REVIEW Dearly Departed by Lia Habel

Dearly Departed
by Lia Habel
Del Ray
October 18, 2011
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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.

Okay. WHY did no one tackle me to the ground and tell me how good this book was? I'm serious, people. You're falling down on the job.

I haven't seen all that many reviews floating around out there for this book, but the ones I've noticed have been favorable. So why, oh why did I wait so long to read this book?

Well...somehow I got it into my brain that this book contained insta-love. (Aside: one of these days I'm going to do a post about how much I HATE insta-love. It's epic, people. EPIC!) But as soon as I started reading Dearly Departed, I was hooked. (That first scene, people. Oh My Goodness! That scene pushed all my buttons). There was not a trace of insta-love to be found. So I'm sitting there reading, wondering in the back of my mind how I got the idea that this book would have it. And, for the life of me, I couldn't figure it out. I read the entire book. I re-read the summary on Goodreads. I puzzled. I pondered. I gave up.

Then, this morning, as I was packing up to go to work, I picked up the book, and flipped it over.

This is what I found...

THAT! That was it!

Mystery solved.

But seriously, that scene doesn't happen until you're way, WAAAAY into the book, but when you put it on the back cover, where I expect the summary to be, it threw me off.

So yes, for all the people like me out there who put this off due to fear of insta-love (insta-love with a zombie, no less), rest assured, it will not be found here.

Here you will find an amazing tale filled with zombies and steampunk and amazing heroines and beautifully flawed guys and oh, how I loved it so.

The characters were spot-on brilliant. Nora, or "Miss Dearly", as she's mostly called in the novel, as this takes place in a world that is all posh and proper) is a teeny-tiny, beautiful teenage girl, who just so happens to be obsessed with what are essentially war movies, and is all tough and plucky and I adored her.

Bram is a zombie. But the zombies in Dearly Departed are not your average walking undead. Depending on how long it took them to wake back up after they went into the light, some of them are still completely there mentally, and, along with the help of some clever doctors, have managed to patch themselves up pretty well. Bram is one of these lucky ones, and he's the captain of a branch of the army that protects the unknowing public from those of his kind that are more inclined to eat them. I love Bram. He's gentle and sweet and all kinds of protective. And he sings.

Also, very rarely in YA are the secondary characters so incredibly detailed and wonderful in their own right. Dr. Sam, Chas, Tom, Ren, Pamela. Oh, how I loved them all!

Seriously. If you hadn't noticed by now, this is me tackling you to the ground and telling you to read this book. It's incredible.

Go on. why aren't you reading it yet? Shoo!

Happy Reading Everyone!



  1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the book so much! While I loved its creativeness and the steampunk aspects (and the cover is so pretty!), I don't know... I liked the book, but I wouldn't say I loved it... -.-

    1. Hehe...It just hit all my buttons, is all. I have a love of zombies that is pretty epic, so that on top of the romance and the steampunk? I was SOLD.

  2. I haven't read any zombie books yet-- I wasn't sure if I would like them. This sounds so different and good. Refreshing. I'm going to have to keep my eye out. I need to pick it up.


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