Title: Dearly, Departed
Author: Lia Habel
Publisher: Ballatine Books
Released: October 18, 2011
Page #: 467
Source: My public library
"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, and 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."
"I was buried alive.
When the elevator groaned to a stop in the middle of the rocky shaft, I knew I was buried alive. Trapped thousands of feet below the earth's surface and hundreds above the bottom of the shaft, dangling in the dimly lit ten- by ten-foot cage over the black bowels of the very mine I had been so bloody relieved to get work in."
This book was so much better than I anticipated. Not that I thought it would be bad - but you never know what you're going to get when you completely choose a book based on its cover. Seriously, what a gorgeous cover. How can you not be intrigued?!
It is a post-apocalyptic story that is headed into another apocalypse. Can you even process that?! The world has already been ravaged and the ones that are left are all along the equator. There are some who survived that want to revive honorable society - others just want to survive. At some point along the way, this virus starts that keeps people from dying fully... becoming zombies. Some are good and some are mindless people-eaters. Nora's father has dedicated his life to saving these people (not that she knew about it). And she soon finds herself fully thrown into their world - and finding impossible love among the dead.
So... Central and South America are the setting for this novel. I had to remind myself of that at every turn. All of the ideals and society stuff are so very Victorian England (hence the whole New Victoria name), but it was really hard to transfer those to a new setting for me. Though - serious props to the author for pulling it together and for the extremely original idea.
I'm just gonna say that there were parts of this story that scared the bejesus out of me! I truly shouldn't have read some of it before going to bed. My bad. But it definitely has that horror element that I know a lot of teen readers get into. But perhaps my imagination is too vivid... I was shaking in my booties. In a good way, of course!
The romance is what really got me into this story - that's what pulled me in so hard. It's really a beautiful story about doomed love. How heartbreaking is it to fall in love with someone who has only a few years left to live - or to be undead. Either way. It's an amazing thought and I know it's one of the things that got me very emotionally invested in the whole story.
Could you possibly have a more kick ass heroine? I think not. Nora is totally my idol right now. She has been raised in high society, but was recently orphaned. She only has her friend Pam to count on. Then she gets kidnapped (supposedly) while finding herself in a battle for her life. She's calm, calculating, intelligent, and much more. I wish I could be more like her. I'm pretty sure if I found out there were zombies taking over, I'd have a panic attack... or ten. Toward the end of the story, I was hoping we would see more of the kick ass side of Nora, but it drops off a little. I hope to see more from her in the next book.
Speaking of next book, I honestly CANNOT wait for this one to come out. You're not left on a cliffhanger, really. There's a full conclusion, but there's definitely a taste for what is to come. Unfortunately, I have to wait until September. But here's to crossing my fingers for ARCs to come along! I'm not holding my breath. I just know the next book is going to be just as amazing.
I can already think of all the people I will be recommending this book to. I'd say if you're really easily frightened, then this might not be the book for you. Everyone else? Read it. Seriously. You will not regret it. I know the image on the front of the book is decidedly girly, but there's so much to the story that I know guys will like it too. I mean, zombie wars? Come on. It doesn't get more dude than that. Anyway, read it. I know you'll love it.
Other Blog Reviews:
The Obscured Vixen
Between the Covers
Katie's Book Blog
Candace's Book Blog
Steph Su Reads
Stories of My Life
25 Hour Books