Dearly, Departed

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A classic romance, suspense thriller, rip-roaring adventure, and macabre comedy all at once, Dearly, Departed redefines the concept of undying love.
 
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 mores of an antique era. Sixteen-year-old Nora Dearly ...

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Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel

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Overview

A classic romance, suspense thriller, rip-roaring adventure, and macabre comedy all at once, Dearly, Departed redefines the concept of undying love.
 
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 mores of an antique era. Sixteen-year-old Nora Dearly is far more interested in her country’s political unrest than in silly debutante balls. But the death of her beloved parents leaves Nora at the mercy of a social-climbing aunt who plans to marry off her niece for money. To Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. Now she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting a fatal virus that raises the dead. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and thoroughly deceased. But like the rest of his special undead unit, Bram has been enabled by luck and modern science 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.
 
“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

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Centuries after a series of catastrophes destroys much of the planet, two human civilizations based on two loose 21st-century interpretations of Victorian England thrive in South America. When 16-year-old New Victorian Nora Dearly is kidnapped by zombies, she is rescued by a company of the undead, led by Bram Griswold, a Punk soldier suffering from a disease called the Lazarus syndrome that reanimated him after his death and will soon kill him for good. First-time author Habel shifts smoothly among the first-person perspectives of several characters, and as the attraction between Nora and Bram grows, they battle an outbreak of the virus and contend with a conspiracy that involves Nora’s late father, who had devastating secrets of his own. Though weighed down in places by cluttered exposition and a meandering plot, Habel’s debut is a heart-pounding and nontraditional take on the steampunk and zombie apocalypse genres. Nora and her friend Pamela are strong, capable heroines, and Nora and Bram’s touching and tender relationship, with its emphasis on equality and living in the moment, feels particularly special. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345523310
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/18/2011
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 5.78 (h) x 1.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Lia Habel is in her twenties and lives in western New York State. She is fascinated by zombie movies and Victoriana, interests that eventually led her to write Dearly, Departed. When she first got an agent, she was literally opening envelopes for a living. By the time the auction for Dearly, Departed was held, she was considering food stamps. Now that she has a book contract, she is busy working on the follow-up to Dearly, Departed, entitled Dearly, Beloved. Lia Habel can be found on Facebook and Myspace, and she has a blog at liahabel.com.

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Read an Excerpt

 Prologue
Bram
 
 
            I was buried alive.
            When the elevator groaned to a stop in the middle of the rocky shaft, I knew I was buried alive. Trapped thousands of feet below the earth’s surface and hundreds above the bottom of the shaft, dangling in a dimly lit ten-by-ten foot cage over the black bowels of the very mine I had been so relieved to get work in.
I pulled myself to my feet and pushed my best friend Jack aside, hitting the button that controlled the elevator. I hit it again and again, wailed my fist on it. Nothing. The glass-paned lantern dangling from the ceiling flickered wildly as the kerosene within dwindled, as if it were attempting to ward off its own death with bursts of exaggerated life.
            Dread became a solid, burning thing within me, something twisting my own flesh to its will, speeding my heart and making my skin slick with sweat. Before I knew it was coming up, I doubled over and retched through the grated floor. Jack sat calmly beside me as I heaved, his bloody eye sockets and the gaping wound in his throat mocking me, mocking my attempt to rescue him. He looked like some kind of hellish funhouse clown.
            The dam broke, and I finally started screaming. At Jack. At God. At everything. There was nothing left to do but scream. I hadn’t screamed when the monsters had descended on us. I hadn’t screamed when I’d had to run from them, or when I fought them, or when I’d dragged Jack to the elevator, blood bursting from the hole in his neck. Everything had happened so quickly, it’d seemed like there was no time to scream.
            The monsters. Mad, animalistic, discolored, broken and battered from throwing themselves after their prey, each one thrashing like a person trapped beneath a frozen pond might struggle against the ice in desperate search of air…all teeth and hunger….
I slid down the wall of the elevator and buried my face in my sticky, itching hands. The coppery scent of the blood on them nauseated me, and I leaned back, my screams echoing back to me through the endless mineshaft. The elevator was covered in Jack’s blood. I was covered in Jack’s blood. I was wearing more of his blood on my ratty waistcoat than remained, still as a stagnant pond, in his own veins. My cheap old pocket watch was caked with it. Even the digital camera still feverishly clutched in Jack’s hands was slashed with red. Stupid New Victorian piece of crap. I’d always ragged on him for being so attached to that camera. Couldn’t even get the pictures off of it, not without a computer – and no one around here had a computer.
          Still, Jack had been so proud of it, of the snapshots he took. And I’d dutifully posed every time he’d ordered me to.
Slowly, trembling, I pried it out of his rubbery fingers.
         The lantern dimmed. I tried not to panic. I figured out how to turn the camera on, hoping futilely that the conspiracy theories were true – that the New Victorians could track every bit of tech their people used, every digital letter, practically every thought. Didn’t they put chips in their citizens, tagging them like cattle? Maybe, if the smuggler who’d snuck it through the Border hadn’t cracked and killed the ability, it’d work. Maybe.
         If nothing else, I could record a message.
         Just as I figured out how to shoot video, the lantern died, plunging me into perfect darkness. I swallowed back a sob and spoke aloud, my throat raw, my voice the voice of a ghost in its tomb.
         “If this thing is working…my name is Bram Griswold. I’m sixteen. It’s…July 4th, 2193. I live at the Griswold Farm, Long Road, West Gould, Plata Ombre, Punk-Controlled Brazil. I worked here to help support my mom and my sisters…in the Celestino mine. And these things, these, these people…they were eating…eating Jack…”
         That did it. I started crying. I dug my nails into the wounds in my own arms, the places where the monsters had bitten me, seeking desperately to use pain to pin myself to reality, to coax my mind back from the edge.
         It didn't work.
         I said it.
         “I’m pretty sure I’m going to…to die here. Emily, Addy…I’m sorry.” Tears ran into my mouth, a strange relief after the taste of vomit. “I’m so sorry.”

 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 73 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(44)

4 Star

(20)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not a fan of zombies but I loved this one

    I wasn't overly sure if I was going to like this book or not. I definitely wasn't planning on falling in love with it. I have been sort of feeling like YA is going down a very boring and sugar coated slope. On top of that Zombies make me VERY squeamish, but it's coming up to Halloween and it seems like Zombies are the new big thing, so I decided to give this book a shot. Even though parts of it were a little creepy with the rabid zombies, I felt that the author wrote a very good YA book that sort of touched base with the whole "cannibalism" without actually going into detail of them eating Brains. Which is okay with me since, like I said before, Zombie freak me out. A vampire, ghost, even a mummy, NO PROBLEM but the second those reanimated decomposing corpses start hauling butt towards me with hunger in their eyes, I am out of there!

    Which brings me to the romance of the book. A human and a zombie...? It helped that Bram wasn't falling apart and had all of him original body parts still intact but it took a little bit to convince me. They didn't automatically fall in love, in fact Nora was freaked out by Bram being a zombie when he saved her and fainted, when she awoke she was in his room at the Z base and quickly locked herself inside. By talking through the locked door to Bram and making a deal that every time he answered one of her questions, she would unlock one of the 10 locks on his door, she slowly started to trust him. Eventually she came out of the room but by that time, I wasn't so weirded out by the civilized zombies because by that point Bram had humanized himself in my mind.

    The book is split primarily into Nora, Bram, Pam and Victor's point of view. It helps to give you a sense as to what is happening out in the world where the rabid zombies are terrorizing the streets and slowly taking over. Even though things are sort of calm at the Z base, back in Nora's neighborhood all hell is breaking loose and she has no idea that it's happening. Pam's story is by far the scariest parts of the book because she is dealing with the rabid zombies and trying to convince her family that it isn't safe. I will be honest that while reading the book she reminded me a lot of Katniss from the Hunger Games. It wasn't just her use of weapon (a bow) but just the way she carried herself and stepped up and took control of protecting her family.

    One last thing that I want to touch base on before I leave you with an ending quote... this book is pretty funny. The civilized zombies are like normal people and the ones in Bram's close unit all joke around and act as if they are best friends or even siblings. They squabble and joke around a lot throughout the book.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Undead romeo and juliet

    I honestly loved this book more than I thought I would! It was absolutly amazing. The mix of past and future for the sretting is so unique and workks. The romance between nora and bram is like a supernatural romeo and juliet; so wrong that its right! Great plot, aawssome story idea, cant wait for a sequell!
    I recomend it for teens whho like something a little on the odd side:)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2012

    Recommended

    Lia Habel does for zombies what Stephanie Meyer did for vampire--humanized them. Even though dead, the undead have memories, feelings, and desires. Nora and Bram are an attractive couple--young, charming, dedicated to family and each other--however, Pamela is a wasted narrator. The use of her to show the entrenched societal values of New Victoria is unnecessary, a distraction from the flow of Nora and Bram. Interspersing Pamela and Victor, while giving a view of what was happening in different sites, slowed the narrative to a crawl. Other characters were stereotypical snobs: Aunt Geneva, Vespertine Mink, and Michael Allister. Growth in their lives would have strengthened the story, just as the acceptance of Nora by Z Company did. Overall, not a waste of time, and zombie lovers will like the action and gore.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Don't waste your time!

    I am really disappointed with the ratings on this book. I picked it up and read the discription and thought, "This isn't a book for me," but the one exerpt from the back of the book caught my attention. I read the reviews and decided to take a chance, but I wish I'd saved my time and my money on this one. The writing was fine, but the story was really lame. I guess I'm just not into the whole zombie thing, but aside from that, the love story was really lacking and the whole book just seemed really juvinile. I know this is a teen book, but really, I'd lable it a tween book. If you want a good book with some teeth to it, ready Hunger Games or Divergent. Both are great books!

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    Dearly departed

    Awesome

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  • Posted May 6, 2013

    Big fan of this series! Just started the second book. Zombies a

    Big fan of this series! Just started the second book. Zombies are always a plus but I love the love story that is included in the book. Like how there are good and bad zombies also

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    Very good

    Best book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Zombie Romance

    Best srange romance ever written! So unique and outlandish but it's up there in the ranks with best love stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    PLEASE ANSWER IF YOU HAVE READ THE BOOK

    I woul like to know if the love in this book is more creepy and grafic like in twilight of more sweet like in the hunger games between kattniss and peta.

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  • Posted September 24, 2012

    Amazing. If you are into the whole zombie and end of the world p

    Amazing. If you are into the whole zombie and end of the world phenomenon, then you will love this book. Its filled with action, romance, crude humor and a page turner until the very end. Love this book and can not wait until the second one hits the shelves :}

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  • Posted August 26, 2012

    I had been accepted to read and review "Dearly, Beloved

    I had been accepted to read and review "Dearly, Beloved",
    the second book in this series. That's why I had to read the first book
    too, the concept is very lovely and imaginative, loved it! Nora
    Dearly, teenager in the New Victoria, is left in the care of her aunt,
    when her father suddenly dies. Her life was close to normal, until she
    opened her curtains one night, and a herd of lifeless zombies started
    chasing after her. Nora is saved by a bunch of "good
    guys", the group of zombies who supposedly don't consume human
    flesh, and don't eat brains! They take her to their compound, where she
    struggles to cope with the fact that she is surrounded by hundreds of
    people who might want to eat her flesh. And then, there is the dark,
    enchanting and dead Bram. But whatever she has been through, will not
    prepare her for the news she is about to get or the fight she might
    face. What has happened to the New Victoria? What will happen to
    Nora and her friends? Is there a chance that she might be falling for a
    zombie? Find out much more when you read this breathtaking and
    exhilarating novel, Dearly, Departed... I loved, loved this book!
    Every aspect was professionally crafted. There are many zombie novels
    out there, so the storyline is not very unique. But the author has been
    able to create a magical world in the 2100s, a world that is based on
    the Victorian Age. It is beautiful, how the people dress in gowns and
    boys should not publicly touch girls. But there is still technology,
    like digital diaries that people write their notes in. The world
    building is a unique concept, indeed. I loved the characters! Nora
    is a straight-forward, head-strong young lady whom I adored and
    respected. Her best friend, Pamela is lovely and vulnerable, I loved her
    sincerity! Bram is so protective, touchy, lovely, adorable! That's the
    thing with the author, Lia Habel. Zombies are supposed to be scary
    flesh-eaters who tear their victims apart, but Lia Habel has strangely
    made zombies adorable, magical, funny and sarcastic! I loved all of the
    "good" zombies, Chas, Tom, Sam, Ren, etc... The
    characters develop throughout the book, Nora changes from an insecure,
    scared young girl to a head-strong, stubborn lady. I think Pamela has
    done the most development, she gets all so courageous at the end, I
    loved her character! The romance between Nora and Bram is not insta-love
    but not a love-triangle either. It is slow-moving connection between
    them, to watch their love blossom is indeed something beautiful to read!
    I will definitely be reading the second book in the series as soon as I
    can. I can't wait to know what will happen to Nora and Bram, will there
    love succeed? I just can't wait If you want an enjoyable, intriguing ,
    light read then Dearly, Departed is the one for you!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2012

    One of the most earth-shattering, ground-breaking, original book

    One of the most earth-shattering, ground-breaking, original books I've
    ever read. Dearly, Departed is one of the most original,
    earth-shattering, ground-breaking novels I’ve read all year and I loved
    it. I absolutely loved it. It wasn’t perfect, but I did fall in love
    with the main characters, Nora and Bram, the society in which they live,
    the New Victorian era, and the delightful combination of zombies,
    dystopia, science-fiction and fantasy. This book is a must read. Even if
    you read no other books this year, you have to read this one. Before the
    zombies get you. Nora, the protagonist of this story, is more
    interested in warfare, machinary and politics than she is in the things
    every respectable girl in the New Victorian society should be interested
    in – manners, etiquette and finding a suitable husband. Before he passed
    away, Nora’s Dad was one of the most prominent researches in the field
    of warfare and techonology, and she inherited this passion from him. But
    ever since he died, she’s been forced to follow her aunt’s ambitions and
    act more and more like the person she doesn’t want to be. When she has
    to go home for the summer – to the stately mansion owned by her aunt –
    being attacked in the middle of the night and being rescued by a horse
    of zombies almost sounds like the most exciting thing that could happen.
    Almost. When she’s captured by the zombies who, instead of simply being
    marked as evil, turn out to be Nora’s rescuers, Nora finds herself
    slowly adapting to their world, the world of the undead. When she falls
    in love with one of her captors, Bram, who also happens to be a zombie.
    But it didn’t take long for me to look behind Bram’s zombie-ness as well
    and see what it was Nora fell for. He’s charming, witty, caring,
    considerate, everything a girl could wish for. I’m glad to see there was
    no love triangle for a change, and that the love interest, albeit being
    a zombie, wasn’t a “bad boy” or a troubled individual, but a guy any
    girl could fall for, in real life as well. I’m a big fan of Bram. He
    defied all the zombie stereotypes, being so much more than just a
    flesh-eating, meat-craving walking corpse, but an actual individual with
    a wide array of emotions and feelings. Another big bonus for me in this
    book was the relationship between Nora and her best friend Pam. Now
    that’s one believable friendship I’d gladly cheer for. If Pam gets her
    own books, I’d definitely read them. I loved her. The only thing I
    found disappointing about this book were the multiple POVs and the lack
    of explanation. While I think the latter is because we’re going to find
    more answers in the next few books, there’s no reason for the multiple
    POVs except to confuse some readers. While I didn’t feel confused, I did
    think it was hard getting into every character’s head especially because
    the POV changed so often. But that’s the only “bad” thing I could find
    about this book, which is saying something. Dearly, Departed is an
    intriguing, original mish-mash of genres written by an author who
    certainly isn’t afraid to think outside of the box. Fantasy with
    paranormal elements, dystopian, zombies, science-fiction, romance,
    steampunk and some cyberpunk collided into a wonderful, fascinating
    story I would recommend to all YA fans. Add this to your TBR list. Right
    now. You won’t regret it.

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  • Posted July 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A beautiful story

    This novel started out a bit slow, but I enjoyed Dearly, Departed after I got through the first few chapters. Habel's unique world drew me in, and the dynamic characters kept me intrigued. I had a hard time putting this book down. The one thing I didn't like was the fact that there were five narrators. If it wasn't for that, then this book would have gotten an A from me!

    The multiple narrators really annoyed me. I don't feel that we needed a chapter with Wolfe's POV, nor did we need Pamela's POV. I think we could have learned about what was going on in New London from Bram's POV, when he spoke to Wolfe or heard something new. Victor's POV was necessary, I think, as were Bram's and Nora's. I liked all of the characters fine (even the villains were interesting), but the multiple POVs just annoyed me. Everything was first person, too, so the multiple POVs could have also been eliminated with a third person omniscient POV.

    Nora was a pretty awesome heroine. She was strong, stubborn, and an all around good person. I really liked the fact that she thought Bram was attractive even though he was dead (and in some ways looked dead). She seemed to love him because of his imperfections, not in spite of them. That within itself was a beautiful thing. Also, her loyalty and bravery made me like her even more. I am really looking forward to reading what happens to her next.

    Bram was super sweet and amazing. He was never angsty or emo, and he had reason to be. He treated Nora like a person, too. He stood up for what he thought was right, and I admired him for that. He was also pretty funny. I liked his sarcastic, snarky sense of humor. I thoroughly enjoyed reading from his perspective, and he completely won me over. Team Bram all the way!

    I wasn't Pamela's hugest fan, but she was all right. I usually get annoyed with the best friends, so the fact that she was all right in my book says a lot. She really cared about Nora, and she was selfless. She was just clueless at some points, and the way she threw herself at Michael irritated me. As flawed as she was, I was rooting for her, and I hope the next book brings her happiness.

    Victor was an interesting character, and I'd like to know more about him. I'm not going to spoil this for those who haven't read it, but he was very intriguing.

    The first few chapters were world-building chapters, and Habel did a terrific job of describing the futuristic society that she created. I particularly liked the hologram movies, and how when they used modern colloquial words, they said "as our ancestors used to say..." before it. That really made me feel like I was in New Victoria. I also liked the small touches, such as the parasols with the lights on top that indicated if the girls were practicing the "antiquated ritual" of dating, if they had been betrothed, or if they were gay. Items like that showed that this was a futuristic society and not historical Victorian society. Another thing that really stood out to me was the punks and how they were like futuristic steampunks. I enjoyed reading about them and hope to learn more about them in the sequel.

    Overall, I'd recommend this book to steampunk, dystopian, and zombie fans. Dearly, Departed is a unique and touching love story that you don't want to miss.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    READ THIS OHMIGOD

    I loved this book except for the ddiferent personalitys. I liked bram and nora but i found myself skipping through everyone else. I really like the fact that it was ZOMBIES!! LoVeD iT!! :)

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  • Posted June 15, 2012

    During BEA, I could not stop talking about this book. Everyone s

    During BEA, I could not stop talking about this book. Everyone seems to be on a steampunk kick, including me. But this one is a bit different. Let me explain: First of all, it's Victoriana, Steampunk, Sci-fi, and it includes, and don't faint, extremely hot zombies. Yep, I said it, hot zombies. Oh, more surprises? it takes place in the year 2195!

    Abraham Griswold "Bram" is a punk miner on the outskirts of the very Victorian New London, which just so happens to be in South America because the rest of the world has died off. Bram and his best friend Jack are killed within the opening moments of the book; attacked by unknown forces that are really not explained.

    Nora Dearly, is your proper Victorian young lady. Her dresses are the right length, her parasol is perfect, her boots laced up nice and tight. Yet, she can wield a digidiary and cell phone like the best of them. Yet, Miss Dearly is an orphan living with an aunt who has lost all their money. It's been one year since her father's passing and she is coming home for the Christmas Festivities. However, her stay with her aunt is short-lived. She is attacked by zombies trying to kill her and wanted by zombies who need to protect her.

    Pamela Roe is a girl of no station and is Nora's best friend. She seems more like a handmaiden to the lovely Miss Dearly, but they love each other equally. So when Nora goes missing, she does what she can to find out who took her and why. Pamma is one of those strong characters that I can really get behind. Her family may not be rich, and her brother might be annoying, but she loves them and Nora and would do anything to protect them. Even if it means crossing paths with zombies.

    Nora's life is turned around in a matter of seconds when a group of Z Company zombies take her to their camp and inform her that her father is not dead, but undead and has gone missing when he found out his daughter's life is danger. Bram is the one person that seems to get Nora's attention and even though he is undead, he helps her understand what is going on and why they are what they are.

    The language that Lia Habel uses made me feel like I really was in 1800's London, not some society three hundred years in the future. Nora's choice of words endear her to the members of Z Company, and not just because her dad is what created them. A Laz virus infected some people and when they were bit, they died and if you came back to life right away, you still kept all your facilities. Dr. Dearly created a way to keep their bodies mobile and supple so they weren't just losing limbs or various other bodily necessities. Complications arise when Nora and Bram start to fall for each other. A human and zombie? That is just not done. But there is humanity within Bram, and because he died so young (16), he still wants to experience things like love and devotion. Especially when he was so cruelly turned out by his family who now think of him as a monster.

    While Pam is doing everything in her power to find Nora, she is burdened with the task of realizing that Zombies took Nora and she may not be alive. Bram's CO will not allow Nora to call anyone. It saddened me that a wannabe suitor of Pam's, Michael Allister, was in fact using her to get closer to Nora Dearly. I really want to see Pam happy.

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book and I'm glad that I finally took the time to read it. The only drawback is that their are quite a few POVs in the book and getting into other people's heads can take you out of the story at times. It's a minor detail but it might annoy some readers. However, I definitely think if you like zombies, steampunk, sci-fi and Victoriana, this book is for you. Lia Habel is a young voice that I am definitely looking forward to reading more of.

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  • Posted May 5, 2012

    Characters This book is told from 5 alternating perspectives. Wh

    Characters This book is told from 5 alternating perspectives. Which I have come to learn some people enjoyed and others found overwhelming. I am of the latter opinion because I was not a huge fan of all of the characters. I had a hard time connecting with some of them, and jumping inside of their heads during certain chapters I came to find my mind wandered more often than others.

    Originality As somebody who just recently read the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies trilogy I found myself flashing back on bits of those stories as I read through this one. But in Dearly Departed we are in a futuristic world of 2195 in which advanced technology and the re-immersion of the Victorian Era etiquette has reestablished itself in society. Then the added bonus of Zombies, but these zombies are technologically advanced as well. These twists is what brings the uniqueness to this story that is unlike anything else that I have read.

    Plot In 2195 after world wars and destruction, the United States no longer exists as well as several other countries. Survivors forced to reform societies and relocated closer to the equator. They have also come to reestablish the Victorian Era etiquette as standards to live by, but still maintain and advanced upon the technology we know today. The city we are introduced to is New Victoria, where war is common and the zombies (aka the Greys) are a common danger in the new world.

    Writing: With this type of setting for this story there is no real boundaries when it came to sticking to a writing style. There is a mixture of proper English usage mixed with some more modern day speak. Not all of the characters are schooled in the “proper” way of behavior and speech as Nora is. With the combination of several different characters telling the story, there comes with that a variety of speech and behaviors that become accepted through the story. This perhaps is why in a society in which the female has been set back to having to marry to gain social status, we cheer when Nora picks up a gun and fights with several different types of weapons.

    Krista's Rating: I really had high hopes for this story. Although I know that it was a personal preference on why overall I did not fall in love with it. I found my mind wandering in several places throughout the story. The story is not told from the same perspective, and I usually love alternating perspectives but some of the characters I did not like and could not get myself to care about what was happening to them, or having to read about what they personally about what was happening to them. The thing that did keep me reading and wanting to find out how it ended was the zombies, and I'm not even a big fan of Zombies. But the author was able to put such an interesting twist on the idea of how they become zombies and the wide range of differences between them that I found intriguing.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Review: Dearly, Departed

    While describing this to a friend, I realized there's a lot of interesting elements to the story. And under most circumstances, I don't think it would work. But, for me it did. There's something about a post apocalyptic, Victorian society and zombies that just clicked with me.


    When I first added this book to my list, I had a feeling it was going to be more steam punk. Which made me apprehensive because I haven't had the best of luck with steam punk. I was completely wrong to think that. While society is modeling the Victorian era, it has completely modern (and futuristic) technology. Nothing seemed foreign to me. I really liked how the whole society was set up. The Victorian age is one that I enjoy reading about, and I don't think I've read anything (besides Incarceron) were society has purposely mimicked that time period.


    I especially enjoyed Nora. She's a fireball for a lack of a better term. She's grown up a little bit on the privileged side. But, she has no problems with those of lower rank (her best friend is). When she's kidnapped she shows appropriate behaviors, but also regroups and thinks for herself. There's never a time when she acts like the damsel in distress. I loved that she gets mad at her dad, but yet desires to understand what's made him this way.


    I enjoyed the subtle romance in the story. It never felt like it was being shoved in my face. Both characters actually spend part of the book denying their feelings, which is a change from the confession your undying love lines. I also loved the inclusion of good and bad zombies. It was light-hearted and fun, but not overly campy.


    I just really enjoyed this story. I'm looking forward to the next in the series!

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  • Posted March 22, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Oh why, oh why, oh why? I received this book as an ARC way back

    Oh why, oh why, oh why?
    I received this book as an ARC way back when (October last year!). I loved the cover, thought the story sounded interesting, tried to read it and fell flat. I tried it 3 or 4 times but was almost always distracted by another, more favoured book just released that I wanted to review more.

    I wish I'd stuck with it in the first place! I set myself 3 hours to get into the story before finally giving up and marking it as a DNF. By 3 hours I was already half way through the book and LOVING it!

    I wasn't keen on the different POV's (there are a few), I think that's been most peoples gripe about it, however when you finally reach the end of the book you realise how the story fell into place WITH the different POV's that couldn't have happened any other way. Sure, I wanted to read about Nora and Bram more than Victor or Wolfe but once I sucked it in and plowed through, the story was absolutely fantastic.

    I've never been one for zombie movies. I prefer the 'Shaun of the Dead' style rather than the others. 2 hours of playing Dead Rising on the PS3 also made me dislike anything zombiefied however thanks to the deft and art-like writing of Habel you get immersed in the lore and before you know it it feels like normal when a leg gets blown off or a bite meets flesh!

    The steampunk, new Victorian world-building was slow-going to start with but again, like the zombie lore, exceptional once you got used to ultramodern versus victorian. The city of New London was almost a holograph behind my own eyes as the author takes us through the story of a New Victorian era.

    And the characters are more than lifelike. Personally I loved Pamela, the BFF. She showed true courage, and who wouldn't love Bram. What a brilliant character that I'd even want to take him home and introduce him to my parents (despite the fact that he's dead). The slow burning romance between Bram and Nora was so lovely, I was just rooting for them from the first.

    All in all, this is a brilliant YA-Zombie-Steampunk novel and the first of a new series. I can't wait to get my hands on more!

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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Dearly, Departed is an excellent display of genre-mashing. The

    Dearly, Departed is an excellent display of genre-mashing. The very premise of the book is a paradox. It is a steampunk novel, but it is set in the future. The New Victorian society of parlor visits, poofy dresses, parasols and conservative morals co-exists with modern technologies like holograms, ID chips and mobile phones. The science fiction part of the novel rears its head with the unique take on zombies Habel adopts. I thought that Dearly, Departed was a very enjoyable book. It has a little bit of everything. It is steampunk, science fiction, Victorian, futuristic, full of adventure, laced with heart-pounding thrills, touched with horror, affected by betrayals, and marked with love and some teenage angst. It is a wonderful novel for fans of paranormal romance, science fiction, and zombies.

    That said, however, there are a few things that kept Dearly, Departed from reaching its full potential pinnacle of excellence, as far as I am concerned. The biggest issue for me was the plethora of points of view. Each chapter alters the perspective to another character. At times, this flows very well. I found that it worked particularly well with Nora and Bram (her undead love interest). However, some points of view changes just seemed jarring, and didn’t add much, if anything to the story. I think it would have been best for Habel to eliminate Wolfe’s perspective entirely, as it didn’t add anything to the story for me. It disrupted my immersion in the story to suddenly be in the head of someone that was not at all sympathetic to the good zombies. The other points of view did add things to the story, but left me with a feeling of disconnect. While I really enjoyed the novel, when I saw that the next point of view switched to someone that was totally separated from the current action, I often felt like putting the book down. I believe the novel would have felt much more solid if the number of narrators had been restricted.

    I will say, however, that the characters were my favorite part of the book. I really enjoyed seeing Nora’s reactions and responses as the biggest concern in her life changes from her unloving aunt trying to marry her off for money to dealing with the new world of living dead she gets thrown into. I loved Bram. His thoughts and actions as he realizes he is falling in love with a living girl, and as her struggles became his struggles were well-written and endeared me to him. He is such a caring individual that the reader sometimes forgets that he is a dead man, but his concerns, regret, and self-deprecating thoughts are a constant reminder of the fact. It makes him believable, and really shows that he is a great man. I enjoyed the other characters very much as well. Bram’s friends are quirky, and each have their own personality. I particularly like Chas, who is so unladylike and improper. She certainly infused a bit of humor into the book, and provides a respite from the upstanding proper New Victorian mores. I also like Pamela, Nora’s best friend. It was interesting to see the development of a potential zombie apocalypse from her eyes. I think these characters, and others I will not mention for fear of spoilers, really make the story what it is.

    I’d recommend this novel to anyone that thinks it sounds like their cup of tea. I know I look forward to the next installment, Dearly, Beloved.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2012

    Great read.

    As many have said, i myself was a bit scepticle about whether i would like it or not. The idea of a zombie andnhuman romance was a little strange at first but made me want to read that mucg more. I wasent to keen on all the different perspectives but it helpeday the story out. In the end i LOVED LOVED LOVED thia book, and i hoooope there will be a sequil, however like the posibility of a sad ending. Bram is an amazingcharacter and his perspective was by far my favorite.

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