Summary from Amazon:
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 has been on my TBR list since before it was released. I was so intrigued by the whole concept, zombies in 1800s Philadelphia. Umm , yes, please! I did put it off, though, because I was sort of expecting it to be a slower read. I don’t mean a book that is boring, or a slow story, just a book that would take longer to read. I guess I was expecting it to be super descriptive, and that it would take a little bit for the story to get going. But, you guys, I was totally wrong. I was hooked from page one.
From the first page, the action is there. There isn’t really a huge info dump first chapter, and I loved that. But even without the info dump, Dennard makes it easy to understand what this world is like. Speaking of the setting – it’s sent in the 1870s in Philadelphia – except the dead have risen, and there’s a bit of a panic going on. And into this setting, Eleanor is searching for her missing older brother. Oh, and did I mention that Eleannor’s mama has accidentally conjured up a ghost? And to top off Eleanor’s worry about her missing brother, her family is seriously low on funds.
Eleanor is really an awesome main character. I loved seeing her growth throughout the whole story. She’s a lady of society, so she’s got quite a lot of restrictions on her, and yet she still does what she thinks is right.
Eleanor is definitely the sole main character of Something Strange and Deadly, but Dennard infuses her story with wonderful, well-developed secondary characters. I particularly adored Daniel. Daniel is one of a few Spirit-Hunters, trying to figure out and solve the mystery of the rising dead. He’s got a temper, although he isn’t really mean. He’s not afraid to express his opinion, even though he’s not really respected.
As I mentioned above, this novel starts with a bang. But I did feel like it dragged a little bit towards the middle. I never really got bored, or contemplated putting the book down, but I did get a little impatient. Another small issue was that it was really easy to figure out the mystery, and to guess what would happen next.
Something Strange and Deadly was such a fun read. I love the setting, the characters, and the story. Even knowing who the baddie was, I still enjoyed this one immensely. If you haven’t read this one, seriously give it a try.