Philadelphia 1876. The Dead are rising. A zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor Fitt. Whoever controls the Dead Army has her brother. She avoids her mother’s choice of husband for the lab of Spirit Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel. The situation threatens her reputation, and the lives of everyone in the city.
There wasn’t anything that really grabbed me as deep and meaningful in this book, but it was utterly enjoyable. I loved Eleanor; her fierceness, bravery, rashness, and complete acceptance of herself as a black sheep.
The historic aspect of this I felt was pretty lax, it was more steampunk, but I wasn’t too bothered by all of that. The story was interesting, fun, and I loved the ending. Dennard certainly has a way with words, the individual personalities of each character were extremely clear, the banter effortless and amusing, and the pace done really well. And while I had suspicions of the twists of the story, I wasn’t completely sure, so it was a nice surprise when I was proven right in my hunches.
I liked the relationships between Eleanor and the other characters, especially Daniel and Jie. She and Daniel are begrudging allies, and as they get to know each other it’s clear how deep their bond goes. I thought the short story from Daniel’s perspective really added to their relationship too, he hides his inner workings pretty well so it was fun to hear his own feelings. Jie is a bad ass, she’s so entertaining and goes against so many female stereotypes. I also loved every characters devotion to doing the morally correct thing – they all have a strong sense of right and wrong, and they trust that part of themselves completely.
As I said, my favorite aspect of this story, was the ending. After all that Eleanor has been through emotionally and physically – she’s pretty broken – she doesn’t let herself sink into despair but forces herself to move forward to take care of her mother and keep herself aware of the changes happening around her. I’m interested to see how long her strength holds though, eventually everyone breaks.