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.
Eleanor is waiting for her brother to return home when the “dead” alarm rings out. She scrambles to escape but a walking dead finds her and drops a message in her hand saying her brother has been delayed. Eleanor becomes frantic because she believes her brother is being held by the dead. Her mother, meanwhile, is trying to get Eleanor married off because, since her father’s death, they’ve been hemorrhaging money, but Mrs. Fitt is determined not to let their situation be known.
In an effort to find her brother, Eleanor seeks out find the Spirit Hunters, who are working with the city of Philadelphia to contain and eradicate the dead population. She gets drawn into their battle and actually has a lot to contribute, despite her background as a upper class woman/girl in the late 1800s, which, as we know, was very limiting.
Eleanor and the Spirit Hunters, Jie, Daniel, and Joseph, try to solve the mystery of who is raising the dead and why some of her brother’s classmates are dying violent deaths.
Eleanor was a pretty kick ass heroine. I loved her spirit and determination. Her love for her brother, Elijah, was pretty inspiring, too. Eleanor was brave and proactive and did not cower in the face of danger, but rather charged into the fray. Her attraction to and contentious relationship with Daniel was so much fun to witness.
This world that Dennard has created was a lot of fun and quite different than most zombie stories (especially the setting), but that is definitely what made it interesting and kept me turning pages. I’m quite anxious to get back to the story, especially since the last book is out this summer. I want to know more about Daniel and Joseph and Jie, and I want to see Eleanor kick some more ass, preferably with her parasol in her hand.