Source: Publisher provided through Edelweiss
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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.
Something Strange and Deadly was an easy sell for me. I love anything remotely period, steampunk or not, though steampunk never hurts my feelings, and zombies are like candy to me. Generally I like my zombies to be as disgusting as possible, mindlessly searching for their food, popping up when they're least expected, eating the man next to you's brains. These were not THOSE kind of zombies, much to my chagrin, but after getting over that realization, Something Strange and Deadly was a very good read.
We follow Eleanor Fitt (of the Philadelphia Fitts, thank you!) as she becomes embroiled in the ever growing scourge of Philadelphia, the walking dead. On the day her beloved brother, Elijah, is to return to town, a message is delivered to her, in the hands of a zombie, telling her that he has been taken hostage by the necromancer controlling the dead and that she should stop looking for him. As a fine lady of society, Eleanor should do as the note says, and worry about Elijah from the comfort of her sitting room. BUT, Eleanor is not your typical proper lady. Instead, she takes up with the Spirit-Hunters, a questionable group in town to help them be rid of the zombies, and ends up getting caught right in the middle of the action, also catching the eye of their resident inventor, Daniel, a most unsuitable match.
Like I've said, Eleanor is not much like the girls of the time. All for the sake of her brother she ruins several dresses, bashes in a few zombie legs, and even dresses up like a man on a few occasions. She's a go getter and really just does what needs to be done without really relying on anyone else, let alone a man, to help her.
I did call the big twists rather early on in the book, something I'm never too happy about doing, but that didn't really detract from my enjoyment, especially in the end when EVERYTHING IS GOING DOWN. I like endings like that. :) You're on the edge of your seat, just waiting for the next big thing to happen. (It always so happens that someone calls me or I have to do something right at that moment. Boo.)
Aside from the non-gruesome zombies and the decently easy to pick apart plot, I really enjoyed Something Strange and Deadly. Eleanor and all of her supporting characters were fascinating (especially Jie! More of her please!) I'm definitely looking forward to the follow up.
Risk a paper cut? Personally, I'm a sucker for zombies, especially in a period setting. Nothing is more enjoyable. Oh! You're the same? You'll like it. :)