First Lines: “Dead!” a woman screamed. “It’s the Dead!” My heart shot into my throat, and shocked cries rippled through the station.
This was on my to-read list for a while. And I passed it up in the library at least four times because my arms were already full of other books or I was like, “I’ll see what else is here and come back to this if I can’t find anything else.” And knowing me, I found other things or I forgot about this one. But last time I was in, I finally grabbed it.
Eleanor comes from a relatively wealthy Philadelphia family, but that doesn’t mean she’s worry-free. She’s not. Her brother, Elijah, has gone missing on his return from studying abroad. Her family is about out of money, and her mother is determined to marry Eleanor off to the first rich man who looks her way. But there’s even worse news out there: the Dead have come to Philadelphia. Eleanor knows that whoever is controlling the Dead must have also taken her brother. If she wants to save Elijah, she’s going to need help from a group called Spirit-Hunters, who have been hired to protect the city. The more time she spends with the group (and the frustrating Daniel), the more dangerous life gets. Because not only is Eleanor risking her reputation by associating with the Spirit-Hunters, she may well be risking her life.
In case you didn’t figure it out, the Dead are zombies. This is a zombie story, and kind of a steampunk as well. It’s also a historical fiction because it takes place in 1876, Philadelphia. I had to figure out the year the hard way by putting clues together for the first quarter or third of the book before getting a concrete date. I’ll just help you guys out and tell you this.
I didn’t know how I’d feel about this book, after just having finished a creepy ghost story. But this was actually really great. The action kicks right off, as you can kind of tell with the opening lines. Eleanor’s a very strong female lead. Very strong. And while I really liked that, I also kind of wish there was an opposite in the story. Like, Eleanor is constantly breaking the rules and strong, but I thought the story would be stronger if there was another strong female character in the story who followed the rules and still got things done. It made it a little hard for me to understand why this was a historical fiction if Eleanor was going act pretty much like women do today.
There’s a lot of other interesting aspects to the story as well. The mystery behind what happened to Elijah drives the story really well, but there’s also some politics in the story that mess with Eleanor’s plans and surprise twists every now and then.
I respected this story a lot more when I reached the end and saw something that I’ve only seen one other time in books that I can recall. Dennard doesn’t mince words. This story can be gory at times, so if that bothers you, proceed with caution. But it’s not too bad. Just when the Dead show up. I’m really excited to see where the sequel goes.