October 18, 2011

Dearly Departed by Lia Habel: ARC Review

Dearly, Departed (Dearly, #1)
Publisher: Del Rey Books (October 18, 2011)
ARC: 471 Pages
Series: Dearly #1
Genre: YA Steampunk/Horror
Lia Habel's Website | Blog | Twitter
From Goodreads.

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.
Review by Kate
DEARLY DEPARTED, by Lia Habel, is a really fantastic mashup of steampunk and zombie horror. This book takes place in New Victoria where a zombie-like takeover is imminent. The general public has no idea what is to come, and our heroine is unwillingly thrust into the thick of it. Habel weaves a romantic and dystopic tale that will leave you dying for more.

At almost 500 pages this book is a little daunting at first, but once I started reading I flew right through it. Habel tells the story from multiple POV's that give a wide overlook of the bigger story. I obviously loved Nora and Bram's POV because I loved their relationship. I found myself scratching my head and wondering how I could like a living person (Nora) and dead-zombie (Bram) as a couple, but the technology in Habel's world that brought the consciousness back to some of the bitten made it always seem that they were both on the same level emotionally and physically. I'm interested to see where their relationship goes in the next book.

Habel created a pretty awesome supporting cast too. I loved the banter between the other zombies Chas, Ben, and Tom. They all took in Nora as if they'd been friends for life and I found that quite unique. Also, Nora's living friend, Pamela had the greatest character development leap of everyone. She strived to be everything Nora was but when the zombies attacked she stepped up in other ways that made her a really fantastic person and fighter for humanity. I cheered for her the whole time!!

Overall, this book was a great intro to the series. There was passion, horror, action, and nail-biting suspense that make this almost 500 page book seem like it was only 100 pages, it's that good! Can't wait for number two!


  1. Haha yes, I loved this one too! Lia wrote such a wonderful book with DD. And I just adored Bram- I thought he was so sweet in his own way. And so considerate of Nora, it just seemed like he really respected her. And I wasn't expecting to like a zombie love story either but it was SO good.

    Dearly, Beloved is also one of my most anticipated books for 2012 :) I can't wait for it already! Too bad it's so far away lol.

    Thanks for sharing you review, I really enjoyed it :)

  2. I thought Dearly, Departed was an absolutely fantastic read! While I loved reading from Nora's point of view, I loved reading from Pamela's point of view even more. She's such a brave girl!


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