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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 ...
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.
Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.
Praise for Lia Habel’s Dearly, Departed
“Heart-pounding . . . Nora and Bram’s touching and tender relationship, with its emphasis on equality and living in the moment, feels particularly special.”—Publishers Weekly
“Absolutely spellbinding . . . full of ingenious inventions and dynamic characters.”—RT Book Reviews
“A zombie romance? You bet.”—Library Journal
Habel / DEARLY, BELOVED
When I got to the top of the hill, the zombie caught me. I dropped my parasol and leather-bound digital diary in shock. He pulled me to his body from behind, imprisoned my tiny hands in his so I couldn’t fight back, and parted his cold lips at the nape of my neck.
I squealed with delight, even as I drummed my boot heel on his shin. “Bram, let go!”
“Never,” he growled against my skin following the kiss, his voice causing me to flush. Before I could protest further he actually picked me up, starting to spin. Laughing despite the ridiculousness of it, I kept my eyes open, watching the scenery fly by—especially the hilly area to the east that eventually rose into the city of New London, Nicaragua. The capital of New Victoria. The heart of all the world I’d ever known, now transformed, somehow shattered—half dead and half alive.
Dawn was just beginning to cup the earth in her pale hands. To the west, miles off, the mansions of the rich and titled lay mostly abandoned; only the odd light dared to advertise the presence of people. A few lights shone from the city, the shimmering of holographic building facades and electrified advertisements, but for the most part New London still slumbered on, dimmer than I ever remembered it being. There was only the red-tinted lantern on the top of my fallen electric gas-lamp parasol to light our way upon the low hump of earth that marked the location of the Elysian Fields, the underground housing complex my family called home. I might’ve chosen one of the colors meant to advertise the romantic availability of young ladies—pink for dating, etc.—but I wasn’t romantically available.
I was spoken for by the zombie, and the leaders of feminine teenage trends had decided red should be the color for that. The color of sympathy for the dead. I normally didn’t care about such things, but in this I was willing to be trendy.
Bram freed me, and I staggered away from him, eventually falling to the ground amidst my skirts. “That’s the only way to make you be still sometimes.”
“So . . . unfair,” I panted as he limped over to join me. As he did, he glanced at the city himself. The view was spectacular, and the area landscaped to invite enjoyment of it, with circular pathways and benches crafted of the same marble used for the gated entrance located at the base of the hill. Although it was exposed, it was also isolated—and thus the perfect place to sneak away to every morning. “You’re bigger than me.”
“I enjoy the walk up here as much as being here, you know. When you run ahead—that’s unfair. Besides . . .” He sat and fixed me with his cloudy blue eyes. “You think you’d know by now that when you run from me, every instinct I have wants to chase you.”
As I caught my breath to reply, I found myself staring at him. Bram Griswold was two years dead and still so handsome and full of life, his ghost-white features expressive, his body tall and strong. The light atop my parasol didn’t chase the shadows off his face fully, didn’t highlight his brown hair, and I was reminded of the first time I’d seen him, cloaked and lit by streetlamps.
Then, I’d thought him a monster. Now, I loved him so much I didn’t know what to do with myself.
“The zombies came from here,” I reminded him. “We should probably walk yards and yards apart. If anyone was watching us, they could get nervous.”
“I should be the one in front, if we’re going that route.” Picking up my digidiary, he handed it to me. “And I’d rather not think about that.”
Chastened, accepting the book, I felt the warm April breeze stirring my black curls, playing with the hem of my long pink dress and the bit of red ribbon Chastity had cheekily tied to the hip holster for my pistol. The fact that my beau was dead didn’t disgust me, didn’t scare me. Not after all I’d seen. Everything was still so fresh, and I wasn’t sure if this was ultimately a sign of madness or compassion.
I truly was my father’s daughter.
“We’re here, at any rate,” I said. “Assume the position.”
Laughing, Bram moved back. “I didn’t die just so I could be your pillow, you know.”
“Then why are you always the perfect temperature?”
We sat on the grass as a New Victorian sometime-schoolgirl of middling social rank and a Punk miner, member of a tribe my people had long ago exiled to the southernmost reaches of our Territories, should never sit—Bram lying on his back, watching the sky slowly banish the stars, me on my stomach with my chin and my backlit digidiary propped up on his lifeless chest. Alone. It was horribly scandalous, naughty behavior—and to us, commonplace. We’d been in the thick of it during the Siege almost four months ago, the attack by hordes of mindless, ravenous, “evil” zombies upon the city. We’d spent months afterward holed up in the jungle on an archaic airship with a heteromortal crew of scientists and soldiers, returning to the city only when it seemed like the vaccine my father had created against the reanimating illness known as the Lazarus might work. Our courtship had taken place on secret army bases, aboard airships, and finally in Eden. Altogether, it had been a marvelous success. But now we were back in civilization, and we had to be more circumspect. At least according to Papa.
I pushed him out of my mind, even as I tried to do the fabulously stupid, petty, useless thing he wanted me to, using my fingertips to access my school-issued digital copy of Deportment and You: A Text for Young Ladies of Refinement.
“Oh, look. Handily enough, this chapter talks about Punk manners, or lack thereof,” I said teasingly as the book loaded. “Want to do the end-of-chapter quiz with me? I’ll try to find the least insulting questions.”
“As if the answers won’t also be insulting?” Bram said, his lips quirking. “I know how your people work. They’re polite to your face, and get you the second your back is turned. No offense.”
“None taken. You speak God’s truth.” I flicked through the pages. “Okay, then. How about courtship etiquette? That’s extremely relevant to our interests.”
“Is this chapter going to club me over the head with yet more ways I can’t touch you or talk to you?”
“Skip that one, too.”
I paged through and laughed, turning the digidiary around to show him a section about wedding etiquette. “Look. This part is seriously about forty pages long. This is curriculum at St. Cyprian’s, a school that costs my father a small fortune every year. That he’s insisting I try to keep up with, even though, you know, Apocalypse.”
Bram tilted his head to the side, as if regarding a puzzle. “Forty pages about weddings? Don’t you usually just go to a judge or a preacher for something like that?”
“Girls are supposed to obsess over them. Aunt Gene wanted me to.”
“Is this a hint, Miss Dearly?” As he asked this question he drew a serpentine pattern on the small of my back with his fingers, just above my bustle, and I shivered a little. And not just because his hand was freezing.
“No!” I flushed and shut the digidiary, sitting up and hurling it halfway across the hill. As I did, I released a primal scream—well, as much as I could. I still looked and sounded immature, even though I was now seventeen. Bram laughed and pulled me back down, and my cheek found his shoulder. “I give up for another day. I tried, but studying how to be a lady is still too mind-blowingly stupid to focus on, given all that’s going on in the world. Tell me a story?”
Bram thought for a moment, and then started in on a story he knew I’d like—about the big Punk cities I’d never even heard about before I met him. About how they were founded where the Punks had fought battles against the southern tribes to maintain the borders of their settlement area, and how they were populated by a mixture of Punks and mysterious southern tribesmen, peaceful accords having been reached after years of struggle. The actual stone and metal buildings, and how they were vastly superior to holograms in every way; the automaton shows; the Punk fashions. His voice was rough and low, a sound I adored. A sound I could lose myself in.
As he spoke, I watched the sky brighten. I wanted to see the rest of the remaining world—from the glacier-locked Wastelands of the far North to the deserts of the South. All of it. I couldn’t drive, but that didn’t stop me from occasionally imagining myself stealing the keys to Aunt Gene’s electric horseless carriage and flooring it. I knew the world was changing, reacting to the revealed existence of the undead. Reacting to the fact that two weeks ago a few vaccinated people had been bitten during a riot and still contracted the Lazarus. Reacting with fear, with anger, with . . .
I stomped on that thought before my imagination could run with it. Since learning of the postvaccine infections, fear about what the living might do if they lost their feelings of security around the “civilized” dead had been threatening to consume me, and I was growing sick of it. It kept robbing me of sleep, forcing me to forge guesses about a future I couldn’t possibly know. It was changing my father, too, making him both demanding and distant, taking him away from me again. It kept ruining moments like this. And it had no right to.
Bram finished his story. His lips found my brow, the sensation instantly identifiable due to the bit of thread that stitched his broken lower lip together. I loved his every scar. They would never heal, and he bore them all so patiently. “Have you heard a word I’ve said, little one?”
“Sixty percent,” I admitted, looking to the city again. “Sorry.”
“No blame here. What do you need?”
“Nothing.” I pushed my nose into his soft blue shirt, enjoying the pleasured sound he made in response. “Just wondering if I’m ever going to be allowed to leave this hill again.”
“I think it’s honorable that you’re trying to do what your dad wants.” Bram’s cool hands moved about my waist, and before I knew it he’d drawn me up and seated me atop his chest so he could meet my eyes. I smiled despite myself, my fingers curling around his leather suspenders. I loved that he refused to dress like a New Victorian fop. “That biter kind of threw a wrench in the works. Once Dr. Dearly and the other researchers know more, we might be able to get back on track.”
“I hope so.” I glowered at my far-off book. “We were on the same page before the riot. The turn he’s taken these last few weeks, insisting I stay close to the EF, focus on schoolwork—it’s infuriating. And he hasn’t been home in days. I could’ve walked to Morristown and back without his ever having known.”
Bram reached up to play with my ringlets. I wasn’t wearing a hat or gloves—more sins to stack up. “Chin up. It’s because of him that the living and the dead even have the chance to try and co-exist. He’s naturally going to feel responsible for every setback. There’ll be more issues before all is said and done . . . more violence. I don’t accept that, but at the same time, I know it’s bound to happen. If we can just get more of the living vaccinated, educated, maybe things will calm down all around.” He frowned. “Maybe the violence against the undead will stop.”
Nodding, I thought of the high-functioning zombies still hounded in the streets, still in hiding. They had it far worse than we did. “That’s why I hate being kept here. I want to be out in the city, helping them.”
“Believe me, I’m with you on that. But the last thing the city needs is a bunch of undead vigilantes skulking about. Or pro-undead, in your case, seeing as I know you’d want to be at the head of the charge.”
This idea appealed to me. “Explain exactly why we’re not doing this, again?”
Bram chuckled, and leaned up to press his forehead to mine. “The sun’s rising.”
“Please don’t tell me you’re also a vampire. That would break my heart.” It was a stupid joke—vampires weren’t real—but I didn’t want to go back.
“Nope, just a guy biting his thumb at all the New Victorian ‘don’t touch the girl’ rules. Darkness helps with that.”
I sighed. “I know.”
Bram moved me, stood, and offered his hand. I took it and let him pull me to my feet. We made our way across the breadth of the hill to fetch my digidiary, then started the trek back.
Arm in arm.
Coming home just wasn’t the same anymore.
The Elysian Fields had been, at one time, a wonder of modern engineering. An underground neighborhood with multiple levels, each capped by a liquid crystal screen that mirrored conditions outside and surrounded by walls that projected virtual trees, clouds—everything designed to look as real as possible, with none of it real at all.
Given that it had served as a giant crucible of infection for the zombies that invaded New London, it hadn’t fared very well. The fake sky was no more, the screen dark. Strings of electric lights now dangled from the streetlamp poles, the city’s attempt to provide the few residents of the Elysian Fields enough light to live by until it was repaired. Half the grand Victorian houses were unoccupied. Only the most basic services had returned to the central commercial area—the grocery, the clinic. The hat shop was gone, the confectioner’s boarded up like something out of a five-year-old’s worst nightmare. Broadsides were pasted on every suitable surface: the elysian fields will resume full operations by fall 2196. the city of new london thanks you for your patience and support. Signs announced stops for the new trackless EF trolley service: a safe, dependable way to reach the surface and new london.
My Aunt Gene had once called the EF a “hole in the ground.” It actually seemed like one now. Too bad she was still missing; she would’ve loved to rub that in.
And yet, I loved it more than ever. I loved my neighborhood of Violet Hill, even though the streets were now stained—with what, I didn’t like to imagine—and many of the mansions beyond repair. I loved my brick house most of all, especially because it had managed to weather the undead storm so miraculously. Within its walls I’d kissed my mother for the last time, before the disease my father then knew so little about both took her away and cruelly brought her back. I’d watched my father die there, little knowing he was bound to carry on after his heart stopped. In that house, I’d been attacked by Averne’s undead minions, and on the roof, I’d fought back and ended up in Bram’s arms. Not that I was initially thrilled to find myself there.
That thought made me smile. By the time I reached the front door and unlocked it, I was ready to stiff-upper-lip-it for another day, soldier on.
“Quiet,” I turned and reminded Bram, putting a finger in front of my mouth. “When we pass through this door, we become well-behaved young people again. Whether we want to or not.”
Bram hooked his index finger around mine and drew it away from my lips. Meanwhile he laid his other hand on the door, effectively trapping me, his eyes unapologetically focused on my face. “That presumes we were doing something wrong up there. Now, if you want me to do something worthy of blame, I can give it the old Punk try. Dr. Dearly might not like it, though.”
Blushing at the idea, I covered for myself by finding the knob and opening the door, forcing him to stumble in after me. He laughed and tightened his hold on my hand, pulling me closer—but then we both saw something that made us go stock-still.
Dr. Beryl Chase was waiting for us in the foyer, in front of the huge sweeping staircase.
“Dr. Chase?” I said, my girlish voice surprisingly large in the empty hall. She turned to look at me, and at once appeared relieved—and yet, not. I figured I must look much the same.
“Oh, um . . .” Bram shut the door and locked it. “I promise, we weren’t—”
“Miss Dearly, Bram . . .” Dr. Chase was still in her dressing gown, and she held something in her hands. It looked like a box of playing cards. She twirled it over and over, the motion fussy and unlike her. It pinged my suspicions, caught me and pulled me back from my embarrassment. “No. It’s not that.”
“Did I wake you when I got out of bed?” I let go of Bram’s hand and hugged my digidiary and parasol to my chest. “I swear, we never go far. We just like to be alone.” Dr. Chase and I had been sharing my bed ever since our return from Colombia. We’d tried to cram everyone we could inside the house—Dr. Chase and her zombified fellow engineer, Dr. Baldwin Samedi, the younger members of the former Company Z, and my father’s top medical researchers.
“No. I know you’ve been getting up,” she said. “As long as you come back quickly, I never worry or say anything. You’re young. You deserve every moment you can find together.” Dr. Chase looked at the cards, and slipped them into her pocket.
Something was wrong, and my thoughts went in one immediate direction. “Is it Papa?”
Dr. Chase smiled. It didn’t reach her apple green eyes. “I was going to try to distract you while I got my thoughts together, but I might as well just say it.”
Bram moved forward and grabbed a painted chair from its place by the stairs, carrying it over for Dr. Chase. He urged her to sit, and she did so gratefully. Behind him, a pair of Father Isley’s cats trotted down the staircase. “What’s the matter?”
I moved closer, my hands going cold. “What’s wrong with Papa?”
“Nothing. But Dr. Salvez just called.” Disheveled as she was, her reddish hair poufy and her skin free of makeup, the middle-aged Dr. Chase was still lovely—though at the moment very pale. She looked at her lap. “You know that during the riot that took place after Captain Wolfe’s execution, several people were bitten by zombies. Two of those people died and reanimated, even though they were vaccinated.”
I nodded. My neck felt stiff. I couldn’t forget that night—especially the way the news had crushed my father. That was why I’d chosen to try and obey him until this latest storm cloud passed, even though I resented it with every fiber of my being. But as frustrated as I was, I was also growing increasingly worried about him.
“The biters they arrested are still in police custody.” Her hands started to shake slightly, and my heart started to pound in sympathy. “Which is good. Because, as Dr. Salvez let me know . . . they have evidence that the problem isn’t with the vaccine, or any living response to the vaccine.”
I had no idea what to say to this. Because that left only one terrifying option—one I didn’t want to contemplate. “Then what’s the issue?” Bram asked. He sounded grim.
Dr. Chase gripped her robe to still her hands. “They’ve confirmed that one of the zombies is carrying a different strain of the Laz. Something new. Something the vaccine isn’t designed to deal with.”
And just like that, everything I’d dreaded seemed to be coming true. Bram swore. “We’re back to square one, then,” I whispered. “There’ll be another Siege. They’ll hunt down the dead.”
“No.” Dr. Chase sounded as if she wanted to will her denial into existence. “No. The biter with the new strain is still isolated. He can’t infect anyone else. The two who contracted that strain lost their faculties upon awakening. They tried to attack the people attending them, and they were shot in the head. So far, it’s contained.”
“No, it’s not that easy,” I said. “The whole reason we came up here, all of us—the zombies, everybody—is because we thought it would be safe. That because they were vaccinated, the living felt safe enough to let the nonviolent dead survive!” I looked at Bram. “Should we leave? Get away from the city?”
“No,” he assured me, though his eyes were serious. “Not right now. Not without knowing more.”
“But we have to do some—”
“What do you expect us to do?” The rebuff was delivered so sharply that I flinched and Bram blinked. Realizing from my look how she must have sounded, Dr. Chase covered her face with her hands. “I’m sorry. That was uncalled for.”
“It’s all right,” I tried.
“No, it’s not. I just keep thinking about having to run—we thought it was just protestors clashing at the riot, but think about it. A zombie with a new strain of the Laz was standing not fifty feet away from us! What little footage they’ve shown of him on the news is murky, and the researchers who’ve been allowed to take samples from him say he seems perfectly ordinary, but I’ve heard he was like a demon. That he was everything we’ve worked so hard to prove that sane zombies aren’t. And he could have gotten any one of us!” She took a breath and held it for a second, attempting to calm herself. It didn’t work; she babbled on. “And I still have to wake Baldwin up and tell him. He sleeps so soundly, it always terrifies me to wake him up . . .”
When I heard Dr. Samedi’s name, I understood. Although their relationship existed in a state of limbo, Chase and Samedi had history. I wasn’t the only person with beloved dead people in her life; I wasn’t the only person who was scared. She was right. I had to stay focused.
But so did she.
I moved to sit on the floor, at her knee, so I could look up at her and hopefully keep her attention. “Are we the only people who know?”
“No. Dr. Salvez said the press has been alerted. We can’t keep secrets any longer. It would hurt us more in the long run.”
Great. I set my things aside. “Then what are we going to do, Dr. Chase?”
She didn’t respond right away. When she did, her voice was still halting, but ultimately controlled. “All we can do is work through it. Dr. Salvez said the vaccine still seems to be effective against the original strain.” She looked uneasily at me. “We can’t meditate on the two people who were infected. We have to try to think, instead, of the thousands of people out there who are safe because of your father’s work.”
“But we don’t know if they’re safe,” I said. “That’s the thing. There haven’t been any large-scale zombie attacks. We don’t really know if the vaccine works—they had to rush it out so quickly. And if the living don’t feel safe . . .” I trailed off. I didn’t want to think about it.
“But there are thousands of families out there with dead relatives, Nora,” Bram said. “And I haven’t heard of a single casual infection, so that’s promising. Dr. Chase is right. We need to try and keep things like that in mind.”
“What if there are others, though?” Dr. Chase asked. “Other strains? Other zombies with this new strain, wandering around?” Her questions seemed to ring out like gongs. Neither Bram nor I answered.
I couldn’t think of any answers. I didn’t want to.
“Let’s not worry about that now,” Bram reiterated. “Let’s deal with what we do know. Let me get the boys together—you worry about Doc Sam.”
I rose. “Are you leaving, then?”
“For the ships, yeah.” The ships, the NVS Erika and the NVS Christine, were where the majority of Company Z’s doctors still worked—either on zombie-related research or on caring medically for the undead. “Once this news gets around, the city is going to explode. We’ll need manpower there. I’d take you with me, but . . .”
“Papa,” I said, irritated. He was on the Erika.
Bram nodded. “And in case something goes wrong, we’ll need people here at the house to execute DHE. I’ll leave Chas and Ren behind, too.”
“I know.” The Dearly House Exit was his new contingency plan. Still, I was disappointed—and worried. “Go.”
Bram touched my chin, then ran up the stairs to fetch the boys. I helped Dr. Chase up and saw her into the kitchen, where I put on the kettle for tea. She sagged against the wall, and I knew that even in this small thing, I was doing my bit.
Still, after everything I’d done in December, it wasn’t the same.
After reading Dearly, Departed I couldn't wait for the sequel and I was not disappointed. It had all the characteristics of a good book: suspense, romance, introducing the characters on a better level and more. I was extremely pleased with it and had a hard time putting it down. The more I read the more I fall in love with Nora and Brams touching story.
I would recommend this book to anyone, even the non romantic guys since it has plenty of action in it as well. Lia Habel was able to capture the interests of such a wide variety of people it is amazing.
IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST ONE YOU NEED TO BEFORE YOU READ THE SEQUEL OTHERWISE YOU WILL BE A LITTLE LOST READING THIS!!
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Posted September 25, 2012
Lia Habel is a genius. In her first book she made zombies loveable and she did not let us down with her second installment, Dearly, Beloved. I loved returning to New London and seeing how life is now that the general population knows about the dead. Of course there are different types of zombies. There are the civilized ones that just want to go about their lives now that there are ways of retaining their memories and then there are those that have succumbed to the virus and are just mindless biting machines.
Nora is still our headstrong heroine and now that they are back in New London, it is required of her to learn how to be a lady. After everything that Nora has been through, this is a little tough. She wants to be on the front lines fighting for the zombies rights. She and Bram are still going strong but they have to be careful and keep their relationship on the down low for now. Bram is still the valiant knight to Nora and will always do whatever it takes to keep her safe.
The plot this time is that the Lazarus strain has mutated and the vaccine they designed isn’t made to deal with this strain. They do not want another Siege so they try to covertly move the zombie (Patient One) infected with this strain away from anyone that could use him for a weapon. There are several groups that know about Patient One and they all want him.
The main reason that I find this series fascinating is that the story is told from multiple points of views. The reader is not restricted in knowing only what the main characters know. We are lucky enough to know everything that is going on and it keeps the pace of the book moving. The non-stop action will keep the reader invested in the lives of these characters. If you are looking for a unique series to read, this is the one for you. Due to the high complexity of Lia’s world, I recommend reading the series in order.
(Book was received by publisher via Edelweiss for an honest review)
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Posted May 10, 2013
This story picks up shortly after the first book left off.
The main characters are Nora, Bram and their crew of friends and family. There is still a war going on between the Punks and the New Victorians but there are other things going on. Zombies are living among the humans and there is a new strain of the Laz which has everyone worried. There are other things happening as well, groups of vigilantes are attacking zombies and all of these things are creating some very strained relations.
As always, the characters are typically the most important thing for me and as I found with the first book, I still loved all of the characters here and was introduced to some new ones to like as well.
First, the relationship between Nora and Bram has progressed and it works. He loves her and is still super protective but he understands she still needs her freedom and trusts her to take care of herself. Nora is smart and loyal and truly cares for everyone around her.
The other characters are very much the same to those we were introduced to in the first book but there were some new one's added to the list. Michael is still an idiot/jerk and I'm still torn on how I feel about Vespertine Mink but we learn more about both of them in this book. Pamela is still an important character and she took a bit of a hit mentally and seems to be having a hard time adjusting to a world where it is normal for zombies to be out on the street. I felt a little bad for her and the fact that she felt she couldn't tell her parents she needed help. I was happy to see the interaction between Pamela and Col/Lord Lopez. I hope that goes somewhere.
Tom, Chas, Coalhouse and Ren are still here along with a number of the other zombies - I was glad everyone still had a place in the story.
Again, there are a lot of switching pov's - It seemed a bit distracting this time around because again, I really wanted to focus on Bram and Nora. I will say, each chapter and pov is important and I probably wouldn't have learned some of the things I did if they weren't there so I can't fault this.
Overall - great story and I am looking forward to the next book. I am curious to see what happens with Michael and his father as well as Nora and Bram. Considering how this story left off for the two of them, I want to know what they tell everyone (if they do) and what's in store for them. Plus....zombies. :)
Posted May 1, 2013
Dearly, Beloved: A Zombie Novel
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Advance Reader’s Copy
Their love knows no end… well, his doesn’t. Can a Steampunk lady from the crusty upper class find unconditional love with a handsome, urban-guerilla zombie?
Dearly Beloved is the sequel to Lia Habel's novel Dearly, Departed which I did not know when I originally made the request for the Advance Reader’s Copy (Yes, I know, shame on me for not doing my homework but the premise sounded good. It was a zombie story! What of it?) At any rate, when I understood that it was the second book in a series it all began to make sense to me. It explains my feeling of being slightly lost, albeit momentarily, through the first chapter or so. This is not the first time I’ve accidently read a story out of series order (probably won’t be the last either) and I apologize to the author for not being able to connect Dearly, Departed (which I did not read) with Dearly, Beloved. It also explains why some of the characters felt, to me, so familiar to each other both in dialogue and action. This is a very good thing for a second book in a series, by the way. You want your characters to interact with familiarity and understand some of each other’s motives and emotions. All that said, this could have been, in my opinion, a stand-alone story on its own merits my confusion not withstanding. Dearly, Beloved is a very good story that contains intricate sub-plot twists, a world full of unusual (sometimes bizarre) characters, and multiple political and social points of view. Habel is a competent writer, has exactly the right voice needed to create inventive stories in the genre, and managed to integrate unique and creative ideas into her narrative. Always an advantage in a genre overflowing with overused tropes, memes, and cliché.
The interesting idea here is that zombies can lead fairly normal lives if they reanimate early enough to prevent too much deterioration to the brain and are able to control their animalistic lust for consuming human flesh. And in this world zombies are considered second-rate citizens that many believe should not be afforded the same rights as the living. The socio-political climate is in a delicate balance that’s about to boil over. A dangerous standoff exists between “The Changed,” a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for their survival, and “The Murder,” a squad of paramilitary rebels determined to terminate the living dead and their living allies. Nora Dearly and her zombie boyfriend, Bram, fight together to keep both their worlds from erupting into social unrest and violence while attempting to understand the unique complications of their living/undead new love. Hell of a way to develop a budding relationship!
Those of you familiar with my blog know that the Romance genre is one that I normally do not read or review. This particular book then presented me with a serious review dilemma. Should I read Dearly, Beloved with the pre-formed notion that I’d more than likely rate it low simply because it is a Romance or do I take the chance and hope that the Zombie elements outweigh the endearments? The answer? Dearly, Beloved is, in all actuality, an excellent Zombie novel with interesting and captivating elements of Romance, social reform, violence, and xenophobia deftly woven into the backstory. While not quite the type of story I normally showcase here Dearly, Beloved was a surprisingly intelligent, creative, and entertaining read.
File with: Virus Apocalypse, Neo-Victorian Gothic Romance, Noir Steampunk, zombies, The Walking-Dead meets Romance, high-society, adventure, futuristic thriller, social unrest and reform, commando guerilla zombies, soft porn, and living corpses.
4 stars out of 5
Dearly, Departed Series
1. Dearly Departed (2011)
2. Dearly, Beloved (2012)
Posted January 2, 2013
I raved about Dearly, Beloved. It was the right mix of different elements that I like in stories. So, needless to say I was really excited to read this one. Sadly, it fell flat for me.
One of things that irritated me the most was Nora. It bothers me when a teen character decides that just because an absent parent comes back in the picture, their right to parent is null and void. I'm not sure how that works. Nora blatantly disregards everything that her father asks her to do. A lot of the time, its simply because she wants to and thinks her father has no say in how she should spend her time. Never mind that it might be for her own good and safety. I find it ironic that sometimes even if Bram agreed with her father, it still didn't matter. She wasn't going to listen. Granted there were times I was glad that she went against everyone's wishes.
I was wondering when the subject of Bram's lack of a certain future might begin to effect their relationship. As much as I love Bram, he's a zombie and not expected to live very long. I wondered if Nora's "love" for him might be to flighty to commit to the time that they would have together. I also wondered if Bram would let her. He needs to be at the front and center protecting the people. Something I understand, but think he needs to relinquish a little bit of that control.
I found the parts focusing on the members of "The Murder" to be some of the best parts of the story. They were so sinister and targeted. I liked that the wore masks and left secret messages to keep the full membership in complete secrecy. I was intrigued that Michael joined this group just to get back at Nora.
The major issue was the last of interest I had in this book. It just did not hold my attention that way the first one did. It took me forever to read. I found that several different view points confusing at times. There seemed to be parts of the story that could be cut because they offered very little to the overall plot. I almost gave up on it. The later half was better, but man was it a struggle to get there.
I think this is suppose to be the final installment in this series. But, I almost hope there is more just so the series can redeem itself!
Posted December 4, 2012
I love paranormal, but I never really got into zombies as the lead love interest. That is, until I read Dearly, Departed. Lia Habel changed my mind and my heart toward zombies when she introduced me to Bram, a beautiful, tough guy zombie, who I definitely fell in love with! I also enjoyed reading a novel with multiple points of view. I love getting into the heads of all the charters, especially the guy who’s falling in love. Habel goes beyond just Nora and Bram's POV, though; she gives four more charters’ POVs in this awesome novel. I loved getting inside to see in every one of these wonderful charters heads. It always makes for a deeper story for me.
Nora and Bram thought they could focus a little on their romance after the siege, but unfortunately, some of the zombies are getting tired of the humans ruling over them. When humans begin to fear a new kind of zombie that likes to take a bite, a group called The Murder rises up to kill the flesh eating zombies, and deal with Nora and the other humans who care about the zombies and want to protect them.
I think what I loved the most about Dearly, Beloved was the swoon-worthy ending with Nora and Bram. It was a blow-my-mind beautiful ending, that takes the reader into an amazing beginning in the third novel with Nora and Bram romance! But I have to admit that I loved the action, too. Nora becomes a much stronger heroine in this novel. I also enjoyed seeing Bram show his swoony side, yep, Bram definitely got the swoon going on for Nora!
I highly recommend Dearly, Beloved in the Gone With the Respiration series as an awesome novel that will have you falling in love with the swoon-worthy zombie Bram!(
Posted November 5, 2012
Well, I loved the 1st book and was so excited on the 2nd one. Read a little over 100 pages and it took me about 3 weeks. I had to put it down. I just could not get into it! It was too slow, too dull, too confusing. I did not care for the point of view of certain characters. It just didn't do it for me. Maybe I will pick it up again one day and try to finish it. Sorry I really wanted it to be good.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 25, 2012
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for a honest review. The living now know all about the zombies and of course you are going to have some haters that want to kill all of the zombies. Of course you have zombies who want to rule as well. Nora and Bram are trying to live a normal life but lets face it how normal can it be he is a zombie and they are in love. Nora's father is still trying to find a vaccine when a new strain appears up in a new zombie that causes a new panic. There is evil living people out to harm Nora, her friends and the zombies and evil zombies out as well.
Just got to say usually I don't like multiple POV but with this book I love it. You get to see inside many different characters. Of course i love Nora and Bram but I also loved reading Laura's POV she is a new zombie and I go to say I rooted for her all the way through this book. Getting to see inside the twisted mind of Michael was a nice touch. This dude is so twisted. Pamela in a way got on my nerves at times and sometimes I thought she was awesome. Above all else she is Nora's friend and I guess in a way she is wrote in a great way. Let's face it we all have friends we love but sometimes they get on your nerves. There is lots of other characters we get to know in this book that each add their own twist to the story.
I love zombie books and loved the first book in this series. This sequel did not disappoint me at all. If you think it's strange to love a story about a girl in love with a zombie well you haven't read this book. They are so perfect together and care so much about each other. The new evil they face is awesome. Just to read about both sides after them and trying to guess what will happen next will keep you flipping pages. There are scenes of murder, bombs and so much more if you are looking for action. This isn't a book you can really rush read. You need to take your time to really see what all is going on. The beginning may start a little slow but trust me it picks up. If your looking for a wonderful zombie book pick this up. The ending leaves you wanting more but isn't a cliffhanger. You just are never reading to leave the awesome world Lia Habel has created.
Posted September 25, 2012
At its outset, <i>Dearly, Beloved</i>
is a novel about consequences, and about picking up the pieces. Nora must navigate the path between fitting back into her old life and society like her father wishes, and finding ways to help out the zombie cause, like she desires. After what she’s seen and what she’s learned, she’s not content to return to parlor visits and etiquette training, which seem to have no value in the grand scheme of things. Either way, she has lost the freedom she possessed months before. She has a new boyfriend. She wants to spend her time sharing little touches, kissing, just being together as much as possible. Unfortunately, these are sins paramount to murder in the exceedingly proper New Victorian society. Not to mention that her boyfriend is <i>dead</i>
Pamela is dealing with the consequences of her heroic acts in <i>Dearly, Departed</i>
. She, on the other hand, just wants things to go back to how they were before. She is having to come to terms with the fact that once you put one foot forward, life expects you to keep walking for miles. Although it may be selfish, she just wants her parents to take care of her again, and to not feel like she is the one saving everybody and holding everything together.
Michael is furious with the results of the events during <i>Dearly, Departed</i>
and is more than ready to make others deal with the consequences of their humiliating him. Pamela has to pay. Nora has to choose him. He doesn’t care what the means to get to the ends are.
The zombie community is dealing with their many permanently dead, the hostile attitudes of the living, and their increasing desire to finally be free. Tempers run high, and this becomes dangerous for both the zombies and the living they feel endanged by and that feel endangered by them. While <i>Dearly, Departed</i>
focused primarily on Company Z and the Grays, <i>Dearly, Beloved</i>
focuses on the zombies that came through with their minds intact, and their relationships with themselves and those who would persecute them. Who will fight back? Who will fight to hold on to peace and maintain that they are the good zombies?
is primarily a novel about self-discovery and finding one’s place amidst diversity. Who will step up? Who will fade into the background? Who will fight the monsters? Who will become them? This novel asks those questions and more, and the characters struggle to find their own ways to answering them.
I enjoyed <i>Dearly, Beloved</i>
, but not as much as its predecessor. While I thought <i>Dearly, Departed</i>
suffered from a brand of too-many-viewpoints-ADD, I remember it more fondly for its action and romance. <i>Dearly, Beloved</i>
also has several points of view, not all of them terribly interesting to me. However, the main warning I must give to fans of the first novel is that it felt to me like <i>Dearly, Beloved</i>
focused much less on Nora and Bram and the “cool characters” and much more on questions of actions and morality. Overall, I appreciated the book. Habel is a talented writer and has managed to churn out a quite complex book that somehow still fits together. I look forward to the third installment of <i>Gone With the Respiration</i>
to see where the characters I’ve come to both love and hate end up.
Posted September 24, 2012
I loved the world building and secondary characters in Dearly, Departed and despite some issues I was looking forward to book two. I hoped Dearly, Beloved would deliver and instead it left me with mixed feelings. I truly struggled with this book and its six points of view. I read this over the course of three days and often felt disconnected. There were aspects I loved, and others that had me frustrated. The tale picks up a shortly after Dearly, Departed ends. Bram and Nora are still very much in love and trying to make the best of their limited time together. The young couple, along with some of company Z have taken up residence in the Dearly home. The underground city is practically abandoned, and the artificial sky is dimmed. A new strain of the Lazarus virus has erupted. This has caused tension between humans and zombies. The city is in chaos. A band of masked young people are kidnapping zombies and they are never seen or heard from again. A group of zombies has banded together outside the city limits and Bram fears they are up to no good. It is dangerous to be a zombie supporter at the moment. Nora is trying to take care of everyone she loves. She also wants to be useful and refuses to leave the city. The tale has many different storylines, and I found parts of it fascinating. The tale is told from six points of view. This was an issue I had with Dearly Departed with its five points of view. Once again I felt that too many perspectives clogged the tale. Characters that I adored in book one, fell apart in book two. I loved Pam and thought she was kick-ass and stole the show in Dearly, Departed. In this novel, she is paranoid, dramatic, scared and although she has amazing moments, she lost her mojo. Coalhouse a member of company Z who was witty and awesome has a meltdown in this novel. Nora is still head strong, fierce and protective of those she cares about. Bram was focused on his company and keeping humans and zombies safe. The romance was sweet and the two enjoyed a few stolen moments. I did like the development in their relationship. Ren, Chas, Tom and others were present. We did learn more about Dr. Chase and Samid’s background. Patient Zero was interesting and I admit to being curious about him and Michael’s father. Michael had his own point of view, and it was perhaps the most interesting. Lauren, a hippie zombie has her own voice making her the new POV. There is a lot going on in this novel, many different story threads are weaved together. Sadly, the pace of the first three-fourths of this book was horrible. In book one I loved the attention to detail and world-building, this novel lacked those details. Habel’s writing style is lovely and some of the action scenes, and storylines had me completely enthralled. Overall though, the tale didn’t give me the rush I got from book one. I felt like I was at an amusement park, and spent most of my time waiting in line. I will say that when I did get on the ride, it was exhilarating. The ending wrapped up nicely, but there are still many unanswered questions. I did love the romance between Nora and Bram. This novel is going to be hit or miss with fans. Despite, my feelings I would pick up a third book, but the anticipation I felt after book one is gone. I want to thank Random House for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest reviewWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 24, 2012
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Posted January 17, 2013
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Posted October 23, 2012
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