Book Reviews, NetGalley Reviews, Reviews by Diayll

{ARC Review} Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration #2) by Lia Habel



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Can the living coexist with the living dead?
That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.
Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.
Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.
As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the illness—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.
Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.








My Thoughts on Dearly, Beloved:



Slight Spoilers If You Have NOT Read Dearly, Departed (which you should!)




I am deeply infatuated with Lia Habel’s ability to craft such a uniquely satisfying novel. Dearly, Beloved is just as, if not more, fantastic than the first novel Dearly, Departed. Similar to Gone With The Respiration #1, the second novel is full of futuristic Steampunky goodness and over-the-top zombie action. The stakes are higher; the love/romance is deeper, stronger, and more intense.  And of course the action is nonstop.  It’s a novel that will make you laugh, dance, scream, shed a tear, and most of all…fall in love with its beautifully bewitching story, zany characters, and fresh take on the Steampunk genre.


Picking up shortly after Dearly, Departed, we’re immediately thrust into New Victoria and the lives of our beloved characters. “Z Company” had dismantled, the vaccine no longer works, and the city is running rampant in lieu of a new revolution between zombies and humans. While everything seems to be crumbling around them, Bram and Nora’s love is stronger than ever and in the midst of it all, they still continue to comfort, respect, and remain strong for each other. While the action within the pages may keep you reading, its Habel’s characters that will endear you to her story forever.


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Dearly, Beloved is told from MULTIPLE points of view just like its predecessor. There are 6 charming characters – and one slightly misguided though completely insane – whose minds you will invade: Bram, Nora, Pamela, Michael Allister, Laura, and Vespertine Mink. All of whom you’ve met before with the exception of Laura.  Habel does a wonderful job of connecting each point of view and weaving her characters lives together. At first I was suspicious having Michael as one of the POV’s, but after reading his story in its entirety, I couldn’t help but scream…YES, YES, YES!  And I wish I could let you all in one my giddy little secret, but then you will miss out on all the fun!


One thing I must point out is that you really must (DO IT! DO IT!) read Dearly, Departed before picking up Dearly, Beloved. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe it could work as a standalone title however, the experience will be richer if you are already invested in the lives of our characters. Plus, why start an awesome series in the middle? You shouldn’t.  You will just be angry with yourself if you do…so I’m warning you encouraging you to quickly grab book one.


Overall, my original notion was that Dearly, Beloved was going to be a 4.5 Controller novel because of the two characters whose heads I had to be inside and I wasn’t sure if I wanted or cared to be. However, after reading the last one hundred pages and the tear-jerking ending, which made me both tear up and laugh hysterically, it solidified what I already knew; Dearly, Beloved is a gem…a 5 Controller story. It was magical, exciting, thoroughly engrossing, and flowed as one well-oiled cohesive Steampunk machine.




My Rating

5 out of 5 Controllers

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Edible Quotes:


Bram and Nora: 


Nora was the only thing that made sense. She was the only unchanging thing in my universe. She was my lodestar. No matter which way my emotions and circumstances and the impulses of my dead, dying, trying, body pulled me, no matter how many mistakes I made, she was always true north. Sometimes I’d side with the dead, sometimes with the living but always with her.


“I love you,” I whispered in her ear.


“She kissed my Adam’s apple. “God, I love you.” (ARC page 350)



Bram:  “I love you Nora. I will thin you beautiful when I have no eyes left to see. I will remember your voice when my ears go. You can’t hold onto me forever, but I will hold only your until I am nothing but dirt.” (ARC page 388)



















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