by Susan Dennard
Amazon / Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. And when she discovers that the Dead are rising in Philadelphia and wreaking havoc throughout the city, she knows that her brother is involved.
So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been reanimating corpses. Their skills can save her brother. But as Eleanor spends time with the Spirit-Hunters, and their handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. Now not only is her reputation at risk, but her very life may hang in the balance.
In Something Strange and Deadly, the first book in a trilogy, Susan Dennard weaves together vividly imagined scenes of action, adventure, and gorgeous Victorian fashion to create an entertaining steampunk tapestry of humor, horror, and romance. Readers who love Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series will be intrigued from the start.
Review:It's taken me awhile to pick up this book because I'm really not a fan of zombie stories, but being a fan of Susan Dennard now, I had to try this one out. And I'm so happy to find that the zombie aspect didn't bother me because was on the characters and the villains of the story were not really the zombies, but the necromancer. So the story felt full of more danger and higher stakes than a story with just zombies out to get you.
There's some mystery too because it's not clear why the Dead are rising, and what the necromancer's purpose is. Eleanor is forced to find out why when she finds out her brother is being held by them, and that suspenseful aspect of how Eleanor can save her brother, made this an even more engaging read. And then enter The Spirit Hunters. A group of three very different, eclectically matched people who are trying their best to solve the problem of the Dead, with a lot of distrust and ill will surrounding them. The whole group are underdogs and it's always great to root for underdogs.
While the story seemed at first more fun and adventurous with a side of the Dead being chopped up, the story progressively got darker as the stakes were raised, and that building of peril made this story really stand out for me. As well as this story being an examination of how Eleanor, a woman constricted by society, can realize her own independence. The romance aspect, with prickly Daniel, was so sweet as well - just enough to make you want more, but it never overpowers the main issue in the story, which is how to keep the Dead from taking over.
This is a wonderful read, with humor, suspense, romance, and a dash of adventure. I look forward to reading more about Eleanor and the Spirit Hunters.