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Author: Lia Habel
Series: Gone With the Respiration
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Source: purchased - Christmas present from my BBS
I love zombies. I love romance. So, offering me up a zomance (can we PLEASE coin this term?) is like offering a fat kid cake…I couldn’t say no. Not that I would have wanted to. Add to that the steampunk elements and the fact that my book soul-mate bought this novel for me as a Christmas present, and I am SOLD.
I liked that I was able to read in my English accent starting off, but that ability gradually fell away after Nora was abducted, as did all other decorum. Prior to the abduction, the setting was a new-Victorian era establishment, where the residents had decided that times were better, more civilized during the Victorian time period, and after the collapse of everything they knew, they adopted the etiquette and policies of that particular era, when it was clear that some type of order was necessary. While the Victorian theme died away of its own accord – though it does rear its head again later – the steampunk aspects continued to present themselves, by way of zeppelins and motorized carriages, etc.
The world-building in Dearly, Departed, was for the most part, pretty impressive. Habel has combined several genres in this one 467-page book and makes it seem almost effortless. It isn’t a romance parading itself around in corsets in order to consider itself historical fiction, nor is it a paranormal thriller that tries to distract you with automatons or any manner of futuristic, steampunk components. Dearly, Departed is any one of those things at any given time, and it is not ashamed of that fact, nor should it be.
Something I did have difficulty with, at least in the beginning, was the sheer number of POVs in this novel. It would be one thing to switch between the main character and her zombie love interest. But by the end, I believe I counted five, yes FIVE, differing points-of-view. It did grow tiresome at times and seemed rather unnecessary at others, but in the end, it did add something to the story to read all five characters’ versions of the events. Though it would have made the story more interesting and less easy to dissect had there been fewer viewpoints to point everything out.
This book is about zombies. I know, most people love ‘em or hate ‘em. I fall into that first category. I like them gross and disgusting and chasing after our heroine, as in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. But I also love their softer side, the one where they try to grow a conscience again, like R in Warm Bodies. Fortunately for me, Dearly, Departed has BOTH kinds of zombies. Apparently, in the very beginning of zombie-ism, before the Laz takes full effect, you’re faced with a choice. Eat brains or simply try to survive with your new disease without feasting on the flesh of your fellow man. Oh, you’re still going to look gross once infected, but there are options for you if you decide to shy away from the human all-you-can-eat buffet that is New Victoria.
I loved this book. I found the story highly entertaining, and I enjoyed that zombie-ism and its derivation and resulting aftermath are almost immediately disclosed to Nora, that she’s not yet another clueless heroine, as in so many other YA novels. She knows what she’s getting into, and though she has some reservations at first, she becomes pretty accepting of her situation, all things considered. And I love that this acceptance ultimately leads to her romantic feelings for Bram and vice versa. She’s a girl. He’s a zombie. They know they have limited time together because of this. And still they move head-first into a star-crossed zomance. (That is so going to catch on, I’m telling you…)
Dearly, Departed was so many things. It asks for some suspension of belief, but what it’s lacking in believability, it makes up for in heart. This novel was fun and light-hearted, but it was also action-packed and showed just how easily a man could be corrupted. I think it’s got something for everyone, but I think my fellow zombie aficionados will definitely enjoy it.
This review was originally posted/hosted by the lovely Michele at A Belle's Tales. Big thanks to Michele first for gifting me this amazing book and also for allowing me to review it on her blog!