NetGalley Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel by Lia Habel
Series: Gone With the Respiration #1
Published by: Random House LLC on 10/18/2011
Genres: Dystopian, Paranormal, YA, Young Adult
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
A classic romance, suspense thriller, rip-roaring adventure, and macabre comedy all at once, Dearly, Departed redefines the concept of undying love. 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 mores of an antique era. Sixteen-year-old Nora Dearly is far more interested in her country’s political unrest than in silly debutante balls. But the death of her beloved parents leaves Nora at the mercy of a social-climbing aunt who plans to marry off her niece for money. To Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. Now she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting a fatal virus that raises the dead. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and thoroughly deceased. But like the rest of his special undead unit, Bram has been enabled by luck and modern science 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.BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Lia Habel's Dearly, Beloved. “Heart-pounding . . . Nora and Bram’s touching and tender relationship, with its emphasis on equality and living in the moment, feels particularly special.”—Publishers Weekly “Absolutely spellbinding . . . full of ingenious inventions and dynamic characters.”—RT Book Reviews “A zombie romance? You bet.”—Library Journal
Dearly, Departed is one of those books that came from the middle of nowhere and ROCKED my world. No seriously, it made me want to get up, fight, and later on hook-up with a really sweet zombie. I am a big fan of the Steampunk Victorian era, although I have never read (that I can recall) a Steampunk novel. I am so glad I decided to read this book. Not only was it filled with futuristic Steampunky goodness, but it was also full of zombies!
Who would have thought zombies could be anything more than creatures that fed on flesh and terrorized a group of people? Well certainly not me; a craver of all things that deal with zombie apocalypses. In Dearly, Departed, zombies are not your average monsters. They think, feel, have histories, and ongoing lives. Except for the few that go mad, but hey, it happens. Habel’s worldbuilding is something to marvel over. She has the ability to convey a likeable, sweet, honest, courageous zombie that fans can definitely root for. The leading man Bram is probably my favorite hero/main character thus far in 2011. Many times I could picture myself falling in love with him. Even now I can imagine lying in his cold dead arms. Ha, don’t you just love it when a book does that to you? Makes you fall in love with someone who should absolutely disgust you. This novel is that GOOD.
Told in the first person perspective, we get to dive inside just about all the characters heads. Usually multiple POV’s drive me nuts, but I think in this case it only made me want more. Our smart and witty heroine is Nora Dearly. I must say I loved Nora just as much as I loved Bram. Their interactions and conversations were both amusing and very touching. And as their relationship progressed from friendship to something more, the tension Habel created left me on the edge of my seat page after page. Nora’s best friend Pam was also a well likeable character. Pam was thrown into the zombie world without warning, and the way she handled it was brilliant, slightly comical, and a lot of fun to read. The characters ARE what makes Dearly, Departed a remarkable read.
New Victoria here I come. It’s unfortunate to say that some authors do not know how to create their world leaving it lacking and unimaginative. Gena Showalter is one of the best at imagery (try Lords of the Underworld), and I think Lia Habel could be on her level. Or at least close to it. If anything you should read Dearly, Departed just so you can go to New Victoria. It’s a GEORGEOUS place, filled with motorized carriages, digital media, an underground city, and of course parasols. I want to go there, I want to live there; heck I want to visit the Punk territory too. It was all majestic, realistic. Something I can’t really describe without sounding like a crazy fangirl.
Overall, if you don’t read this book you are really missing out on a great YA title. Actually, this book didn’t feel very YA because of the intense emotional rollercoaster Habel took the characters on. We didn’t really get any “skin” however, something about this novel screams mature. I just haven’t been able to put my finger on what that is.
Dearly, Departed has charm, a rocking adventure, loveable (albeit mostly dead) characters, and memorable moments. This is a great start to a new series and I can’t wait to read Dearly, Beloved.
Favorite Passage From Bram’s Perspective:
She (Nora) pulled her sleeve back up and shrugged. She was quiet for a minute before asking, “Did you enjoy it?”
I decided to tell the truth. “Yes. You wouldn’t believe how good you taste. I don’t think I could even describe it.”
She laughed. “Good? Like filet mignon good? Or like…candy good?”
I loved her.
5 out of 5 Controllers