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.
Zombies, the Victorian age, Spirit Hunters and Necromancers, oh my! The storyline is a creative take on zombies with a bit of Steampunk meets Ghost Hunters. I say a bit because the Steampunk isn’t overt and the storyline leans more to the spiritual/magic side rather than the technological side. The zombies aren’t your typical walking dead. These are animated corpses brought back and controlled by those with an innate handle on spiritual energy. That power in in itself is dark and easily abused. Tapping into it is dangerous and it’s the job of a crew of Spirit Hunters to sniff out the ones using it and stop them from harming others.
Eleanor Fitz is 16 years old and lives with her mother in Philadelphia. Her family has been in a precarious financial situation since her father’s death and her brother who she’s close to has disappeared. On top of the pressure of her mother trying to find her a suitable match for a husband so she can help dig her family out of their financial mess she’s worrying about her brother and the undead that are rising in Philadelphia. Eleanor believes that the mysterious Necromancer who is raising the dead in Philadelphia is the same person holding her brother Elijah hostage. Unable to find him herself she turns to a crew of Spirit Hunters for help.
The storyline focuses more on the development of the relationships and the growth of the characters as they face the onset of zombie attacks happening in Philadelphia. Eleanor is a feisty and likeable character. She’s determined, adventurous and doesn’t hold back her emotions or opinions. If you’re looking for a full on zombie fest this book won’t appeal to you. It’s less about the zombies and more about the mystery of who has animated the corpses and why they are doing it. The big bad scary isn’t the zombies, it’s the Necromancers. The mystery surrounding the Necromancer is what makes the story interesting. I would have enjoyed a bit more action and bigger fight scenes with the zombies but I figure that’s all being saved up for the other books.