Monday, October 17, 2011

Dearly Departed by Lia Habel

Dearly, Departed
Good Reads Summary

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.

My Thoughts

3/5

It's not exactly what I was expecting. Throwing around the words ‘steam punk’ and ‘zombies’ had me thinking of something a little more epic. Instead there’s Bram, a zombie, who takes offense at being likened to a freak… and Nora, daughter of a war hero doctor who is oh- so-special and is technically the real freak. Things are not helped by the fact that I’m still not sure about what differed between the good ‘uns and the baddies. Because all I got was where the Grays were cannibals, Cass, Tom and Bram weren’t. The question, (my big question) is why turn one way or the other?

It’s not bad (at all). I really did get a kick at how things were set up…even if I doubted that she would have behaved the way she did given said upbringing (I mean really, dress that way why don’t you.) Her world is one where people are grouped in “tribes” instead of nations with one particular powerful tribe embracing Victorian ways and another (Punks) rebelling against it. The girl is Victorian, ahem, New Victorian. And the zombie-boy is Punk. All right, I admit it: I took issue with the choice of names. The names simply sounded a tad hokey, but what could I do, but go with the same?

Note though this isn’t a completely romance-fueled YA novel with mere hints of steam punk. Because while there was a romance of the unexpected variety, there’s also heck whole more. Consider the conflict between the Punks and Royals. Or the clandestine way good zombies went about their business (as in a super secret government agency, working in tandem with the army to keep those zombie existence under wraps.) But there’s also the secondary story line of what Pamella was going through… and it’s her story that I truly enjoyed:

Where at first, she’s meek and quiet, the circumstance revealed that she could be so much more. She’s tough and independent and much better than what I thought she was going to be. And dare I say it? Even much better than Nora, the main charry.

If I had to pick my favorite, I’d defintely go with Pamela. Why? Even if it is mainly Nora’s story and where Nora is tough girl from the get, it’s Pamela who actually evolved. From being the quiet best friend, it’s her story that worked more for me. For Nora there’s falling for someone she wasn’t supposed to, and then there’s her realizing that her father is imperfect. But for Pamela there’s a slow shift in what matters. If at first, she’s prim and proper and everything a girl of her station should be, well, she doesn’t stay that way! And where Nora was damsel that needed saving (at least at one point of the story), Pamela does some of the saving on her own.

THANKS NETGALLEY!
3/5

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