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.
Before I start this review I need to make a confession. Dearly, Departed is my first official zombie novel. Despite some sage advice and a tiny bit of bullying on the part of Amanda @ On a Book Bender, Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal and Ashley @ Bookish Brunette, I’ve managed to avoid all zombie novels. Why? Well the only excuse that I really had was watching the original black and white Living Dead movies. Every time I thought about reading a novel about zombies, that’s what I pictured. I’ve got a fair amount of zombie novels on my TBR pile, but I just never felt the drive to pick one up. For some reason the description of Dearly, Departed grabbed me. This book was definitely a perfect first zombie book for me to sink my teeth into. (Sorry, just couldn’t resist 😉 )
Lia Habel did a wonderful job at describing the new Victorian world that Nora and her best friend Pam lived in. Nora was the perfect heroine. She didn’t shrink back from a challenge or just accept things for the way they were. She gave herself time to absorb the info she was given and then went with it. It was great to see how she grew in the short amount of time she had to grasp the new reality she was forced to accept. She didn’t just cave, she didn’t spend time feeling sorry for herself, she adapted. I loved Nora!
Before reading Dearly, Departed I honestly never thought that I could see how anyone could ever fall for a zombie. And then there was Bram. *sigh* He was more tortured than any male character I’ve read lately. Anyone who has followed any of my reviews knows exactly how much I love tortured characters. Half way through the book I was wondering how Nora couldn’t fall in love with him. He knew he shouldn’t love her, but he did. He was willing to accept any relationship he could have with her, even if it was only friendship. He had lost so much, he was loyal, brave and simply amazing. He was a zombie that it was impossible not to love and respect.
Besides the fact that I loved Nora and Bram, there was so much more to Dearly, Departed that made it a great YA read. The supporting characters were spunky and entertaining. The bad guys were really easy to hate, there was plenty of action – beginning on the very first page and the book is told from more than one POV. I realize that some readers don’t like it when POV’s switch, but it works seamlessly in Dearly, Departed. You get a glimpse into the minds of not only Nora and Bram, but Pamela, Victor and Wolfe as well. For me, it made the reading much more interesting and gave each of the characters more depth than they would have otherwise have had.
I’m really glad that Dearly, Departed is part of a series. It’s obvious that there is much more to Nora and Bram’s story even before reading the Epilogue. I personally can’t wait until Lia Habel comes out with the next installment to the Gone with the Respiration series. I’ll never turn down another zombie recommendation again. 😉