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11.21.2011

Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Young Adult, Futuristic, Zombies
Hardcover $16.99 (480 pages, DEL REY)
Ebook $9.99
Audiobook $40.00

A cyber-Victorian/steampunk romance – with zombies.
Almost two hundred years in the future, Nora Dearly lives in a world of bustled gowns, fake manners, watery tea, and uppity lords and ladies.
Thank God the zombies came to rescue her.
Dragged into the night by the living dead, Nora soon finds herself fighting for the father she thought long gone, the friend she was forced to leave behind – and the love of a handsome, noble young army captain.
Who just happens to be a walking corpse.

Author Site: liahabel.com




Dearly, Misrepresented (3 stars)

DEARLY, DEPARTED is a futuristic tale of our world remolded. In a splendidly imagined, but confusingly executed mash-up of Victorian societial norms with cyber-tech and a brief mention of steampowered machines Nora Dearly finds herself at the center of chaos. What was supposed to be an enjoyable Christmas break becomes a terrifying adventure to escape zombies only to find she has been rescued by other zombies.

Meanwhile, the father she thought was dead has been captured while trying to come to her rescue himself. He is wanted for his potential to create a vaccine for "the Laz", the sickness that makes zombies. Nora must learn to trust her living-dead rescuers and hope that the friends left behind in New London haven't been infected.

This was one of my more anticipated reads of this year and unfortunately fell very far short of my expectations. Broken down into bare bones concepts I loved the ideas that provided the world building for DEARLY, DEPARTED. A Neo-Victorian society, a secret zombie branch of the military, a romance between a pretty young woman and a mannerly undead. All very interesting and so-very-IN right now. Alas, the novel has been touted as Steampunk which it really isn't. Including airships, adding a brief mention of a steampowered machine and Victorian manners does not Steampunk make. I have to admit that was my biggest dissapointment. My other was the romance that was supposed to happen. Firstly there was NO chemistry between the characters AT ALL. She spends most of the time being terrified of him and then randomly for no apparent reason starts getting all mushy toward him.

The characters on the whole are good. Most do not get enough screentime to really let the reader get attached and the constant switching of perspectives and each chapter being a new character's first person reflection doesn't help that. The plot is extremely slow through the middle and sometimes the descriptions of clothing are distracting when so little else gets the same treatment.

On the whole I just couldn't bring myself to like DEARLY, DEPARTED. It was alright but so bogged down in the little annoying issues such as poor pacing, switching character perspectives, and general randomness it didn't work for me. If you're looking for a great YA steampunk read this one just isn't it. The zombie element is decent but the romance with zombies was a little squicky considering how they are described as falling apart. I might have to pick up the sequel DEARLY, BELOVED eventually to see if it gets any better but it currently doesn't have a release date.



Other Reviews:
A Cupcake and a Latte
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalking Queen of the Undead
The Bookish Brunette
Book Faery

Notes: ARC received via Amazon Vine.

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