Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Dearly, Departed

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel. The GoodReads summary:
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.
I thought the world created by the author was really fascinating. It’s set in the future, but the people have decided to live like in the Victorian age--except with modern-ish technology. Plus there’s a whole capital city versus rural clash going on. Not to mention the human versus bad zombie versus good zombie conflict. So, needless to say, this book had a lot of interesting stuff going on, and I thought the world-building was pretty tight and unobtrusive.

My only real problem with the book was the characters. Well, not the secondary characters. I loved Chas, Tom, Dr. Samedi, Dr. Chase, etc, and thought they were fairly hilarious. Especially Chas. I would totally read a whole book just about Chas. And I guess I did like Bram, the lead zombie/love interest. He was pretty great actually. But Nora . . . I just thought she was basically boring. I mean, she doesn’t DO anything the whole book except get kidnapped. All the fighting was done by either the zombies or Pamela. Pamela’s the one who really annoyed me out of all of them. Seriously, everything that girl said or did had me rolling my eyes and asking, “WHY?!?!” It was one of those situations where you know you should probably like someone, but you can’t, no matter how hard you try.

The book was a lot longer than I expected. That’s not a bad thing, just an unnecessary one. I felt like a lot of the length was added by the 5 alternating perspectives. I just don’t think some of the perspectives, like Victor’s and Wolfe’s, were necessary--the stuff that happens in them could easily have been summarized in one of the other perspectives.

Overall, this book wasn’t quite what I wanted. The plot and setting were good, but too many of the main characters bugged me in one way or another. I’d still recommend it because it’s well done, despite my hang-ups--I just don’t think I’ll be reading the sequel.


  1. This is the third review I've read for this book in the last two days and I'm now curious about some aspects of the book even though the reviews are telling me it's probably not worth the read. I find two POV's a bit trying sometimes so I'm sure five is going to test my patience a bit...but I am curious about Nora and her blandness.

  2. Aww, it's too bad it wasn't exactly what you were expecting! I actually kind of enjoyed it, except I agreed with a some things you said -- like Pamela. I wasn't her biggest fan (there were a lot of "WHY?" moments LOL!), but she was a good friend to Nora so I tolerated her. :P

    Awesome review, Karen!! I have an idea! How about I read the sequel first and tell you afterward whether it's good or not? :) I really hope it is!

  3. I completely understand (and agree) with what you're saying. My hang ups aside though, I still really enjoyed the story. And I loved Nora/Bram! Pamela I could have strangled a few times, and I agree that a couple of PoVs probably should have been re-thought.

    Great review!

  4. I've heard mixed reviews about this book. I love paranormal mysteries and the romance sounds very sweet but I'm not a big fan of the setting or the zombie aspect. Great Review!!!


  5. Great review, yours is the first I've read on this book so far! I've really been wanting to read this book, but I had no idea that there was so much going on in the story. I really dislike it when there are too many perspectives, so thanks for the heads up! =)


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