Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration #1) by Lia Habel: review

Hardcover, 470 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Del Rey
Source: Bought
 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.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.
 If you follow my blog, you know that I hate zombies, yet I continue to torture myself with reading YA books that feature them. But what I loved about this book is that there weren't just mindless zombies; humans have found a way to make some of the zombies be rational and have feelings. And doctors have also figured out a way to keep their bodies from decomposing as well. Because even though they seem human, they're dead. I really loved the twist that Habel put on the zombies, especially when she made us fall in love with one. When I read that in the synopsis, I didn't think that was possible. But the relationship between Nora and Bram is so real, and they didn't fall in love right away. And you know how important that is to have in the romance for me.

I never wanted to stop reading this one. Nora ends up being taken from her house as its swarmed by zombies, and taken to a place that she's never been to before. But her father has. Her father used to be a scientist, until he died from The Laz (the zombie disease) and Nora's had to live her aunt that only cares about how high her position in society is. I loved the setting of this book. The Victorian era part of it restricted a few of the things with Nora as she's a woman and has to listen to everything her aunt says and find a man that is rich and will take care of her financially. But then there's also the post-apocalyptic threat of zombies. The thing about this though is that very few people actually know about it because the government has kept it a secret. You can imagine that causes some problems.

Nora and Bram were adorable! When Nora is first at the military compound, she doesn't trust anyone. Then Bram starts talking to her and he becomes the only person she trusts. Bram falls for Nora pretty quickly after that; I have a love-hate relationship with having it from both Nora and Bram's POV. I always like it when the guy's feelings aren't spelled out for us, but I also loved seeing his internal commitment to Nora. Their love story was slow, just as it should be. I loved it! There are also a good amount of twists in this one that kept me on the edge of my seat. I fell in love with these characters. You should definitely pick this one up.

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