Zombies don't bother me. Rotting corpses, vivid descriptions of how to take them out (go for the knees!) , and the smell has never been something that upset my sensibilities. They have also never excited me like other paranormal baddies. They have just never interested me. Don't get me wrong, I know as much about them as the next girl; enough to be ready for the impending zombie apocalypse. But if there were a fight over two books and one had zombies and the other had ghosts/vampires/werewolves/fae/insert other paranormal creature here, I would almost always chose the other book. But I won this one through an ARC Tour on H. D. Dodson's blog, so I thought I would give it a shot.And I am glad I did. First off, and I don't usually mention it because more often than not I read ebooks, but the cover is great! It is simple, but something about it mesmerizes me. A girl in a beautiful black gown, staring straight at you, which is creepy. Standing in front of an apparently dead tree. Erie and wonderful.And the story, while mostly predictable, was still quite a bit of fun to follow. I was constantly frustrated for Eleanor, with all the limitations her mother and society placed on her. SO GLAD I didn't live back then. Even without the Dead. I would have been miserable. Though I would probably have been a servant, so I wouldn't have to worry as much about my reputation.Eleanor was a bit dense sometimes, but it fit with the way her character was raised, so while she frustrated me, it was understandable. I still wanted to smack her a time or two. And for some reason everyone feels they can tell her everything. This girl is so full of secrets I am afraid she might burst. Clarence, the wealthy bachelor, pretends to woo her to get her to keep her mouth shut. He has secret dealings that she catches glimpses of, so he is basically bribing her to keep her mouth shut. Jie tells her part of Joseph's history, even though it doesn't really affect anything. Then later when it comes up, he doesn't question how Eleanor knows.The Spirit-Hunters are an odd bunch. Joseph, their leader, is Creole, and a Negro to boot. Which makes life for him very difficulty. And I am not sure if I missed it, but the fact that he was colored was not mentioned until late in the book. It would have made things make so much more sense, with all the trouble the city was giving him, had it been mentioned early on. Eleanor never seemed to notice. Despite all the roadblocks he encounters, he has such a good heart. He is always trying to save the people who are making his life and job more difficult. I love him. Jie, whose description made her seem younger than Eleanor, turned out to actually be her age, or a little older. I had a hard time seeing her as any older than 12. She is probably my favorite character in this book. She is awesome. And she can do anything. She is way to smart for her own good. And Daniel ...Daniel gets his own paragraph. I could tell from their first meeting where he was incredibly rude, that he would be a love interest. That is typical in a YA. He of course has a horrific past that he tries to keep hidden, but does eventually come out. There are things Eleanor learns that she has to come to terms with. She finds it in her heart to forgive him, actually, she never hates him, and waits until she hears his side of the story to come to her own conclusion. She does not instantly love him. I love that he calls her Princess, then Empress. It made me grin.Now I feel like I have been rambling, so I will wrap it up. I liked the story, the characters, and the fact that while there wasn't a cliffhanger per se, but things were not wrapped up in a pretty little bow. It was predictable, and followed what seems to be the typical YA template. I do plan on reading a sequel, if there is one. I hope there is one. This is a story I would like to see continued. Great debut novel Ms. Dennard. And thanks to Holly for hosting this tour, and I am glad I was able to participate!