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Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

***2011 Debut Author***
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: Random House / Del Rey
Pages: 470
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: NetGalley

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. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
A zombie story unlike any other. A dystopian, steampunk world where the walking dead are just as likely to save your life as they are to eat you. I was captivated from page one and found it extremely heard to put this book down for even a minute. The futuristic Victorian setting, the unconventional romance, the secrets and mystery - I loved it all!

Dearly, Departed takes place in the year 2195 in New Victoria, somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Society is both high tech and rooted in the past. Young girls like Nora are expected to listen, smile and find a suitable husband that will do her family proud. Nora has other ideas. Especially after she discovers 'The Laz' - a deadly virus that has the nasty habit of bringing people back from the dead.

I really loved the zombies in this story. They are both typical and wholly original. When you die from The Laz you either return as a mindless drone attacking everything living in site, or...you don't. Some zombies are actually (almost) fully functioning people. Their nature and their upkeep was fascinating. So very different from other zombies books I have read.

Final verdict:
There was so much of this book to love but I think my favorite part was it's characters. They hold secrets and they surprised me a couple of times and I could relate to them. Love when that happens!

There's a little something for a lot of different people here. The dystopian environment could stand on it's own, the steampunk aspect was just fun and really worked with the story and the zombies top everything off perfectly!

For fans of YA that are looking for something a bit different, a bit odd. Dearly, Departed was an excellent read for me and I absolutely can't wait for book 2!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Zombie Novel series:
#1 Dearly, Departed
#2 Dearly, Beloved (September 2012)

Linkage Love:
Author's website


  1. I've been seeing reviews for this everywhere and wondering if this should be my first Zombie read... I think you've convinced me!

  2. I'm so glad you liked this one. I absolutely adored it! I didn't think I could wrap my mind around a zombie romance, but this is the one time it really, truly worked.

  3. I had the same reaction as you did. My only slight issue was that I think that the book had too many POVs going on--I loved Bram, Pam, and Nora's chapters but I didn't think the antagonist deserved any attention (although I get why he did). I liked Nora's dad's POV too but still... it was a lot of flipping back and forth, lol.

  4. I like the way you put it about a little something for lots of different tastes because I felt that way too. There are so many elements blended together so skillfully and I just adored the book (although I could have dealt with just Bram, Pam, and Nora narrating and without the other two).


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