Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dearly Departed...Can I Hide Under Your Parasol?

Available: 10/18/2011
Dearly Departed
By: Lia Habel
Del Ray Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0345523310

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.


   Nora Dearly has been raised as the proper New Victorian young lady, but rather than calling on neighbors and making an advantageous match, her interests lie in war and politics.  All Nora wants is to not be alone in the world as an orphan, with scheming Aunt Gene who has brought them to the verge of financial ruin.  Is a little adventure and excitement a little too much to ask for?  Be careful what you wish for Nora, it may just bite you in the backside Zombie-style!  One evening when killer zombies try to kidnap Nora from her home, Company Z flys in to the rescue, led by Captain Bram Griswold and made up of 'good' zombies.  Can Nora learn to trust Bram and the others enough to help save some semblance of civilization and to hold her life together after a shocking revelation about her Father? 

.  So, this book is SO MUCH MORE than what the description makes it out to be! If you were to listen to the blurb, you'd think it was a Romeo and Juliet-type book with zombies. NOT THE CASE. What little romance there is happens to build very slowly and isn't realized until the end of the novel. This book belongs to the characters and their personal trials and tribulations. Ms. Habel switches points of view between Nora, Bram, Nora's best friend Pamela, Nora's father Victor,and a few times she tackles the thoughts of Wolfe, the living military commander of the Z Company. I was impressed by how seamlessly Victorian ideals, fashions and lifestyles were interwoven with technology. I particularly liked that this was a slightly dystopian, post-apocalyptic society with a very thought-out and intricate governmental system and secret military operations. Nora and Pam were very strong female leads for this novel and even less realized characters such as Vespertine Mink (the girls' school nemesis) and Michael Allister (mealy-mouthed boy next door) were entertaining and added to the story. Near the end of the novel there is a particularly entertaining incident with Pamela and Michael which I will not spoil for readers in this review! :) Chas, Tom, Coalhouse, Renfield, Dr. Samedi and Dr. Beryl Chase bring a very human element to the plight of the zombies and all of them have wonderful personalities that lend a witty flavor to the narrative (Samedi's detachable head is particularly amusing).  There are also are well-developed villains who take your breath away in some scenes and leave you terrified of their recklessness/insanity in others. I myself am not a particularly avid fan of zombie literature. But this novel is far more than just another zombie book. It has a heart and soul, with wonderful characters tying it together. I would recommend this fast-paced, thrilling, adventurous book that HAPPENS to include zombies to anyone that loves a smart, sharp read.

VERDICT: 4.5/5  Stars
*No money was exchanged for this ARC copy or this review* Don't forget to put this one on your to-read list and definitely check it out when it becomes available in October! :)


  1. Anna, congrats on your new blog! And yay, I get to be your first commenter!! *first comment dance* I enjoyed this review and can't wait to read the book. Keep them coming!

  2. Thank you for commenting! I am sooooo excited about this blog and it will definitely be chock full of reviews! :)


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