Jan 8, 2012

Review: Lia Habel - Dearly, Departed

Lia Habel - Dearly, Departed

• Pub Date: October 18, 2011
• Publisher: Del Rey
• Format: Hardcover, 470 pages
• Age Range: Young Adult

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 received this book through Net Galley and I checked it out from my local library. Here is my honest review:

This book took me forever to read. I wasn't into it at first because it felt like a lot to take in. The different types of zombies threw me off, and the Victorian-but-in-the-future thing really didn't make sense to me. But after I read 150 pages or so I realized that this was a pretty good, unique story and I needed to read it. I finished it very quickly after that. Even though the whole zombie thing is weird, I still felt myself really pulling for Bram and Nora! I started to love them all, in fact. Chas, Tom, Ren, Coalhouse and the whole gang. And Wolfe is a total ass. By the end, I realized that I definitely wanted to read the sequel to see what happens with everyone next.

I must say, though, that Nora seemed quite ridiculous. She was basically a child, acting like a 5 year old throwing tantrums. I get that her situation was very strange and extremely scary and difficult, but honestly. She stomped around, yelled, and whined like a baby. I didn't enjoy that. But like I said, I still was hoping for something good for her and Bram. Bram was an enjoyable character. I liked reading his chapters and how he reacted to Nora. It was heartwarming.

I hope for good things in the next one. I want happiness for Pam and her family, for Nora and her friends and family, etc etc. This was an action-packed, good zombie read. Thanks to everyone for recommending it to me and encouraging me to keep reading it.

What I liked:
  • The love story. Like I said above, I really started to feel for Nora and Bram. Bram is a great guy, and while he felt older and she felt younger, it must have balanced out.
  • It's different. I liked this book by the end of it because it wasn't like anything I've ever read. It's predictable for the most part with some surprises, but I really liked the imagination.
  • The cast. All the "good" zombies are memorable characters. I enjoyed their point of view and dialogue.
  • Switching POVs. They're all in first person and they tell everyone's separate story as it's happening. It keeps you in loop, but makes for a long book. Still, I like when books do this!

What I didn't like:

  • Slowness at the beginning. It took a while for me to really enjoy this novel. I felt very confused at the beginning, but then everything started getting better and making more sense.
  • Nora's tantrums. I didn't appreciate her acting like a 5 year old sometimes. It was very annoying when she'd freak out and stomp around. Ugh.

Bottom Line: I would recommend this one if you're okay with zombies and YA books like nothing you've read before.


3.5 / 5 book sharks


  1. I am glad you liked it. This was one of my favorite books of 2011, and while I know it is not for everyone, I'm glad you got some enjoyment out of it. And yeah...it's a long one. I am DYING for the next one. Loved your review my dear.

  2. I loved this book. I am glad that you enjoyed it. I am really looking forward to the next book. Great review. :)

  3. I just got this one! can't wait to read it! Great Review :D


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