Expected Publication: September 25th, 2012
Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration # 2)
By: Lia Habel
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.
Nora Dearly has had enough adventure to last her a lifetime. But it doesn't seem like her life will be slowing down anytime soon, now that she has her Father back in her life (as one of the undead affected by the Lazarus virus) and she is involved romantically with a zombie soldier named Bram. Also, now that the zombies have proved that they aren't all flesh-eating monsters, they're trying to peacefully co-exist in society with the living. It isn't working out all that well. With a new group of the living called the 'Murder' committing hate crimes against zombies, and a group of hostile zombies wanting to strike back against all of the living in New London, Nora and Bram have more to deal with than they can handle. The novel is told from the points of view of Nora, Bram, Pamela (Nora's best friend), Michael Allister, complicated mean girl Vespertine Mink and a new zombie named Laura who grows plants from her rotting body. Dealing with terrorist attacks, possible outbreak of a new strain of the virus and a possible apocalypse, Nora and her friends may not all make it out alive. And how do you move on from a betrayl so deep that it could crush your heart completely? I wanted to love this book. The first one was new, exciting and well-written with characters that had distinctive voices, even with multiple points of view. That wasn't the case in the sequel. I felt like the divide between the six p.o.v.s was clunky, not at ALL well-executed and I lost track of who was supposed to be narrating quite a bit more than was acceptable. Nora has basically become a petulant brat now that she is living with her Father again, Bram is annoying and without any real purpose anymore and the only character I could really even stand was Pamela. Even she managed to get on my nerves a lot. I felt like the author was trying to cram too much plot into one book and yet it still moved at a glacial pace that bored me to tears for the most part. I found myself no longer caring if the characters lived or died and I was sorely disappointed with Habel's treatment of the formerly strong and admirable Coalhouse. I loved the scene with Vespertine and Renfield (unfortunately there was only one, at almost the end of the book) and learning the badass backstory of Drs. Samedi and Chase. I however feel cheated by the poor follow-through of the first book's wonderful set-up and execution. I have wasted some time reading this and will not be reading the next book in the series. I just don't care anymore.
VERDICT: 1.5/5 Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is September 25th, 2012.*