Book: Dearly, Departed

Dearly, DepartedDearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Publisher: Del Rey
Publish Date: October 18, 2011
Series: Gone With The Respiration #1
ISBN: 0345523318
ISBN-13: 9780345523310

Synopsis: 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.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven’t read that many steampunk novels, nor have I read that many stories about zombies, so my knowledge of either subjects is pretty non-existent. I was lucky enough to receive a copy and immediately, the cover AND title sparked my interest. Lia Habel’s Dearly, Departed is a wonderful world that adds beautiful imagery and creepy zombies into a dystopian world. It’s an absolute terrific story filled with context, emotions, and depth.

The story begins with Nora Dearly, who lives in the year 2195; in a world where society has readopted the ways of the Victorian era. It has been a year since her father has died, and the only family left is her aunt. After a world-changing catastrophe, the people of the North America has migrated towards South America, dubbing the reconstructed government New Victoria. The citizens are identified and tracked with ID chips, and knowledge is spread through holographic technology.

But alas, the people ride carriages, wear Victorian fashion, and are cordial to their neighbors. The citizens of New Victoria are split between the Victorians and the Punks. In Habel’s world, they are engaged in a civil war. The streets are patrolled, for it isn’t safe anymore. But little do the citizens know, it isn’t the Punks that are responsible for death.

Nora’s world is different from the life of Bram Griswold. Bram is a sixteen year-old captain of the Z army. He saves Nora from an invasion of crazed zombies, revealing himself to her as one of the more civilized and less crazed zombies. Bram explains the details of his world versus the others. He tells her about the Lazarus virus and the part that her father played. Slowly, Nora’s world unravels with one simple secret.

Steampunk + Zombies = Awesome.

The world that was built and the characters that I was introduced to were my favorite things about this book. It has a Romeo and Juliet feel, but with zombies. Unrequited love…you know things like that. It wasn’t about a choice between two love interests. Instead, it was about the unconditional love that one has for another person. Whether it be between Nora and Bram or between family members, Habel shows the intricate levels and types of love between two people.

Habel also talks about acceptance through out the book. Punks versus Royals and the Grays versus the Red lights. While yes, acceptance could coincide with love, Habel does a great job discussing about society in a micro and macro capacity. I won’t go into a school lesson blurb, but let me just say it fascinated me so much.

There were some parts of the book that I questioned and others where I hoped were explained a little more. Dearly, Departed took me into a fantastic world that I could never imagine and Habel guided me into the wonderful world of zombies. This was such a great read. I highly suggest this to everyone. It was beautiful.


One thought on “Book: Dearly, Departed

  1. This one is high on my list to read. I’ve only read one Steampunk series (The Parasol Protectorate) but never a steampunk/zombie mix. It sounds very original and creative. Can’t wait! Great review & I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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