Monday, March 26, 2012

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Title:  Dearly, Departed
Author:  Lia Habel
Series:  Gone With the Respiration
Publisher:  Del Rey
Publication Date:  October 18, 2011
Source:  purchased - Christmas present from my BBS

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.



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.

Rating:  Photobucket



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!

Here's how to find Michele:

A Belle's Tales
A Belle's Tales
Goodreads
Twitter



17 comments:

  1. I'm glad you liked this one, Jeannette! And I love your coining "zomance," hee hee. It wasn't perfect by any means, but I thought the author did a lot of things very right, too. And I'm looking forward to the sequel. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Heh...the zomance in Warm Zombies kinda freaked me out at first, but when you consider the vampire and werewolf love stories, zomance is kinda the next logical step, right? You're right...the story wasn't perfect, but it was definitely fun. :)

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  2. Ahh!! I love, LOVED this book!! Bram..,squee! I'm so happy you enjoyed this Jen. Awesome review!

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    1. Loved Bram, too, but I loved all the "good" zombies. They definitely made the story interesting. ;)

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  3. GREAT REVIEW ,,, I read this book and i just love the romance in it ,,, AWESOME :)

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    1. Yay! I'm glad people are down with the zomance! :) Seriously, if a normal girl can fall for a vampire, why not a zombie?

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  4. I ADORE this review! Thank you so much for the shout-out and for debuting this on my blog! I'm very excited to read the book, thanks to your brilliant review. Love it, love "zomance," and love YOU!! <3

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    1. Thank YOU for not only providing me the opportunity to read it but also review it for you! I can't wait for you to read it!

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  5. Great review! I've had this one sitting on my kindle from NetGalley for forever!
    -Kimberly @ Turning The Pages

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    1. You should get on it! It's a really fun read! (But don't the gallies expire?!?)

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  6. I am glad that you liked Dearly Departed. It is such an original take. Great review.
    - FABR Steph

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    1. It was definitely unique! I can't wait for the sequel to see how things play out.

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  7. your love for dead people is so cute. lol

    I still have to read warm bodies.. I swear, I will pick it up soon. I was gonna get this one for christmas... the steam punk kinda turns me off though. I mean, I have read some steam punk I think, and i believe I liked it.. but i'm not even really sure what makes a book steam punk? I should probably google it instead of blabbing my stupidity to you. haha

    I have read some good, and some bad reviews for this one.. I guess you have to like zombies to enjoy it. Which lucky for me, I love zombies. Probably not like you love them, but I do enjoy their decapitating fleshy selves. I feel like I need to read something zombie-ish right now because the walking dead stopped. I feel empty inside. perhaps I will pick up warm bodies earlier than I thought.

    but now. I'm off to read a mermaid book! OMG. I love mermaids. Oh, and I have to defoil a few blogs first.

    Aubrey says we are having poop for dinner. how would one cook that? she's all about poop these days. Poop at the end of every sentence. does this make me a bad mom? lol

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    1. Um, thanks? :P Seriously, call it what it is. OBSESSION. :D

      LOVED Warm Bodies, but I think you already knew that. It was told completely from the zombie's POV, which made it even better. The guy who wrote it is kinda hawt, too. And he makes music. WIN!

      Don't let the steampunk scare you away. It's all about mechanical stuff. Clockwork mechanisms and stuff. Doesn't get in the way of the story AT ALL.

      I've got some mermaid books to read, too! Can't wait...hope they're scary, man-eating mermaids. (I have a problem. I like scary things. Except scary movies. Used to love them, until I started having crazy-a$$ nightmares. But I still want to see that new Joss Whedon movie...Cabin in the Woods or something like that. Whoa.)

      Poop, huh? Apparently Katie has heard me scream DAMMIT one too many times when something went wrong cause I heard her say it the other day when she couldn't get one of her toys to work. That definitely makes me a bad mom. :(

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