Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Title: Dearly, Departed
Author: Lia Habel
Series: Gone With the Respiration #1
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: October 18, 2011
ISBN13: 9780345523310
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA, romance, steampunk, paranormal, sci-fi, apocalypse
Source: borrowed from library
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.

Dearly, Departed was a delightful read, with alternating perspectives from no less than four characters. Besides, with zombies and steampunk, what more could a girl ask for?

Let's just take a moment to take in the cover. Isn't it wonderful? Even more, every other edition looks amazing. (I think there's up to six separate covers for Dearly, Departed.)

Honestly, I didn't expect the book to have multiple perspectives because the synopsis mainly focused on Nora. Nevertheless, even with all those different character's thoughts thrown in, it still seemed quite clear that the protagonist was Nora. With the numerous perspectives, you always know what's happening in the story, whether it's Nora's experience with the zombie army, or it's with her best friend Pam, back in New Victoria.

In the characters area, however, Nora is not my number one. Generally, I make it a point to like a protagonist more than her male counterpart. Why? Because a story is about the protagonist's achievements, losses, loves, fears, and progression, not about her love life. In this case, however, Nora was just a bit whiny and immature. That didn't make me see her as a young, mature woman. My opinion may have been different if her characteristics changed more than her romantic relationship with Bram.

Dearly, Departed is a truly wonderful story built in a post-apocalyptic steampunk world with just a spark of something more. Besides, zombies? You truly can't ask for more.
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

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