Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

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Dearly, Departed
Lia Habel
Release date: October 18th
by Random House Publishing Group
Format: Ebook

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.

*A copy was provided by Random House Publishing for review purposes*

Dashing zombies anybody? Dearly, Departed has quite the original zombie lore. I really enjoyed it and thought it was brilliantly done. Stephenie Meyer took vampires and made them sparkly. But Lia Habel, she took zombies (!), and made them charming! There’s just no beating that!

This story takes place in a future after a volcano almost ends humanity. The new age is called New Victoria – yup, it’s Victorian age with holographs and cell phones. It’s pretty neat and very well thought out. Obviously, there are zombies included – some bad and some… not so bad. I thoroughly enjoyed the lore that Lia created.

When I first saw Dearly, Departed, it’s the cover that drew me in. It has to be my favorite cover of 2011. Then, when I read the synopsis, even though it sounded pretty neat, I was a bit wary of the “finding true love in a zombie” part. I love zombies. I’ve watched every zombie movie and enjoyed quite a few zombie books. But zombies are scary! They’re gross; cannibals; mutilated – Ick. I was doubtful that anyone could convince me that zombies could ever be boyfriend material *puke*. So, obviously, Lia is a genius, and she did it: She somehow made her zombies cute!

The world building was fantastic. The first half of the book was used to explain this new world and how the zombies came about. If there are any holes in it, I didn’t see any. It was complete and very well explained, as well as extremely creative. There were a few clichés. Private school, rich mean girl, best friend with a crush on the guy who wants Nora, but it was mostly all in the beginning and used to illustrate how it’s not extremely different from the present – just a bit old fashioned. Women with dresses; travel in carriages, etc. But girls are still girls! Once the zombies arrive, though, the clichés go out the window. So all in all, I found it truly original.

The book is divided into several point of views. We have the two protagonists, Nora and Bram, but we also see a few side characters’ POV – even the villain’s, which is very interesting. I found all of the characters really enjoyable with distinct voices and fun personalities. It was great to be able to see Nora with the “good” zombies and then her friend Pam who was unaware of any zombies, good or evil, nor where her friend had disappeared to. We got to see both sides of the coin.

Any zombie lover should definitely pick this one up. At the very least, you’ll have a gorgeous cover on your bookshelf!

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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31 Responses to “Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel”

  1. Shirley

    ZOMBIES! I think I should start reading zombie books now (I can’t believe I’ve never read one before!). Hmm…alternating POVs? Glad to see you found them distinct & enjoyable! Usually they don’t work for me, but I’ll definitely try this out!

  2. Andrea

    Oh, I’m so glad you loved this. I really want to read it & I’m so afraid I’ve built it up too much in my head. Now I can’t wait!
    Great review!

  3. Giselle

    Thanks guys! I found the alternating POVs pretty fun but I know some people don’t like it. Try it and see, it’s definitely a cool premise.

    Let me know what you think of it Krazyyme

    Andrea, I had it built up a lot in my head because of that gorgeous cover, and I wasn’t disappointed! Looking forward to seeing your review!

  4. Anna

    I’m reading this one right now, and you’re right I love this cover! I’m a huge freak for alternating POVs so I’m really excited about that! Awesome review, I can’t wait to read this one 🙂

  5. Kelly

    Great review! I love the cover of this book, but the fact that it has zombies is actually a bit of a turnoff for me–I just don’t understand the whole zombie-appeal, even if I did like two of the books in The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy, and even though I did like 28 Days Later. After reading your review, though, I am really intrigued by this book, and am definitely adding it to my TBR list.

  6. Melliane

    I just love the cover of this one ! I think that even without reading the synopsis I would love to read the book ! But I really like the ideas too, the period, the zombies ! I’m really curious to read it ! thanks for the review

  7. Ryssi

    Gosh, this book! I has to be one of the most anticipated one of the month, and I couldn’t agree with you more about the cover. Stunning. >.<

    Only a few mroe days until the release date! Huzzah!

  8. Kathy Ann Coleman

    Great review. I cannot wait to get my hands on this one. 😀 If Dearly, Departed has piqued your interest in Zombie romance, might I suggest the Generation Dead series by Daniel Waters? It is absolutely brilliant and not to be missed if seeing an author make zombies likable (or more) has intrigued you.

    Have a great day!

  9. Giselle

    I love all the nice comments guys! Thank you!

    Book Sake: I’m glad you enjoyed it too! Did you post your review yet? I didn’t see it I don’t think.

    Kathy Ann: I’ve never heard of that series no, I’ll go take a look on GR! 🙂 Thanks!

    Karen: The age setting is really cool I would have never thought of that. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it!

  10. TG

    This really sounds great. I hope I enjoy it just as much as you did. I’m already excited about learning about this world the author has created!

  11. Candace

    I totally agree! She somehow managed to make zombies cute! I think it was mostly the personality that did that, but it works! So glad you really enjoyed this one too. I also LOVE the cover!

  12. fivealarmbookreviews.com

    Hi Giselle. I just posted my review. I really enjoyed the read. I agree, the storyline is completely original. Great review. Feel free to add your review link to the linky at the end of my Dearly Departed review.

  13. Natalia Belikov @ DazzlingReads

    hahaha I love your review! cute zombies are boyfriend material? woooow! I really want this book asap! I want, for first time, fall for zombie! XDDD

    thakns for sharing! hope the price goes a little bit down in bookdepository so I can buy it soon ^_^

    muah!

  14. A Canadian Girl

    I don’t love zombies because like you my thought about them is ick but I’m dying to read this one since I love the steampunk genre. I’m glad the zombies are cute rather than gross because that would just put me off the romance lol.

  15. Dani @ Refracted Light

    LOL… it appears we both felt very similarly about this book in regard to the world-building and the curiosity about a zombie as a love interest. LOVED this book, everything about it which is weird, since I don’t really even like zombies in the first place… 🙂 Great review Giselle and thanks for stopping by mine!