Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Book Details
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Hardcover, 480 Pages
2011, Del Rey
ISBN: 0345523318
Series: Book 1 of Dearly

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 is an unexpected display of genre-mashing at its finest. It's steampunk, but set in the future. It's a love story, but between a zombie and a human. It's action, adventure, horror, thriller, romance, war, science fiction and just about everything else you could imagine. And it's damn good too.

Nora Dearly lives safely in an underground compound with her less than loving aunt. The year long mourning period for her father has just ended and as far as she knows, her biggest problem at the moment is transitioning back into society. Little does she know that an army of zombies are out to kidnap her for reasons she'd never believe even if they told her. Caught up in the troubles of a secret branch of the military, surrounded by dead, she falls in love. With a zombie. Sounds ludicrous, but it makes so much sense within the context of the story that you'll find yourself rooting for the couple. And many of the other zombies as well.

The back story on New Victoria is very intriguing. A Victorian society rising out of the ashes of the modern world. I would absolutely love a prequel to this series that could delve deeper into the development of this new civilization.

Hell, everything about this novel is intriguing. At almost 500 pages, it's an amazingly quick read that I had great trouble putting down for more than a few minutes at a time. So much is going on in Dearly, Departed, on so many separate but intertwined levels, that there is truly something for everyone in this book. Because of it's many angles, some things are sped through and glossed over a bit more than they should be, but I have no reason to believe those less developed plot points won't be explored further in future book in the series.

Dearly, Departed is a novel to get excited about. It feels as though it's destined for the big screen and I'd be first in line for tickets. As it is, I'll be first in the preorder line for Dearly, Beloved, the next book in the series. This is an absolute must read for any YA paranormal or science fiction fan.



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