by Lia Habel
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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.
Why I Picked This Book: Its beautiful cover had been floating around the blogosphere for some time. When I found it available on NetGalley, I just couldn't resist. (I received this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated in any way.)
Steampunk. In the future. With zombies.
I honestly had no idea what to expect from Dearly, Departed. I had never read a steampunk story before. This mix pulled me in though and convinced me to pick up this book and give it a go.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. It takes place in the future, where most of the world has been ruined by natural disaster. The remaining civilization has retreated south... and retreated to a time of civility and manners. You know, Victorian age. It was very interesting to see the mix of manners school, poofy dresses, proper speaking... with cell phones, steam powered computers, and blimps.
And of course the zombies. Because it wasn't bad enough that the New Victorians were at war with the Punks (people who live in the wilderness and aren't ever fully explained). No, let's throw in a zombie apocolypse, Nora who is miraculously immune, her genius dad... and the best part? An army formed of zombies, fighting on the good side.
That's right. As with most zombie books coming out lately, Habel takes her liberties with the rules of zombie living. In this one, zombies have the potential of "waking up" with most of themselves still in tact. One of the main characters, Bram, is one of those lucky few. And he will stop at nothing to protect Nora.
Yes, there is a love story in the mix. But thank goodness it didn't full take over this story.
Needless to say, the story did pull me along. I was intrigued at the very beginning, and rooting for the good zombies throughout the book.
For one, too many POVs. This book is written in first person... and bounces between FIVE different POVs. Yes, five. At times it did become hard for me to differ between the characters, and found it difficult after a while to connect and see the growth of each POV. The story progressed great, but when it came to seeing character growth, I felt it lacked. It was all too sudden.
There was so much to tell in this story, and so few pages. I feel it would have been better to write it solely from Nora and Bram's POVs, leave out Victor's (the genius dad) and Wolfe's (the crazy military nutjob of an antagonist)... and tell Pamela's version in a whole different book.
My only other issue was the end. It was very, very, very rushed. I found myself going "No! Wait, slow down! I want to enjoy this!" but instead it just... rushed. For lack of better words.
Regardless, I thoroughtly enjoyed Dearly, Departed. I give this book a 4 star. It isn't the strongest 4 star, but it deserves it non-the-less. I am keeping my eye for the next book, whenever that may be coming. Habel is such a talented author, and I happily will dive back into her mind anytime to tackle more zombies.
(4 out of 5 stars)