ARC received by Harper Collins via Edelweiss
Release Date: 7-24-2012
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Macabre, Menacing, and Magical
The year is 1876, and 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 their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.
I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book because I had never read any other zombie book.
I really enjoyed most of the book--it was refreshing and dramatic. Susan's world leapt off the page, and her stunning prose made me feel like I was right there with Eleanor as she worried for her brother, fought her incorrigible mother, and distressed over her feelings for Daniel and Clarence. Eleanor is snarky (even though its 1896) and she doesn't back down from a fight. She struggles to find her place in society and amongst her friends, and I really felt for her as she dug herself deeper and deeper into the macabre world of the spirit hunters. Eleanor was a great heroine--strong and capable, but not stupid. There were times when you could feel her terror, and I respected her because she tried to overcomes her fears. I really admired how Susan presented Eleanor's strengths and weaknesses--all of which built a great heroine.
Now...the 2 guys: Daniel and Clarence. They are complete opposites. Clarence is the smart, handsome, and rich family friend that is exactly the kind of man Eleanor should want to marry--only Clarence has a few secrets that Eleanor is determined to unmask before she believes any of his affections. Clarence is veiled in a mask of secrecy and learning his past is one of the most interesting parts of the book. And then there's Daniel, the ruggedly handsome lower class spirit hunter that is considered to be "filthy" by Eleanor's mother--only Eleanor finds herself dismissing her mother's concerns and developing some sort of feelings for the rugged man. However, just like Clarence, he is harboring secrets of his own. Who can Eleanor trust? Can she trust either of these two handsome devils?
Susan creates dynamic and irresitible characters that you just can help but feel tied to.
I hate to say this, but I wasn't a huge fan of the ending. I'm not going to say any more because it would be way too spoilery. I think many people will enjoy the ending, and maybe this is just the way zombie books are--but I just found myself saying, "What? Why???" Then, I might have shed a tear. I am looking forward to the next one to see what happens with Eleanor and Daniel!
Now with that...let me answer a few questions:
Am I glad I read it? Yes. I needed to be introduced to the zombie sub-genre, and I really did enjoy the book right up until the end.
Would I recommend it to anyone? Yes because I think quite a few people will enjoy that Susan Dennard has no hesitations in smacking your expectations in the face.
What would I change? Even though it's 1896 and there are reasons for it--I wanted more romance!!!!! Eleanor thrusts her fist as society in every other way--why not add a little more steam?
So...I will leave you with this. Read it and see for yourself--if anything, you will see a world that's new and different. And I'm hoping the sequel will end with me saying, "Yeah!" instead of "What?"