Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on December 19, 2011 | 0 Comments

Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia HabelDearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Series: Gone With the Respiration #1
Published by Del Rey (10.18.2011)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 470 pages
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

3.5 Stars

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.

My thoughts

I had mixed feelings about this book. I loved it for the simple fact that it was unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Zombie/Post-Apocalyptic/Steampunk/Victorian all in one…wow! I really enjoyed the history of what went wrong in the world, particularly America, and the physical explanation for the Laz. Fascinating and well developed. The world building was great too, I was able to get a very good hold on the atmosphere Habel painted.
The characters though, not so much. I liked that she switched back and forth between characters to give you the best perspective of their thoughts/feelings/experiences. But at the same time, there wasn’t much difference between the individuals’ thoughts. A few times I even forgot who I was reading. People’s speech patterns are different, so should their thought patterns be. A little variance would have been nice.
Most of the characters didn’t have much depth to me. I didn’t care for Nora or Pamma or most of the minor characters. My favorite characters were Bram and Chastity. I felt kinship for Chas, but I really fell in love with Bram as the story went on. Undead-ness aside, I would love to find a man like Bram!! *swoon*
There were random snippets of humor throughout this book. Habel is really good at drawing giggles from me with sarcasm, so I really wish she would have inserted a little more of that. I love a book that can make me laugh and the funny parts were too far apart.
I would have also liked to see more action. Aside from Nora’s kidnapping close to the beginning, there wasn’t much happening until the end. I found myself getting bored at times, particularly when Pam was the narrator. Bram’s awesomeness and Chastity’s quirks were the only thing that kept me going at some points. The ending really made up for it, though. I was riveted and finally felt some emotion other than crushing on Bram. Even got a little misty at one point!

(Chastity) “Hi, Nora! Ooh…” Her eyes fell to the weapon. “Shiny.”
“Nora needs some more appropriate clothes if she’s to use the shiny,” Bram said.
Chas clapped her hands together. “Makeover!”
Oh, God, no.

(Chas) “Because this is stupid! Everyone’s all depressed, and it’s Christmas, and it’s…stupid! So, I waited for you to leave so I could fix it and make it unstupid!”

And, my favorite (lyrics):

Love’s like a cigarette…
You know you had my heart aglow
Between your fingertips.
And, just like a cigarette,
I never knew the thrill of life
Until you touched my lips.
Then, just like a cigarette,
Love seemed to fade away and
Leave behind ashes of regret…
And, with a flick of your fingertips,
It was easy for you to forget…


Plot: 3/5
3 points for being totally unique. 2 docked because there wasn’t much of a plot.
Writing Style: 4/5
Like the humor, but kind of dry and too formal otherwise.
Characters: 3.5/5
Not much depth to most of them, but Bram and Chas made up for it.
World Building: 5/5
Very thought out and in depth.
Pace: 3/5
Cover: 4/5

Overall rating: 3.5/5 starfish
Jessi (Geo)

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