Author: Lia Habel
Date of Publication: September 29, 2011
Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?
The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.
But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.
In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever the concept of undying love.
I'm beginning to think I need to change my opinion on zombie novels! I've never really been a huge fan of them but lately I've found myself surprised over and over again by how much I'm beginning to enjoy them! Zombies will never be my favorite supernatural love interest (I think I'll always just have something against boys who are decomposing) but Habel did an absolutely fantastic job creating the world and characters and, in the end, left me agonizing over how to get my hands on the sequel!
Nora was a fun and entertaining character. Her loyalty to her friends and family made me smile and I loved her open mindedness toward the zombies, especially after all she had been through because of them. Bram was a dashing love interest and I loved being able to switch between Nora's and Bram's point of views as their relationship developed. Habel did a fantastic job creating their relationship, instead of everything happening all at once she builds it up, making their relationship that much more special. I also enjoyed reading from Pamela's point of view; in the thick of the epidemic she takes on the role of protecting her family and even killing some zombies along the way.
There were so many little quirks this novel had that made it so much fun to read. My favorite had to be the little colored lamps on top of parasols indicating a girl's marriageability, or even a girl who wasn't interested in men but could be swayed by a pretty skirt. I also loved the blending of old fashioned Victorian language with modern vernacular. Habel was able to seamlessly blend the past and present and even explained the development of the steampunk society she had created. So often steampunk novels throw you into a world never really telling you how they came to be that way, so it was a nice change to understand the history behind the story. Habel truly did an absolutely fantastic job with world building, a huge amount of the novel was dedicated to explaining past events and explaining the world and while sometimes that can make for a dull read Habel was able to integrate it so expertly that it didn't take away from the action of the novel.
Like most of the reviews I've seen the only thing I didn't like about this novel was the five different first person perspectives. I felt a little overwhelmed by how many stories I had to follow at the same time and I didn't really understand the point of Victor's and Wolfe's point of views, neither of them were necessary to the story and the information provided in those sections could have been easily provided another way. Often times I set this book down to take a break and I came back a few hours later only to start reading and not remember whose point of view I was reading from. I also found the first third or so of this novel to be extremely slow, not boring necessarily, but lacking in action. I kept waiting and waiting for something exciting to happen, once the action scenes picked up this novel moved very quickly but before that this novel felt incredibly slow.
Despite the frustrating amount of narrators and the slow beginning once this novel takes off it becomes a completely engrossing read. Part steampunk, part dystopian, and part romance this novel has it all! I highly recommend this one to young adult and adult readers alike looking for a great new series!