Oct 10, 2011

*ARC Review--Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel*

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, steampunk meets 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.

I received this ARC from the publisher for review
I was stoked to have received an ARC of Lia Habel's debut Dearly, Departed. It sounded like an incredible read! A mish-mash of dystopian and paranormal and all sorts of excitement! It didn't disappoint either!

First let me get through the teeny-tiny negatives I had about the book, and that was mostly the history lessons we had to have, it is pretty necessary but at times I got a little lost with all the info. It wasn't necessarily info dumping, but it was still a LOT to take in! There's so much history we need to learn and why things are the way they are.

It's the year 2195 and a lot has happened. One thing I found interesting was that some of the people, particularly the group we focus with, Nora and her friends and family, all live in a Victorian way of life. In fact they live in New Victoria. It was kind of odd, in a unique sort of way to see the future being modeled in the form of the past! Plus there was still all this new technology and other gizmos that they still had, so at times I found myself chuckling a bit, just because I would forget that this was a dystopian novel, it combines a futuristic and past-like feeling that was truly extraordinary!

This was a very entertaining zombie novel, not having read too many. There are two sets of zombies, one is our traditional BRAIIIIIIIIIINNNNSS, stumbling about on disjointed limbs and eyeballs falling out of sockets--if they're still there that is! And then we have the zombies who are like Bram, who still have sense--is the best way to explain it. They act like normal human beings, with the obvious differences in appearances and appetites.

The storyline goes that Nora is kidnapped by the good zombies in order to protect her, there are big reasons why but I won't get into that. Despite being a long book at 471 pages, the story didn't really seem stretched or anything, the pacing was good for Nora has to adjust to the fact that there are good zombies and she's among them--along with excepting some other harsh truths!

Bram, oh my! I never thought I would fall in love with a zombie like Nora, but man, he is one in a million! He's a very considerate dude and he grows to care for Nora as she does for him. But there's no insta-love like we sometimes see in YA. Theirs was a gradual romance and I love those the most really! I love it when characters get to know one another and then the love forms. It just reads better for me in some cases! 

This story was told from 5 different p.o.v.s all in first person, what was nice that each chapter is labeled with the narrator so there's no confusion. By being in all these people's minds we get to see a lot of what's going down and around. And sometimes that did get a little confusing, but not overly so.

Overall this was a pretty damn good read! I did thoroughly enjoy it despite some confusion in the beginning with the history lessons and what not! The supporting characters were all fan-tab-u-lous too! Nora's BFF Pam totally rocks! She goes from the quiet and meek girl to a total a$$-kicking one! Loved her character development!

The ending was decent, there's no humongous cliffhanger, just one that leaves you saying, "oh daaaaaaamn!" like it was wicked awesome! And it was! True there is a new problem on the horizon but it's one you could see coming all along so it wasn't a total shock! Now there's just the loooooong wait til the next one, Dearly, Beloved!

Overall rating 4/5 stars

Dearly, Departed releases October 18, 2011--this is the US release date as it is already out in the UK I believe

*This one also counts in my 2011 Debut Authors Challenge, even though I surpassed the goal! Yay!*

One more note, here's the UK cover for the book, which I also totally love! The US one is beautiful, but I like seeing Bram and the zombies walking the streets in the background on the UK one! 


  1. Fantastic review, Jessica! I'm desperate to read this book now :)

  2. This one sounds so good. I can't wait to read it. Great review!

  3. Yay! Glad you loved it too! I don't like the UK cover, makes Bram look icky IMO. I was a little confused with POV's even with the labels cause I'd be so involved in the story I'd forget. It was only when characters were together and experiencing the same thing and then POV's would change it would just throw me a bit. And the beginning was a little confusing just cause there's so much to take in. A totally unique and awesome read though!

  4. I so want to read this book. Great review:D


  5. Oh, great review! I'm so excited to read this one. Even more now that a know Bram is a total zombie hottie! :)

  6. I'm SO excited for this one - in large part because I just love me some zombies! Fabulous review! :)

  7. I really want to read this! Thanks for sharing. Great review!

  8. I'm desperate to read this book now :)

    zombies the new heart robe?

  9. Wow- I wanna read this book!
    I prefer the US cover though to the UK one.


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