now, Anastasia
And don’t regret a thing
Run away now, Anastasia
You won’t regret a thing
We use to talk about the consequences of love
And you use to move without surrender between the creaky bows
Where innocence is swept into the cold
You’re a rounded peg but you’re forced in square hole
Ask yourself, is this what you wanted?
Ask yourself, is this what you want?
Leave it all and go

And now, as promised, I’ve got the first 85 pages of A Darkness Strange & Lovely for you to read!

A Darkness Strange and Lovely

Well, I hope you all enjoyed listening and/or reading! And if you missed our LAST WEEK’S discussion questions, be sure to check them out here! And stop by the Epic Reads forum for some really awesome discussions.

Happy listening!

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