Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel

Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel

by Lia Habel

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A classic romance, suspense thriller, rip-roaring adventure, and macabre comedy all at once, Dearly, Departed redefines the concept of undying love.
The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the mores of an antique era. Sixteen-year-old Nora Dearly is far more interested in her country’s political unrest than in silly debutante balls. But the death of her beloved parents leaves Nora at the mercy of a social-climbing aunt who plans to marry off her niece for money. To Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. Now she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting a fatal virus that raises the dead. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and thoroughly deceased. But like the rest of his special undead unit, Bram has been enabled by luck and modern science 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.

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Lia Habel's Dearly, Beloved.
“Heart-pounding . . . Nora and Bram’s touching and tender relationship, with its emphasis on equality and living in the moment, feels particularly special.”—Publishers Weekly
“Absolutely spellbinding . . . full of ingenious inventions and dynamic characters.”—RT Book Reviews
“A zombie romance? You bet.”—Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345523334
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/18/2011
Series: Gone with the Respiration , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 1,017,740
File size: 4 MB
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Lia Habel is in her twenties and lives in western New York State. She is fascinated by zombie movies and Victoriana, interests that eventually led her to write Dearly, Departed. When she first got an agent, she was literally opening envelopes for a living. By the time the auction for Dearly, Departed was held, she was considering food stamps. Now that she has a book contract, she is busy working on the follow-up to Dearly, Departed, entitled Dearly, Beloved. Lia Habel can be found on Facebook and Myspace, and she has a blog at

Read an Excerpt

            I was buried alive.
            When the elevator groaned to a stop in the middle of the rocky shaft, I knew I was buried alive. Trapped thousands of feet below the earth’s surface and hundreds above the bottom of the shaft, dangling in a dimly lit ten-by-ten foot cage over the black bowels of the very mine I had been so relieved to get work in.
I pulled myself to my feet and pushed my best friend Jack aside, hitting the button that controlled the elevator. I hit it again and again, wailed my fist on it. Nothing. The glass-paned lantern dangling from the ceiling flickered wildly as the kerosene within dwindled, as if it were attempting to ward off its own death with bursts of exaggerated life.
            Dread became a solid, burning thing within me, something twisting my own flesh to its will, speeding my heart and making my skin slick with sweat. Before I knew it was coming up, I doubled over and retched through the grated floor. Jack sat calmly beside me as I heaved, his bloody eye sockets and the gaping wound in his throat mocking me, mocking my attempt to rescue him. He looked like some kind of hellish funhouse clown.
            The dam broke, and I finally started screaming. At Jack. At God. At everything. There was nothing left to do but scream. I hadn’t screamed when the monsters had descended on us. I hadn’t screamed when I’d had to run from them, or when I fought them, or when I’d dragged Jack to the elevator, blood bursting from the hole in his neck. Everything had happened so quickly, it’d seemed like there was no time to scream.
            The monsters. Mad, animalistic, discolored, broken and battered from throwing themselves after their prey, each one thrashing like a person trapped beneath a frozen pond might struggle against the ice in desperate search of air…all teeth and hunger….
I slid down the wall of the elevator and buried my face in my sticky, itching hands. The coppery scent of the blood on them nauseated me, and I leaned back, my screams echoing back to me through the endless mineshaft. The elevator was covered in Jack’s blood. I was covered in Jack’s blood. I was wearing more of his blood on my ratty waistcoat than remained, still as a stagnant pond, in his own veins. My cheap old pocket watch was caked with it. Even the digital camera still feverishly clutched in Jack’s hands was slashed with red. Stupid New Victorian piece of crap. I’d always ragged on him for being so attached to that camera. Couldn’t even get the pictures off of it, not without a computer – and no one around here had a computer.
          Still, Jack had been so proud of it, of the snapshots he took. And I’d dutifully posed every time he’d ordered me to.
Slowly, trembling, I pried it out of his rubbery fingers.
         The lantern dimmed. I tried not to panic. I figured out how to turn the camera on, hoping futilely that the conspiracy theories were true – that the New Victorians could track every bit of tech their people used, every digital letter, practically every thought. Didn’t they put chips in their citizens, tagging them like cattle? Maybe, if the smuggler who’d snuck it through the Border hadn’t cracked and killed the ability, it’d work. Maybe.
         If nothing else, I could record a message.
         Just as I figured out how to shoot video, the lantern died, plunging me into perfect darkness. I swallowed back a sob and spoke aloud, my throat raw, my voice the voice of a ghost in its tomb.
         “If this thing is working…my name is Bram Griswold. I’m sixteen. It’s…July 4th, 2193. I live at the Griswold Farm, Long Road, West Gould, Plata Ombre, Punk-Controlled Brazil. I worked here to help support my mom and my sisters…in the Celestino mine. And these things, these, these people…they were eating…eating Jack…”
         That did it. I started crying. I dug my nails into the wounds in my own arms, the places where the monsters had bitten me, seeking desperately to use pain to pin myself to reality, to coax my mind back from the edge.
         It didn't work.
         I said it.
         “I’m pretty sure I’m going to…to die here. Emily, Addy…I’m sorry.” Tears ran into my mouth, a strange relief after the taste of vomit. “I’m so sorry.”

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Dearly, Departed 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 104 reviews.
Book_Sniffers_Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasn't overly sure if I was going to like this book or not. I definitely wasn't planning on falling in love with it. I have been sort of feeling like YA is going down a very boring and sugar coated slope. On top of that Zombies make me VERY squeamish, but it's coming up to Halloween and it seems like Zombies are the new big thing, so I decided to give this book a shot. Even though parts of it were a little creepy with the rabid zombies, I felt that the author wrote a very good YA book that sort of touched base with the whole "cannibalism" without actually going into detail of them eating Brains. Which is okay with me since, like I said before, Zombie freak me out. A vampire, ghost, even a mummy, NO PROBLEM but the second those reanimated decomposing corpses start hauling butt towards me with hunger in their eyes, I am out of there! Which brings me to the romance of the book. A human and a zombie...? It helped that Bram wasn't falling apart and had all of him original body parts still intact but it took a little bit to convince me. They didn't automatically fall in love, in fact Nora was freaked out by Bram being a zombie when he saved her and fainted, when she awoke she was in his room at the Z base and quickly locked herself inside. By talking through the locked door to Bram and making a deal that every time he answered one of her questions, she would unlock one of the 10 locks on his door, she slowly started to trust him. Eventually she came out of the room but by that time, I wasn't so weirded out by the civilized zombies because by that point Bram had humanized himself in my mind. The book is split primarily into Nora, Bram, Pam and Victor's point of view. It helps to give you a sense as to what is happening out in the world where the rabid zombies are terrorizing the streets and slowly taking over. Even though things are sort of calm at the Z base, back in Nora's neighborhood all hell is breaking loose and she has no idea that it's happening. Pam's story is by far the scariest parts of the book because she is dealing with the rabid zombies and trying to convince her family that it isn't safe. I will be honest that while reading the book she reminded me a lot of Katniss from the Hunger Games. It wasn't just her use of weapon (a bow) but just the way she carried herself and stepped up and took control of protecting her family. One last thing that I want to touch base on before I leave you with an ending quote... this book is pretty funny. The civilized zombies are like normal people and the ones in Bram's close unit all joke around and act as if they are best friends or even siblings. They squabble and joke around a lot throughout the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I honestly loved this book more than I thought I would! It was absolutly amazing. The mix of past and future for the sretting is so unique and workks. The romance between nora and bram is like a supernatural romeo and juliet; so wrong that its right! Great plot, aawssome story idea, cant wait for a sequell! I recomend it for teens whho like something a little on the odd side:)
Kaydence on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel5 stars Product Details ISBN-13: 9780345523310 Publisher: Random House Publishing Group Publication date: 10/18/2011 Pages: 480 Sales rank: 72,993 Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 5.78 (h) x 1.48 (d)Summary: The world has ended and been rebuilt fashioned after Victorian England. This new Victorian world includes the same manners and sense of class that the old one did. The wealthy have above ground houses, but the majority of the populace lives underground, the more wealthy or important, the closer to the outside. Not everyone agrees with the New Victorian lifestyle, so a group called the ¿punks¿ is battling for land and rights. These ¿punks¿ are along the outskirts of New Victoria and live within fields and mines. The novel is told from multiple points of view. Nora is a teenage girl who is slightly wealthy. She goes to a boarding school and is being raised by her aunt after her father had passed away. Her best friend, Pam, is a poorer student that also attends the boarding school and represents another point of view in the story. Then Bram, a good zombie that wants to save the world, and the girl, represents another point of view. And finally, Wolf, a deranged power-hungry military captain, and Nora¿s father, you guessed it, another zombie, round out the other point of views within the story. Each person tells their part of the story as it moves forward. So, the story is extremely complex.Here is the basic storyline:Nora is kidnapped by good zombies because she is immune to the zombie virus. She builds up a friendship/relationship with Bram, who is one of the zombies that rescues her. Meanwhile, the zombie virus has broken out in New Victoria. Pam kills a zombie, is arrested, gets out, and then figures out what is going on with the dead coming back to life. Nora¿s father was also kidnapped by a crazy man who wants him to make the vaccine for him. When Nora and Bram find out that her father is kidnapped and that New Victoria is being overrun with zombies, they make plans to save everyone. Of course, there are other details, but that basically sums things up.My thoughts:I really love Bram! He is the saving grace of this novel. Oh my god, his character is just the most adorable thing in the world. I could give or take everyone else, but rave about Bram for years to come. He almost replaces Valek from Poison Study in my heart, which is saying a ton, because Valek stole my heart years ago and no one has even come close until now. Dearly, Departed as a novel is long and hard to keep track of. I almost wish that I could have skipped some of the side stories so that I could have focused more on the relationship between Bram and Nora. There were several times in the story that I had to go back to figure out which character was leading the dialogue. Sometimes there is such a slight change in perspective because the same action is going on, so you have to really pay attention to the pronouns. This is a flaw because it pulls you out of the story; however, as I have mentioned several times, Bram is well worth some confusion. I look forward to book number 2.Rating: 5 stars
titania86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the year 2195, catastrophic events and society rebuilding itself has resulted in New Victoria being height of civilization and technology. Nora Dearly is just out of mourning. Her father died a year ago and she lives with her cold, uncaring aunt, who views the mourning as a social inconvenience and ruined Nora by putting them in great debt over the year her father has been dead. When Nora returns home from school for winter break, her ordered life is disrupted by crazed, flesh-eating zombies trying to kidnap her from her home. She ends up being kidnapped by an opposing faction of more sane, rational zombies who worked with her father. Captain Abraham Griswold AKA Bram, zombie soldier, takes an interest in Nora. At first, she is repulsed and rejects the zombies, no matter how civilized and nice they are. As they get to know each other, Nora and Bram feel an undeniable attraction resulting in an odd, yet sweet romance between the living and the dead. This pales in comparison to the zombie plague running through New Victoria. Can Nora, Bram, and the zombie troops save the city or will it be overrun with zombies?Dearly, Departed is an unexpected, genre bending adventure. The world is an impressive mixture of dystopia, steampunk, and advanced technology. The world has basically fallen apart and reduced to individual tribes without any sort of centralized government. A certain conservative tribe decided that the Victorian era was far enough in the past that no one had any emotional ties to it and liked the idea of the virtuous, moral society that they decided to adopt it as their own. The resulting situation is Victorian era fashion, sensibilities, and social constructs coupled with futuristic technology. New Victoria isn¿t the only tribe out there. The Punks are an opposing faction that abhors New Victoria and things they are making the same mistakes that led to the original destruction of society: a hierarchical model and a reliance on technology. The Punks promote basic technology that man is in control of: nothing digital and nothing that creates a false reality. I really like that the main society does have a backlash movement against it, but these two deign to cooperate when their very lives are at stake.In accordance with the New Victorian society, women are oppressed and can only succeed in limited fields if they navigate through the shark-infested waters of society by upholding ridiculous social constructs and customs. The two main female characters, Nora and Pamela, both have interests and attitudes outside of the realm of what is acceptable for their gender. I enjoyed seeing them just as frustrated as me when they were shunned or disapproved of for frivolous reasons and I relished with them when they overthrew the niceties of society when the situation became so dire that what people would think was the last thing on their minds.The zombies are a little different than the zombies you may be used to seeing, but no less awesome. A prion is the culprit and it¿s transmitted through bodily fluids, which of course includes biting. There are two types of zombies that result from infection: the mindless, ravenous zombies and coherent, sentient zombies. The sentient ones are just regular people who have the minor misfortune of being dead and the inconvenience of decomposing. The zombie soldiers are easily patched up when injured and take injections to further preserve them, but they will all eventually succumb to being a ravenous zombie when the prion destroys their brains. I like the new mode of infection and the logical reasons for two types of zombies.Dearly, Departed is a wonderful read that would appeal to a wide variety of readers. It has romance, adventure, zombies, action, science, and war. The only thing I didn¿t like about the novel was that the world building took a while and a lot was told to us rather than shown. Since the world has already been established, I predict that the second book will be even better as I e
Annesanse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿I can't even describe how much I loved this book!!! It was just amazing! This is the second zombie book I've ever read, and I'm extremely surprised to have loved them both. This one however may be my new favorite book. This was also my first foray into the steampunk genre, and I think I'm going to be a fan. I loved every one of the characters; I loved the mix of old-fashioned propriety and super advanced technology; I loved the science behind everything; I loved the humor; I loved the dialogue; I loved the emotion; I LOVED BRAM!! It was just. so. good. The romance was sweet and sexy, and all of the other relationships were wonderful as well. Like all books, it was slightly predictable in a few spots, but I didn't mind at all. Awesome story! Based on the ending, I'm guessing there will be a sequel. If so, I can't wait to read it! I listened to Dearly, Departed via Audiobook, and the narrators were amazing. I think each of them captured their characters perfectly. I'm actually thinking about going out and buying a hard copy just so I can have it on my shelf. Definitely one of my top 2 favorite books if not my number 1. I will read everything Lia Habel writes. :)P.S. Before I started this book, I read an interview by Lia Habel telling who she would cast in a movie version. I went into it picturing these people (I highly recommend this) as the characters and they were all perfect in my minds eye. She said that she would cast it like this: Nora Dearly - Emily BrowningBram Griswold - Gaspard UllielRenfield Merriweather - Matthew Gray GublerVespertine Mink - Gemma WardDr. Victor Dearly - Michael CaineDr. Baldwin Samedi - John Hamm ¿
yabotd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hold onto your pants people. Your mind is about to be blown. We're talking about a freaking zombie romance, for Tod's sake.And that's exactly why I picked up this book (the beautiful cover doesn't hurt). I heard "zombie romance" and thought, "Huh?" Curiosity more than anything else made me pick up Dearly, Departed and I can't even begin to tell you how glad I am that I did (though, you know, this is a review, so I'll try).Lia Habel is a genius meets mad scientist meets hopeless romantic. How she was able to conceive the idea for this book and carry it out so elegantly is far beyond my measly brain powers. If I were a zombie, her brain is the first I'd eat because there's obviously some good stuff going on up there.Okay, enough build-up. Let's get to it.I loved this book. It combined the best elements of several different types of stories. The Victorian angle gave it a great historical feel. But we're not in the Victorian era. We're in the New Victorian era complete with new technology and enough gadgets to make sci-fi readers smile. Plus, there's zombies, so fantasy and horror fans get their fill of flesh-eating undead creating havoc and mayhem all over the place. But then there are the zombified humans who keep their personalities and brain power. The ones that are kind and concerned and would never want to eat someone. The kind that can produce a good romance, though there won't be a lot going on physically (and, since it's an age of modesty, this is all very fitting).And you know what makes this book really great? It combines all those elements flawlessly with terrific writing and engaging storytelling. There is so much going on, from all the elements described above to the intricacies of the actual plot (which I'm not even going to begin to try to explain), yet, the book flows. Even with all the little pieces to put into place, I never felt lost. I also could never quite anticipate what was coming next either.Using several points of view can either make or break a book. Dearly, Departed proves just how effective this technique can be. We're not just in Bram and Nora's head either. We get into a whole slew of characters, which provides for richer storytelling. We can see what's going on with the rest of the world while Bram and Nora are where they are (no spoilers here people).I think I need to stop gushing now or I'll never be able to stop.Overall, I didn't know what to expect, but Dearly, Departed knocked my socks off. I can't wait for Dearly, Beloved.Final thoughts: Buy it. Now.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program. This is the first book in a trilogy. The second book (Dearly, Beloved) should be released some time in 2012. This was an incredibly creative book, for the most part I enjoyed it a lot.It is the year 2195 and Nora lives in New Victoria, a place that is a strange mix of the Victorian era and science fiction. Nora lives with her somewhat evil Aunt and her brother, her parents have both perished. Unexpectedly Nora finds herself gunning down mysterious killer zombies and kidnapped by some men in black. The men who kidnap Nora just happen to be affected by the Laz, basically they are dead. Among her kidnappers is the brave, handsome, and dead Bram. Bram tries to help Nora adjust to her surroundings but finds himself strangely drawn to her...and not in a "I am going to eat you for dinner" kind of way. Bram and Nora find themselves pulled into a plot that is part of a large government cover-up. When the news about the Laz gets out into the general public there is hell to pay and zombies are roaming the streets. Bram knows his time is limited, the dead can only "live" for so long, can him, his crew, and Nora save New Victoria before the whole population is zombified?This is one of the most creative books I have read for a while. You have a science fiction world where Victorian principle reign supreme. There are different types of Zombies using steampunk technology; and a government cover-up to rival Watergate. There are shot-guns, there are parasols, there are airships, and there is bioengineering. Pretty much everything one could ask for. Lots of action, some romance, and politics.This book has some complicated politics going on and to be honest it was a tad confusing in the beginning. You have the New Victorians and the Punks (two living competing factions), then you have the good zombies and the bad zombies (Bram's group and the Greys). The different groups of people believe different things to be true and there are some traitors thrown into the various groups just to mix things up. I enjoyed the complexity of it all, but did have a bit of trouble following for the first part of the story.Nora is an excellent character, as was Bram. Both are noble, caring, tough, and very likable. There were a number of awesome side characters as well. While the majority of the story switches between Nora and Bram's points of view, a large portion of the story is also told from Pamela's point of view (this is Nora's best friend). Some is told from Wolfe's point of view (Bram's commander) and some is told from Victor's point of view (Nora's father). The changing point of views is an area where I had some problems with the story. All of the point of view switching was a bit much, it broke up the story and drew things out. I liked hearing from Pamela and Nora/Bram. I think we should have just heard things either from Bram or Nora's point of view, not switched between both. Pamela had a very distinct voice. Bram and Nora sounded a lot alike, in fact I kept having to page back and check the beginning of the chapter to see whose point of view I was reading from...they just sounded identical and I wish they would have had more independent voices or styles.The point of view switching and the fact that Nora and Bram sound identical to each other made the story feel a bit sloppy. So, while I liked the book overall, I wish it had been cleaned up a bit more (especially for the first half of the book). The pace of the book was great, especially in the second half of the book. There is a lot going on and it is an absolutely wonderful read. Things wrap up nicely but are also set up for the next book Dearly, Beloved.Overall this was an absolutely amazingly creative book. I loved the complexity of the politics, the inclusion of crazy and wonderful things, and the likable characters. There were some flaws to the story too; the beginning of the book is a bit
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What first drew me to Dearly, Departed, other than the incredibly intriguing cover, was the unique story behind its publication and where the story originally came from. The story goes that Lia Habel started writing the book as a form of cheap entertainment for her friends. It got to a point where Lia's friends told her the story was so good that she had to find an agent. Not only after, Dearly Departed was sold to Del Ray after a heated auction.Dearly, Departed takes place in the year 2195 in a country known as New Victoria, a kind of futuristic, semi-dystopian-like world steeped in classic Victorian clothing, decor and mentality. Young Nora is a teen in high society, who prefers military history and political discourse to traditionally feminine things. Nora tries to fight the strangely antiquated social mores of the time, but her world is turned upside down when her parents die and she is kidnapped by zombies. It turns out that the zombie "disease" is very real in Nora's world, and Nora must now learn how to fight the disease, as well as the zombies. And it doesn't help when she falls in love with Bram, a zombie.Where do I start with Dearly, Departed? This books has just about everything going for it. The writing was quirky, smooth and well-done. The world was fascinating and fresh, and unlike any other world I've ever read about. The somewhat strange tension between the futuristic technology and the antiquated Victorian world were incredibly well depicted and really enjoyable. The characters were amazing, each one with a unique voice and fabulous dialog that made them come alive. For me, the characters were the high point of Dearly, Departed. They all felt so real, and their conflicts, some of which are a little out there, were easy to understand and relate to and, despite the zany zombies and other items in the book, at their core the characters dealt with very real issues that readers understand. These are the kinds of characters that I want to read more about.Quirky and fun, Dearly Departed has it all -everything that I enjoy about reading, and that was probably as much fun to write as it was to read. Excellent, excellent book that I'd recommend to everyone.
bluesun1218 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Think you've read one Zombie book you've read them all? Well guess again, Lia Habel has created a completely new world full of Zombies!Months ago I seen this book in the book store, I thought to my self, Wow I love the cover of that book! I had never heard of Lia Habel before and I ended up buying the book without reading what it was even about. I do that a lot, am I the only one? Anyway, the book has been on my bookshelf while I got caught up on other books on my pile and the other day I was looking on my shelf for the next book to read and I thought YES I can finally read this one. I dove right in and was immediately transported into a Victorian futuristic world. The main Character's Nora and Pamela are best friends, Nora is just coming out of mourning for the death of her Father and the girls are on their way home for break at school. Nora has a run in with a strange man that says he new her Father and that he was there to help her. Avoiding that situation she heads home where she lives with her Aunt. Days later Nora is ambushed by Zombies, she fights her way to the roof where she fights for her life until these men in black uniforms show up and kidnap her. She later finds out that one of her kidnappers is Bram, a zombie that hasn't lost his humanity.This is a fast paced book, being 467 pages that will literally fly by. I love Nora and Pamela, as well as Bram and his crew. This in my opinion is the best book I've read yet this year! Anxiously awaiting book 2 in the series called Dearly Beloved which will be released later this year.
danisnell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I first heard of Dearly, Departed, I was incredibly intrigued by the concept of a girl falling in love with a¿zombie? I mean, I¿ve gotten on board with the whole falling for the undead thing before (Twilight, anyone?), but typically, you don¿t think of zombies ¿ slow-moving, mindlessly-grunting, brain-eating, flesh-rotting zombies ¿ as a potential love interest. Let¿s face it. Zombies are all kinds of gross and decidedly NOT sexy. So I was really curious as to how Lia Habel was going to win me over to her particular brand of undead leading man. But she did it. She totally did it, and Dearly, Departed has found a place on my favorites shelf. And zombies? Well, zombies¿ perhaps they¿re not so bad or so gross after all. The world Habel has created is one of the most interesting I¿ve come across in a while. The year is 2195 and the place, South America. A global ice age and a second American Civil War (that wasn¿t so civil) caused a mass migration southward into the countries of South America. In this post-apocalyptic environment, the survivors began to rebuild their civilization, modeling it after what they considered to be the epitome of refinement, success and etiquette ¿ the Victorian era. The Victorian era, but with nifty gadgets such as phones, computers, digitized tablets, and holographic emitters. While not fitting the traditional category of steampunk where technology is advanced yet runs on steam, Habel¿s neo-Victorian world is definitely a fascinating blend of the past and present. All in all, the world-building that has been done for Dearly, Departed is complex, rich in history, and boasts incredible depth. It¿s a world I happily lost myself in for several hours, and can¿t wait to immerse myself in again. While the citizens of New Victoria have successfully revived their society from the ashes of war and natural disaster, while their achievements are truly a wonder, they have unfortunately regressed in other areas. Particularly that of civil rights. In adopting Victorian styles and ideals, the people of New Victoria have also adopted the class system that was so prevalent in that era. They shun those considered ¿beneath¿ them, and treat women as delicate creatures whose virtue and fragility of mind must be upheld and protected at all times. It¿s interesting to see this shift in mindset, and to note that the women survivors ¿ who undoubtedly fought just as hard as the men for the opportunity to live and rebuild ¿ apparently decided to acquiesce to these archaic feminine ideals. However, not everyone agreed with the new civilization that was being constructed and those individuals, labeled Punks, left to live on their own and have been at odds with the New Victorian government ever since. I went into Dearly, Departed with the preconception that this book was Nora¿s story, and while largely it is, it is not hers alone. As with many other books I¿ve read of late, Habel does not only tell the story from Nora¿s perspective but employs multiple narrators ¿ five in all. Each of the five narrators tell their story from a first person perspective, which makes for a an interesting and rounded-out view of events, characters and the world at large. While juggling five unique viewpoints could potentially be very confusing for a reader, Habel does a good job of clearly differentiating between narrators, and never once did I find myself confused. And who are these five narrators, you may ask? The three primary points of view comes form Nora Dearly, Capt. Abraham (Bram) Griswold, and Pamela Roe ¿ Nora¿s best friend. The two others appear less regularly and for the sake of the story, I¿ll let you, Dear Reader, discover those on your own. Nora Dearly, while raised to a life of privilege due to her father¿s esteemed service to the government, is ¿ internally if not externally ¿ the antithesis of the ideal New Victorian woman. Of an age where securing a good marriage for better social status and future financial security should be
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Steampunk - Zombie - YA novel?! Be still my heart. I was thrilled to see three genres that I enjoy all rolled up into one. Even more interesting than the genre mix, I also found it surprising that although the year is 2195, society is living in a Victorian society while using technology that we can only dream of having.There were many things I liked about Dearly, Departed.... the earlier paragraph for instance. I enjoyed the world building, the zombies, the characters, etc. I liked Nora and Bram - and their unique romance. You know, it is a first for me to find a girl in love with a zombie. I even enjoyed reading of the war with the Punks. But it took me almost 200 pages to actually get into the story. The first chapter was awesome but I had a hard time fully getting immersed in the story... I'm not really sure why, I just felt that I had to try to hard. I think the main problem might have been the oh-so-many points-of-view. Even more disconcerting was the fact that they are told in the first person. And although the characters differ in age and sex, I still found myself wondering several times whose chapter it was that I was reading. While I do enjoy a book told using various perspectives, I found that five different narrators (Bram, Nora, Pam, Wolfe, and Victor) may have been a bit much. The Wolfe and Victor chapters quite frankly felt unnecessary. I found that those story lines could have been told using other methods and cutting down on the constant character changes and possibly in my confusion. All in all, I found Dearly, Departed to be a good start to the series. While I didn't love it and most likely will not run out to immediately buy the next installment in the series, I will undoubtedly get around to reading it.
krystal_osmond on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It took me a while to get into this book I must say. The cover is gorgeous and it has a very interesting and original premise, but every time I took it out to read, I just found myself reading the same sentence over and over and just wanting to read something else. But I kept at it, and I'm pretty happy that I did. It ended up not taking too long for me to get into the book once I got started.The whole human and zombie romance is very new to me, actually, the whole zombie thing is new. (I haven't been able to get into the zombie books out there, for some reason they don't appeal to me that much) But this zombie book had more of a storyline to it, instead of just fighting, blood, guts, and gore so that maybe helped keep things lively for me. Who knows, this may be the start of a whole new genre for me to read! The year is 2195, and the way that Lia Habel describes it is very unique. Her future world, called New Victoria is basically just as it sounds, a Victorian, antique era mixed with crazy new technology and cell phones. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book, I think it was very intruiging and had me wondering what it would be like to live like that. (The only thing I couldn¿t wrap my head around was the fact that in Dearly, Departed women were just objects basically. They were married into money and status and told to sit and look pretty and don¿t say a word unless invited. I think (we) women would have a hard time going back to those ways again in the future.)The main characters in Lia Habels Dearly, Departed are Bram and Nora. Nora being the human girl and Bram being the zombie. I instantly connected with Nora, she a strong character who perseveres through so much and she doesn't give a hoot about what people say in the long run. With her being a "young lady" in the New Victorian age, she has rules to follow and standards to live up to. But she follows the beat of her own drum, and she is witty! She had me laughing out loud a few times while reading. And Bram, whodathunk!? A zombie who is respectful, charming and good-looking? He was the point of view that I enjoyed reading the most. The way he tells the story was to me what made the book as good as it was. Dearly, Departed is read through five different narratives, and at first that was challenging but proved to be fine later on. I really enjoyed reading Nora and Bram's POV's. I couldn't get into Victor's point of view, but that was just a minor detail in the grand scheme of things in my opinion. Habel's writing is enjoyable and descriptive. I was able to paint the story in my head which to me is a huge deal. Habel is able to take this zombie love story and make it work somehow. You may even forget that Bram is a zombie and not some laid back alive human!Dearly, Departed was a good read, after I was able to really get into it, it was worth it. I cannot wait to see what¿s instore for Nora and Bram in Dearly, Beloved
squirrelsohno on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I saw DEARLY, DEPARTED by Lia Habel on NetGalley, it automatically became my first request. Science fiction-meets-steampunk-meets-zombies?! You had me at hello! My own hype for this book became an undeniable and overwhelming force in my head. When I dug into the book and started reading, I found myself growing disappointed. The writing is nice and the plot is very original and unique, but there was just something¿missing, I guess you could say. Or maybe it just had way too much to deal with.DEARLY, DEPARTED tells the stories of Nora Dearly (a young orphaned student living in a future Earth that has gone back to Victorian ways), Abraham Griswold (an army captain and zombie), Pamela Roe (Nora¿s poor best friend), and Victor Dearly (Nora¿s scientist father). I might have actually missed someone. Wolfe? I think he had a chapter, but let¿s forget him. This novel had a lot of POVs ¿ I¿m thinking there were no less than five first person narrators constantly switching back and forth. Herein lies the first problem of the book ¿ there is way too much head jumping going on, and this added weight also inflates the page count and drags down the pacing of the novel. At 470 pages, this is a thick book. Losing 150 pages or so and a POV or two wouldn¿t have hurt it.Another problem I suffered from was the setting. I have a hard time believing in the premise of the world Habel created. Why would the world revert back to a Victorian way of life? Why would South American governments allow all these Anglo-Saxons to take over their continent? I would have liked to know more about this because in this state it wasn¿t entirely believable. I enjoyed her creativity and her attention to detail, such as the futuristic hints and bits and bobs. The book is described as steampunk, but I didn¿t get nearly enough of the steam to make this work in that capacity. There were occasional hints of steampunk ideas, but it wasn¿t entirely there.But there was stuff I loved! Don¿t worry, this isn¿t going to be a completely negative review because I actually liked this in the end. The characters were just great. Nora and Pam were both kick butt heroines, just the type of character that I love to show off on Book Brats. And Bram¿ For a zombie he is charming, sweet, and just to die for. I¿m feeling punny today, so shoot me! There was just a tiny bit of instalove going on, but I was swept off my feet by the amazing Bram just like Nora was. I was rooting for them from the moment they met, and they romance was all too sweet and believable.Writing action sequences is definitely one of Habel¿s strong suits. Fighting zombies with weapons as varied as guns and parasols, she conveys a real sense of urgency and anxiety to the reader. Although she gets carried away by adverbs and other modifiers almost every sentence of the book, in these scenes of panic and hurry we are swept up in the story and can¿t help but be pulled along. Zombies fighting zombies is especially fun, and for these scenes alone, I would recommend the book. Paired with an excellent romance and some smarmy characters that you will want to punch just like our heroes, and DEARLY, DEPARTED definitely has stuff going for it. It just also has issues I couldn¿t look past.VERDICT: At 3.5/5 stars rounded down, this book suffered from too many pages, too many POVs, and too many adverbs, but with a romance you¿ll root for, a great original premise, and action scenes galore, it¿s a book you should still pick up.
jwitt33 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received an eARC of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.My honest opinion is that I LOVED this book! I've always had a thing for the undead, but it was always vampires or ghosts, never zombies! But after meeting Bram, I'm going to have to amend that to include one zombie in particular. 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."This is kind of a futuristic steampunk-ish book, which sounds weird, but it totally worked here. The writing was superb and the characters were totally fleshed out (yes, that is a really bad zombie pun!).This story was told from 5 points of view, and where normally I might find that a bit confusing, each different voice was so unique and true to the character that I never had a problem following who was narrating at any given time. Each POV gave a different dimension to the story and definitely moved the story along and made it easier to understand what was happening. The book summary gives a really good description of the book, so I don't need to reiterate what it's about, but what I can tell you is that this book is definitely worth reading! It moves along at a good pace, so it was a quick read for me. I am highly anticipating the next book in the series and will be one of the first to buy it (if possible) because I can't WAIT to find out what happens with Nora and Bram :D
AnnaKay21 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nora Dearly has been raised as the proper New Victorian young lady, but rather than calling on neighbors and making an advantageous match, her interests lie in war and politics. All Nora wants is to not be alone in the world as an orphan, with scheming Aunt Gene who has brought them to the verge of financial ruin. Is a little adventure and excitement a little too much to ask for? Be careful what you wish for Nora, it may just bite you in the backside Zombie-style! One evening when killer zombies try to kidnap Nora from her home, Company Z flys in to the rescue, led by Captain Bram Griswold and made up of 'good' zombies. Can Nora learn to trust Bram and the others enough to help save some semblance of civilization and to hold her life together after a shocking revelation about her Father? I received this book from a pre-publication club that one of my colleagues runs at our library. WOW. I can't say that it blew me away completely, but it was about a four point five star book for me. My only real complaint is that once the battle is over, the actual ending of the book is fairly lackluster. It doesn't have as much of a nail-biting cliffhanger as I'd have liked. Nora Dearly is a heroine for the ages and I am SO glad that Lia Habel was published and that this book is going to be out in the world. So, this book is SO MUCH MORE than what the description makes it out to be! If you were to listen to the blurb, you'd think it was a Romeo and Juliet-type book with zombies. NOT THE CASE. What little romance there is happens to build very slowly and isn't realized until the end of the novel. This book belongs to the characters and their personal trials and tribulations. Ms. Habel switches points of view between Nora, Bram, Nora's best friend Pamela, Nora's father Victor,and a few times she tackles the thoughts of Wolfe, the living military commander of the Z Company. I was impressed by how seamlessly Victorian ideals, fashions and lifestyles were interwoven with technology. I particularly liked that this was a slightly dystopian, post-apocalyptic society with a very thought-out and intricate governmental system and secret military operations. Nora and Pam were very strong female leads for this novel and even less realized characters such as Vespertine Mink (the girls' school nemesis) and Michael Allister (mealy-mouthed boy next door) were entertaining and added to the story. Near the end of the novel there is a particularly entertaining incident with Pamela and Michael which I will not spoil for readers in this review! :) Chas, Tom, Coalhouse, Renfield, Dr. Samedi and Dr. Beryl Chase bring a very human element to the plight of the zombies and all of them have wonderful personalities that lend a witty flavor to the narrative (Samedi's detachable head is particularly amusing). There are also are well-developed villains who take your breath away in some scenes and leave you terrified of their recklessness/insanity in others. I myself am not a particularly avid fan of zombie literature. But this novel is far more than just another zombie book. It has a heart and soul, with wonderful characters tying it together. I would recommend this fast-paced, thrilling, adventurous book that HAPPENS to include zombies to anyone that loves a smart, sharp read.VERDICT: 4.5/5 Stars*No money was exchanged for this ARC copy or this review* Don't forget to put this one on your to-read list and definitely check it out when it becomes available in October! :)
mimi-vee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've actually never been the biggest fan of zombies before. But when I first found out that this wasn't just any zombie book -- but one that took place in a futuristic world with Victorian era elements -- I just had to check it out. And it was nothing short of awesome! :)The whole idea of mixing together so many cool elements was genius on Lia Habel's part! She incorporated cool futuristic technology with the walking dead and poofy dresses perfectly. There was something about how she built her world that made me want to live there but not at the same time.I'll admit that Dearly, Departed started off a little slow for me, but once the action picked up, I'm so glad I stuck with it! I adored Nora and Bram with all my heart, and how sweet and "awww!"-worthy their romance was. And even though five different first-person narratives seemed like too much at times, it helped to fill in the gaps and I really loved seeing Nora through Bram's eyes -- so sweet!PLUS: The zombies weren't all evil. Loved them!Overall, Dearly, Departed was a great edition to the zombie, dystopian, and Victorian era genres! It was cool and original and had some absolutely HILARIOUS one-liners at the most surprising times. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!BUY or BORROW?: Gorgeous cover + original story + a kick-butt heroine with a gun = a book you totally want to have on your shelf! ;)
books_n_tea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I actually finished this book at the beginning of October 2011, and yet it has taken me nearly three months to write a review. Honestly, Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel is easily the best book I read in 2011. I think that¿s why it has taken me so long to write this. It would be easy to gush about this book to others who loved the book as much as I did. But, it¿s a little more difficult to write something that won¿t spoil the book for those who haven¿t read it yet. Alas, here are my best attempts.There is a subtitle on the front cover that says ¿Love can never die¿. Initially I rolled my eyes and wondered what I had gotten myself into. Had I picked up yet another love story dripping with insufferable angst? And oh God, please don¿t let this be about vampires. Luckily I was wrong. Habel¿s Dearly, Departed, although tinged with romance, is surprisingly deep.Much of the world we know has been destroyed by catastrophic climate changes, disease, famine, and a global war. Even though the story takes place far in the future where there is technology we can only dream of, Nora¿s world has reverted back to more conservative, Victorian times in order to prevent further destruction. Despite their efforts, there is trouble brewing. Dearly, Departed is delightfully political but in a way that isn¿t overwhelming to readers. The book delves into problems like classism; the problems Pamela Roe, Nora¿s best friend, faces as a middle class citizen surrounded by a ¿new aristocracy¿ only begins to scratch the surface. Then, there are violent revolts led by the Punks in the south that threaten New Victoria¿s reign of peace. On top of that, a new virus has broken out that is turning people into zombies, and this disease has no prejudices.The book takes an interesting turn when Nora finds herself in the company of civilized, undead soldiers who seem more humane than some of the people she is forced to associate with. Overtime, Nora begins to develop feelings for Bram, who many look up to as a leader. It¿s not as disturbing as it sounds (well, kind of considering Bram is decaying). But, the romance between the two characters is so genuine I may have felt my heart flutter.Habel¿s book also tells the story from five point of views¿ Nora, Pamela, Bram, Victor, and Wolfe. Each offer valuable insight into the world¿s current disarray, however some POVs are more interesting than others. I didn¿t favor Wolfe¿s or Victor¿s POV, but luckily they didn¿t get as many chapters as the other characters. I found Pamela¿s to be most interesting because she had more complex obstacles to overcome. Although, both are strong female characters who deserve to be considered among the ranks of heroines like Hermione Granger and Katniss Everdeen.Overall,I don¿t know if this adequately conveys how much I loved this book. So, I¿ll go about it another way. The only books I¿ve ever re-read are the Harry Potter books, but that¿s about to change. I definitely belive I will find myself re-reading Dearly, Departed.
Ani36ol on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What an awesomely, wonderful first novel for Lia Habel! It grabs you from the first page and refuses to let go until the final period. The characters are so well fleshed out and their backgrounds slowly revealed that you end up loving every one of them...okay most of them! The format, short chapters, each written in the voice of an individual character, make it so easy to read that I ended up reading the whole book in just two sittings. One of the things I really enjoyed was how Ms. Habel defined the relationships between characters in much the same way relationships were defined during the Civil War between blacks and whites, North and South. Some overcame as does the Punks and some Royals in the be continued of course (I hope)!This is an amazing book and I can't wait for more from Lia Habel!
RtB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by SabrinaReview copy was an ARC won at GoodreadsWarning, mild spoilers ahead I started SUPER liking this book. The characters were great and the dialogue was believable. I was totally sucked into the book. I even developed a little crush on Bram. Until I found out he was already dead. He wasn't dying, or alive and then bitten later in the book. No. He was dead. Already dead for about a year. Put the book down and didn't pick it up for a week. I could not get over it. I am still not really over it. I don't know what it is. Otherwise I TOTALLY would have given it a higher rating. This was my personal issue with the book. I doubt other people will be the same way. There's nothing overly gross about it. It just.. weirded me out. Anyway, the characters were great. Really great. And all very different from each other. The dialogue wasn't forced. At all. It seemed very natural. The plot was crazy and well thought out. There were a couple scenes where I was a little confused as to what was going on. She was also in quite a few people's heads so sometimes it wasn't completely cohesive, but I got the early copy so maybe future prints will have cleared that up. All in all, not a bad book. The cover is even gorgeous. Read it. Let me know if you can get over the dead aspect.
VictoriaStrauss on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sexy teenage zombies? Yeah, I was skeptical too. But in Dearly, Departed Lia Habel just about made me believe it.This is a fun adventure/romance with an intriguingly unusual take on the zombie theme. Yes, there's a zombie plague, with hordes of ravening flesh-eaters--but some zombies wake up with their minds intact and are able to refrain from gobbling flesh. Of course they require a lot of medical and mechanical intervention by sympathetic living people to keep them from, well, rotting away--Habel comes up with some ingenious steampunkish scenarios for zombie maintenance--but otherwise they can live pretty much like normal people.This YA debut novel is well-plotted and paced, with exciting action scenes and a host of appealing characters (and, of course, some pretty horrible bad guys). The romance between the living heroine and the zombie hero develops believably, even if it sidesteps a number of important questions (um, sex? He's dead, after all). The story is told from multiple first-person points of view--and that's my only major quibble, because the narrative voices really aren't distinct from one another (always a danger with this sort of narrative structure). If I stopped reading in the middle of a chapter, I often had to check the chapter heading to see whose head I was in.Overall, an extremely promising start to a cool new series. I can't wait for the next installment.
novelgoddess on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is 2195 in New Victoria. New Victoria is a post-apocalyptic nation that has modeled itself on the manners and fashions of the ¿original¿ Victorian era.Nora Dearly is just through her year of mourning her father¿s passing. She lives with her aunt, whom she isn¿t terribly fond of, goes to school with her best friend, and scholarship student, Pamela Roe. And has an obsession with watching war documentaries.One day, a stranger approaches her and tells her she is in danger. Unbeknownst to Nora, she¿s been targeted for kidnapping. But the good guys get her first. So who are the good guys? They are a military group that has been infected by the Lazarus virus and who hold Nora¿s father in the highest esteem and will do anything to protect her.This was a fantastically fun roller coaster ride!I absolutely LOVED the juxtaposition of the New Victorian era based on the original Victorian era. How the writer eschewed the more ¿modern¿ options for just about everything in favor of a slightly modernized version of the antique. Futuristic Steam-Punk! It was great! I have to say I was cringing at the possibility of ¿Zombie-Love¿¿wasn¿t sure if I could deal with it and all it implied¿thankfully, the author handled that with gentility and grace! I loved when Bram knocked on Chas¿s door and found Tom in bed with her and Bram explained that love between zombies equated to snuggling and basically being there for each other. Bram and Nora were rather chaste which really helped keep my skeeve level down. And having been skeeved out by many a zombie book, this one was refreshing in comparison! Having said that though, Bram was definitely swoon-worthy!I loved all the characters! I had such high hopes for Pamma and Alister, but she put him right where he belonged! The banter between the characters was so witty and laugh-out-loud funny! Lots of action scenes here which I think would translate to the ¿big screen¿ beautifully. Overall, I can¿t praise this book enough! And I can¿t wait to see what Lia Habel does in the next installment. I hope she can maintain bar she has set for herself!
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Several centuries into the future, Nora Dearly, daughter of a renowned and recently deceased doctor, lives in New Victoria. Her physically comfortable but emotionally stifling life is shattered when she is kidnapped by what appears to be an army of good zombies¿and finds out about a virus that infects humans and turns them into either good or bad zombies.As Nora learns more about ¿the Laz,¿ the government¿s cover-up, and the truth behind her father¿s death, she spends time with Bram, an intelligent and kind-hearted zombie. Bram may technically be dead, but he still cares about others¿especially, as they get to know one another better, Nora.Can Nora and Bram¿s feelings for one another find a place in the midst of the looming catastrophe?Oooh. DEARLY, DEPARTED was fun, fun, fun. If one overlooks some inconsistencies in worldbuilding, supporting character development, and plot, then Lia Habel¿s paranormal/steampunk debut is a charming read that¿s sweet and funny.I¿m at the point now with my YA reading where any mention of a romance in the synopsis puts me on guard. Because, come on now, how many more insta-romances, too-good-to-be-true boys, or dickwad love interests do we really need? This, however, is why Nora and Bram stood out to me so much. The multi-POV narration (admittedly unnecessary at times) really added to this couple¿s attractiveness, both to one another and to us readers. Bram is a total sweetheart who is nevertheless also a guy, not some ideal creation of a love interest. The premise is moderately well-developed and the pacing uneven at points¿quite action-packed in the beginning, followed by uneven spurts of information and a climax that felt the tiniest bit rushed. But it¿s the characters that make DEARLY, DEPARTED stand out from the pack of paranormals or steampunks being released. These characters are a RIOT! They deliver the most wonderful zingers in their dialogue that made me literally guffaw. DEARLY, DEPARTED may be set in a futuristic/anachronistic world that may require a bit of suspension of disbelief, but these characters could be kids in any high school today. Lia Habel fills her characters with heart instead of ideals, with the result that readers will have a good time hanging out with Nora, Bram, & Co.If you¿re looking for a funny and romantic speculative fiction read this fall, consider checking out Lia Habel¿s debut novel, DEARLY, DEPARTED and be prepared to be thoroughly entertained!
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow! What a wonderful, surprising story! I was a bit apprehensive when I read the blurb for this one. I thought the author might be trying to do too much - science fiction, steampunk, Victorian mores, and zombies - but Lia Habel pulled it off masterfully. This story is filled with interesting and very likable characters. It didn't take me more than a few pages to fall in love with Nora. She is such an intriguing character with a quirky sense of humor and unique viewpoint.I loved the touches of humor in this rather grim story. The basic story is an adventure. These people are fighting a war against a disease that is turning large number of people into zombies but the general public doesn't know it. The government is trying to keep the whole zombie epidemic secret from the populace of New Victoria who are living their lives according to Victorian values. Nora doesn't really fit in. She isn't really lady-like. She likes watching holos of wars. She is mourning the death of her father who had died the previous year and is in the guardianship of her aunt who is a social-climbing spendthrift. When she is kidnapped by zombies her whole life undergoes readjustment. She finds out that there are good zombies (those who have kept their minds) and bad zombies. She also finds out that her father is still "alive" but a zombie himself. Her father is searching for a vaccine that will keep normal people from becoming zombies. There are a number of factions who want him to succeed and another number who want him to fail.Nora is captured by Bram and his unit. They are all zombies and are working with her father to keep the bad zombies away from the normal humans. Bram is upright and honorable and, except for the being dead thing, a wonderful romantic hero. He treats Nora like a human being with a brain which immediately wins her over. Nora quickly comes to trust him.The story is told from a variety of viewpoints. Each chapter is told from one of the characters perspective. Some of the viewpoint characters are Bram, Nora, Pamela who is Nora's lower-class best friend, Wolfe who is the human officer in charge of Bram's unit and the other good zombies, and Victor who is Nora's father. Seeing the story through all these sets of eyes illuminates the world and the problems.This story is an exciting adventure and a sweet, touching romance. Don't let the zombies scare you off from a wonderful reading experience.
Jibar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So, why did I want to read this book? It should be obvious. Steampunk, the future and zombies in one novel? It honestly seemed too good to be true. Never mind the fact that I normally really don't like "busy" novels. I think this is a busy novel to be completely honest.But it totally works in its favor. I just recently really got into Steampunk as a genre, and generally zombies have not been my favorite supernatural creature. However, I think it works very well together in this book. It does have a touch of dystopian as well, I think. It starts with a general rundown of Nora's recent life (her father's death, etc) and what society's like as well. Actually, I'm not quite sure right now, but I think after a nuclear catastrophe only a handfull of people survive and after surviving more or less rage a war, which forges the two camps: New Victorians and Punks. The New Victorians (or Royals as they are called by the Punks) rely on technology for the better part of their life. They have embraced the customs of the Victorian Era, because it seemed to be an era filled with virtue. The Punks say that technology was their ancestors downfall and are against it. Although to be honest this conflict is not really the center of the novel, it takes place on the sidelines.Because after Nora is kidnapped, she discovers that there is more to her society than she thought. The living dead exist, in fact some of them even fight in the ongoing conflict between the Punks and the New Victorians. I'm not going to go into detail, because that would be taking way too long at this point. I am, however, going to say that I love how the world was constructed. It seems very believable to me, the decisions that were made in the past I can actually see happening, and most of the characters were very likeable. In fact, I liked everyone except maybe Pamela, although I have no idea what she did (or didn't do) to make me dislike her.During the course of the novel, the reader understands the different kinds of zombies better I think, how the disease works and how Nora learns to deal with every new piece of information she gets. It's a really ... interesting process I think. I mean, it seems very well thought out, no (living) character is suddenly like "Oh, there are zombies? How cool!" because that is not how the general public would react, I'm sure. I'm still a little astonished at the believability, because a novel like this shouldn't be believable, but it is!The only problem I had was the beginning. The rundown of Nora's life, what she does and how people (have to) behave. It actually bored me a little. I'm not quite sure how long that lasted. Maybe fifty pages? But once Nora was kidnapped and all the action (which is extremely well written I'd like to point out) starts ... Well, let's just say I couldn't put it down and shed a few tears at the end!
GreatImaginations on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dearly, Departed was easily one of the strangest books I have read this year. Not because of the plot, characters, or setting. It was because of the romance between Nora and Bram. Bram's a little bit different than most people. It's because he's not human. He's a zombie and he's kind of falling apart. But somehow Nora falls for him and she's human. I'm not going to lie. The romance kind of squicked me out. But it also worked too. Because I also sort of fell for Bram myself. Yeah, he was a zombie. But he was also an awesome person with a great personality. And the bond between Nora and Bram is strong. And it's built on a great foundation of friendship. So yeah, there's that. Moving on. The setting of this book was absolutely kickass. When I read the blurb for this book, I thought it would never work. It sounded ridiculous. Corny even. A steampunk setting in the year 2195? In Central America? With zombies? Surprisingly, it wasn't. I loved it so much. The imagery was fantastic and it blew me away. Not corny in the least. I cannot imagine the thought process that went into writing something like this. What a great imagination this author has. In these pages you will find underground cities, gas lamps, airships, zombie doctors and military, numerous electronic devices (it is the future after all), and all manner of steampunk gadgetry. Putting it simply, this was just a very cool book. And then there were the characters. They were extremely well-written with differing personalities. Some of my favorite characters were zombies. I loved Chas (short for Chastity), the petite female zombie with a metal plate in her lower jaw because her teeth fell out. I also loved Renfield. He was the nerdy zombie boy with a penchant for chess and computers. Some of the things these two said made me laugh out loud. And then there was Doctor Sam, the zombie that somehow rigged his body so he could walk around headless. That's right. He kept his head on a hook in the lab and walked around and did his work without it. Bizarre? You betcha. Nora was the outspoken female protagonist that raised a ruckus everywhere she went. I like to think I have a little bit of Nora in me. She was fun, loud, and a fighter. The characters were amazing. If I have one complaint about Dearly, Departed it's that I found the book a bit long for the plot line that we were given. I didn't have any issues with pacing, but somehow I would have liked to see the book cut down in a few places for length. I am afraid that it might deter some readers who are looking for a quick payoff with their reading material. I enjoyed the descriptions and world-building. I'm not so sure that everyone will. It might be a bit excessive for a young adult novel. I had no issues with this whatsoever, but I'm also in the business of recommending books to other readers, so I feel as if it's something I have to point out. But I LOVED it. End result, I loved this book and I love this series. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one. Steampunk is not for everyone, but it is a genre that is quickly moving up on my list of favorites. Extremely unique book from a debut author that I feel we will be seeing a lot of in the future.