Friday, 26 August 2011

Dearly Departed by Lia Habel

Dearly Departed
by Lia Habel

Release date (UK - also note that is the UK cover): 29th of August 2011
Summary: As far as romantic pairings go in the year 2195, you don't get much more unlikely than an upper-class schoolgirl and a poor miner from enemy tribes. Filter in the fact that he's a zombie, and you're definitely talking about star-crossed love.

Dearly, Departed is a cyber-Victorian/steampunk romance that takes place in the shadow of a new ice age. Nora Dearly, a mouthy teenage girl and apparent orphan, leaves school for Christmas - only to be dragged into the night by the living dead. Luckily for her, though, the good ones got to her first. From her reanimated rescuers she learns not only that zombies are roaming the countryside, but that her father is one - and that he's in terrible trouble. She also meets Captain Bram Griswold, a noble, strong, and rather sweet undead boy for whom she starts to fall.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Pamela Roe, is just trying to carry on with life as best she can in the wake of Nora's disappearance - when she ends up killing an evil zombie in self-defense. Pam is galvanized into action, and ends up leading a group of survivors as the city of New London is thronged by the ravenous dead.

Upon hearing of Pamela's plight, Nora and Bram set out to rescue her friends, find her missing father, and maybe just save what's left of the world.
I really loved this book, it was original and awesome and…kind of weird. But in a good way. I mean, it mixes a very odd combination of things that I wouldn't have really expected to be put together but they somehow worked really well.

The characters were great, especially the zombies. I never thought that I would find a zombie to be swoon-worthy, but damn - Bram totally was. He was lovely - he was sweet but strong, the perfect mix of good guy with bad boy edge. If I had to pick a favourite character, he’d win hands down but his friends were great too and Nora would be a close second favourite. As far as narrators go, Nora is pretty awesome - she’s stubborn and fierce but it’s in this odd way because of the New Victorian aspect of the story.

I really liked the setting - I’m kind of burned out when it comes to historical fiction so I was wary of how the whole “New Victorian” thing would work for me, but the way it mixed old traditions and fashions and ways of living with modern (and futuristic) technology was pretty cool (gave it kind of a steam punk type feel - with zombies thrown in…awful ones and adorable ones and funny ones…I approve!).

My only complaint about the book would be the point of view switches. I’m really not a big fan of alternating POV’s in books, I only really tolerate two characters narrating the story but this one had more (not too many and not too often but it still bugged me a little). I loved Bram and Nora’s chapters but I wasn’t too fond of the others, particularly Pamela’s chapters - I liked her character, but her parts of the story were kind of dull and dragged a bit (although they got more interesting later in the book).

The alternating narrators wasn’t done badly in this book, I just don’t really like it when books do that anyway so it would’ve had to have been done amazingly for it to not bother me - it was just alright and I wish the author had found a way to tell the story in just Nora’s perspective or even hers and Bram’s. It took me a couple of days to read the book because I could put it down, if it didn’t have the other character chapters thrown in then I probably would’ve read it cover to cover in one sitting.

Anyway, the book is really good (I’d rate it 4.5 stars if I had to rate it out of 5). I really recommend it.


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