Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Rating: 4 stars
Published: July 24th 2012
There's something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia. . . .
Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about.
Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she's just read in the newspaper:
The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.
And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother.
Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she'll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.
Eleanor Fitt has two problems. One, her brother Elijah as gone missing. Two, the Dead are rising in Philadelphia. Add in the fact that the first problem may be related to the second, and it's time to call in the Spirit Hunters, who are professionals are dealing with the other-worldly.
I ended up enjoying this more than I expected to. There's an interesting clash between 19th century gender ideals and paranormal activity, as Eleanor is expected to marry rich to save the family, all while solving the mysteries of Philadelphia. It was entertaining watching Eleanor break societal norms and run off with Daniel Sheridan to deal with zombies.
Eleanor also has an enjoyable level of sass that is very much needed when fending off suitors and the undead. Her narration was certainly fun to read.
I stroked my amethysts and made my expression passive. I didn't care one white about her gossip - though I did wish she wouldn't talk about me to Clarence. I'd prefer if eligible young men learned my faults after meeting me.
She gets along swimmingly with Clarence and Daniel, the latter calling her many pretentious nicknames, like Empress. The former still pokes fun at her expense, though.
"And you can't get rid of me that easily, Miss Fitt." He lengthened his stride, a new glimmer in his eyes. "Whatever mischief you've up to, I'll be there for it. Besides, someone must ensure that you behave like a lady."
The Spirit-Hunters themselves were great - distinguishing themselves from the rest of the cast. I've been having a hard time finding books where there weren't so many characters to remember, and they were all entertaining. Joseph was charming and Jie was a spitfire of energy and a true juxtaposition to Eleanor, both having been restrained due to gender roles.
I'm looking forward to reading more adventures of Eleanor and the Spirit-Hunters!