Book One of the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy
By Susan Dennard
Available now from Harper Teen (Harper Collins)
The reviews I've read of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY have been mixed, but I absolutely loved it. It's the Centennial in Philadelphia and the Dead are walking the streets. Eleanor Fitt paid the newspaper stories little mind until one of the Dead gives her a letter from her brother. Determined to help Elijah, she goes to the Spirit-Hunters. Turns out Eleanor has a talent for kneecapping the Dead with her ever-present parasol. (She is, after all, a Victorian lady.)
For all that SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY is a story about zombies, the setting has a lot of life in it. Eleanor ignores many of the rules she's supposed to follow, and she's often very aware that she's risking her reputation. But there are some things she considers more important than her reputation, and she's broke anyways. It's not like she had many choices before her brother was kidnapped by a necromancer.
The romance is light but sweet. There's a brief moment when SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY looks like it's heading for a love triangle, but fortunately that's averted. (I did like Clarence, Eleanor's never-had-a-chance suitor, but it's just so nice not to have a love triangle.) Daniel, resident inventor for the Spirit-Hunters, has great chemistry with Eleanor. Their banter is pretty amusing.
But honestly, there's a pretty easy test to see if you'll like SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY. Do you want to read about zombies running amok in Victorian times? Then yes, you should read this one.
I'm definitely going to be back for the second book in the trilogy. I'm curious about where Susan Dennard will take her heroine next, because SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY functions just fine as a standalone novel. (Big cheer!) I've heard rumors that it's set in Paris, which definitely sounds dandy.