My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Can the living coexist with the living dead?
That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.
Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.
Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.
As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.
Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.
Book 2 in the Gone With The Respiration series
When I got to the top of the hill, the zombie caught me. I dropped my parasol and leather-bound digital diary in shock. He pulled me to his body from behind, imprisoned my tiny hands in his so I couldn't fight back, and parted his cold lips at the nape of my neck.
I squealed with delight, even as I drummed my boot heel on his shin. “Bram, let go!”
This is one of the best opening paragraphs ever! It sums up the book so well- something unique and fun and what I can only describe as a futuristic zombie steampunk romance novel! I really like how it plays on zombie steriotypes but then also throws all that aside and manages to be so different, and keeps a side of playfulness.
I absolutely loved Dearly, Departed when I read it last year, and couldn't wait to get my hands on this, the sequel. But I have to say that I struggled a lot with this book.
Don't get me wrong- I love the background and steampunk setting of the story, I love the quirky characters, and the witty dialogue is so great- I love how they all spark off each other.
But sometimes there is a lot of explanation and not a lot of action, there are whole sections where nothing happens. There seems to be a lot of politics and scheming (that I didn't always follow), and masses of characters (that I couldn't always keep straight).
This book is so long- and features SIX different points of view, which means that most chapters end up leaving the story hanging, and it takes so long to get picked up again, that the story seems to move at a crawling pace- I felt like I had to plow through all the different viewpoints, just waiting for something to happen.
On the positives though, I love the trusting and honest relationship between Nora and Bram- they are so sweet, and Bram's zombie friends are so cool as well. The kind of loyal but oddball people you wished you knew in real life! The characters are what really makes this book.
There is a wide mixture of personalities and the main characters grow and transform throughout the book as they overcome obstacles. You can definitely identify with, and root for the good guys, and easily hate the evil bad guys, and that's what good writing should do.
This book has drama, emotion, hardship, and a good balance of gory details and quirky humour. I really liked Dearly, Beloved- but it did fall a little short of the awesomeness of the first book. I will still recommend these books to everyone I meet though, and I will still definitely be reading the next one.
Dearly Departed. Read my review here
These are the UK covers- very different from the US!
Dearly Beloved is due for release in the UK in January 2013