Charlie has been living on the streets as a 13 year old boy for the past five years. Five years before, she’d discovered a terrible power she had: she could raise people from the dead. Her father, horrified when she’d accidentally raised her recently deceased mother, had kicked her out of the house. Charlie’s only way to survive was to disguise herself and become a thief on the streets. She’s known as “Fleet Footed Charlie” and is one of the fastest boys out there.
Until the day she’s caught and thrown in a holding cell with some dangerous men. When one is killed trying defend her, Charlie has no choice but the raise his spirit and use him to escape. That, however, brings her on the radar of the Ministry of Curiosities and Lincoln Fitzroy, who will stop at nothing to secure both her and the girl, Charlotte Holloway, under the guise of protection. The only problem is, Charlie is Charlotte Holloway, and she doesn’t trust her captors with that information.
Fitzroy says he’s on the trail of a dangerous madman who wants to use Charlie and Charlotte to raise an army of dead. But is he any less dangerous than the madman? Or is he and the Ministry even worse?
I loved this book so much. First off, it has my favorite trope every, Sweet Polly Oliver, where a girl disguises herself as a boy and lives successfully as one until she’s accidentally discovered. And this book does that so well. It draws out that moment of discovery until it’s sweet torture and you don’t know if you want it to continue or want the discovery to happen. And then, it delivers and it’s wonderful.
Charlie is an amazing character, too. She’s smart, funny, vulnerable, and charming. You can see how she was able to survive on the streets for so long. I loved her relationship with all the characters, especially Fitzroy, but her interactions with his underlings, Seth and Gus, were charming as well.
Fitzroy is an amazing character. There seems little he can’t do, except behave like a human being. He’s cold, reserved, mysterious, and brilliant. He’s very intriguing, and Archer does a good job teasing his past and personality as the book goes on.
The mystery was quite well done as well. I admit, it took me a long time to figure out what was going on, even though at one point I said, “Oh, it’s sounds like X.” I should have listened to my instincts. I felt so foolish for not making the connection to what I said to what was going on. But the mystery was intriguing and unfolded at a natural pace. It kept me riveted and wanting to listen to it nonstop.
Also, a special shout out to the narrator, Shiromi Arserio. She has a gorgeous voice and I’m completely astonished at the ride range of colors she brought to each character. I’ve got a little bit of a crush on her and her voice.
If you like supernatural mysteries with romantic tension and humor, this is for you. I highly recommend this book. It’s quick and fast paced and just a lot of fun.