Dearly Departed by Lia Habel

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Pages: 470
Source: purchased
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Love can never die.
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 redefines the concept of undying love.--Goodreads
Nora is about to be brought into society.  Well, sort of, but she is not happy about it.  When she is captured by creatures that may or may not eat her brains, she doesn’t know how to handle it all, especially when she finds out that the death of her father was really a birth of another zombie.  Now that her father is MIA, Nora desires to go after him but she needs Bram’s help.  But when the man left in charge starts to show his true colors, a scheme unfolds into something no one had expected.  It is up to Nora, Bram, and his friends to find Nora’s father and bring him back, in hopes that he may be able to fix the mess that the world is in.

A zombie love story.  I just had to read this one.  When it was published last year, I was unsure about getting it.  I don’t think it got the publicity it deserved because after reading it, this book should have been definitely read and on my shelf faster than it was because it was so good.  Habel brought us into this world called New Victoria, a steampunk-based universe that made me jealous.  I wished I lived there (without the zombies, of course) because than I could wear awesome dresses all day and still have a cell phone and watch movies.  Her writing is what made me read further.  Dearly, Departed did get slow at times, but mostly because every chapter was a different narrator, a different side of the same story, which I didn’t like at all.  I found it very annoying and wished she would just stick with Nora as the narrator or even Nora and Bram, because when she introduced around 5 different point-of-views, I got a bit lost. 

However, my favorite characters were Bram and Nora, probably because I got to see inside their head during different chapters, to get to know them well.  The one thing that bothered me with Nora though was how quickly she took to living with zombies.  She was captured by them but after learning about her dad and everything, she was just going to accept it all.  Or maybe I was just jealous because living with zombies, whether I liked some of them or not would definitely unnerve me.  Habel brought these characters to life and I may have started disliking Nora, at the beginning, because of what she had done, but I have long since forgiven her.  However, her reaction toward living with zombies may have been the only thing that I didn’t like about the characters because I enjoyed getting to know each and every one.

I haven’t read many books with zombies in it, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  Dearly, Departed blew me away with this idea that zombies could be tame and almost human.  It made me really believe in the whole zombie romance thing.  Habel centered her entire novel around this romance that I definitely wished I saw more of.  There were twists and turns and terrible events that made me cringe, but I loved almost everything about this book.      

Dearly, Departed is a crazy steampunk that gets steamier than you might think with zombies.  In this fantastic thrill ride, one does not run from something that wants to eat your brains, one falls in love with it. 

“I was buried alive.”
-Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel, p. 3

Rated PG-13 for zombies galore, gore and blood, violence and action sequences, and betrayal.
Cover: 5
Characters: 4
Plot: 4
Writing Style: 4
Ending: 5


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  1. This was also my first zombie novel. I also liked it !