Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Jett is wandering the Old West, in search of her brother who was lost during the Civil War. But to keep safe out on her own, she disguises herself as a young man. When she enters this latest town, Jett is expecting trouble, but not an army of invading zombies. Jett manages to escape and happens upon Honoria Gibbons, an eccentric young female inventor, and White Fox, a white man raised in a Native American tribe. Gibbons and White Fox don’t really believe her account, but help her investigate anyway. And when they witness the zombie horde the next night, they realize the mindless undead are being controlled by someone – a madman with a dark purpose.

Jett is the central character, and most of the suspense is built around her and her point of view. Both Jett and Honoria Gibbons are fun characters who reject the stereotypical woman’s role of the time period. Jett thinks she has no choice but to pretend to be a young man in order to get by on her own. And Gibbons has obviously been given more freedom to be who she wants to be, regardless of what others think. And while White Fox has an interesting backstory, he takes a backseat to the strong female characters.

Lackey and Edghill have created a fun and unique mash-up of Western, zombie and steampunk that I was excited to get my hands on. And I wasn’t disappointed in the least. As with most zombie novels, there is plenty of heart pounding and intense suspense. Though, the gore and violence was certainly minimal in this story marketed for young adults. Instead, the story focuses more on mystery and adventure – which I thoroughly enjoyed. Solid characters, a clever genre blend, and a fast-paced intriguing story made Dead Reckoning irresistible.

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