Quick Review: Dearly Departed by Lia Habel

Posted 26 January, 2012 by Danny in Blog, Danny, Danny's Book Review, Featured, Uncategorized / 13 Comments

Dearly Departed CoverDearly Departed

by Lia Habel (website, twitter)
Book I in the “Gone with the Respiration” series
Genre: YA  Dystopian, Zombies, Steampunk
Published October 18th 2011 by Del Rey
copy received from publisher
Get your own: amazon (Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook)
synopsis from goodreads

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

Again a very unique mix of genres! We get a Dystopian, we get some elements of the Victorian era and then we get some Zombies and also some Steampunk elements….  Nice mix! And after reading so many exciting reviews, I was eager to pick it up!

Slow Beginning…

I definitely took me some time getting into the story. Getting to know the basics of the world we find ourselves into, which is a mix of Dystopian and Victorian style. Refreshing, but as I said it took me some time get into it. Also, what I found very confusing were the multiple POV’s. And by multiple I mean not only the two MC but also some secondary characters….

Zombies… *shutters*

Interesting was the take on Zombies, which was less paranormal and more science and is more like a disease or virus. The descriptions of the Zombies were sometimes very ugly and slightly disgusting. (And here I’m talking about missing limps etc…*shutters*) However, this was an essential and important part of the whole world building.

Adorable Main Characters and Sweet Love

The characters were lovely, especially Nora and Bram. With both I could connect very easily and I truly liked them, the romance between them was very sweet, slow and adorable. Very Victorian in a way 🙂 Nora was brave and strong and I loved how easily she adjusted to everything that was thrown in her way. Bram was the perfect strong Gentlemen! Some of the secondary characters were greatly portrayed as well, which has to say something since the story is very rich of characters involved.

Towards the middle and the end, the story picked up pace and I found myself enjoying the story much more. There was also lots of action  and the story got more tense which made it a much better read.

Bottom Line

Altogether I liked the book, but I didn’t blow me away. But, this was the first book which was mainly focusing on world building and introducing the many characters that are important for the story, building up for the next book. I loved the mix of generes which was very unique and refreshing!

Much Love,


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13 Responses to “Quick Review: Dearly Departed by Lia Habel”

  1. Great review. I've not read anything Zombie yet and I was almost considering getting my feet wet with this one but now I know I should steer clear *shuddering* Not my cup of tea! Thank you!
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    DannyBookworm 1/26/2012

    It seems like you are as wary about Zombies as I am… I'm also not the biggest Zombie Fan, but I read some many awesome reviews about this one that I had to pick it up. It was a nice and entertaining read, but it simply didn't blew me away.
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  2. This one definitely has a lot of world building which made it a heavier read for me. But the zombies didn't really bother me and I'm not a big zombie fan usually. I liked how some were good and some were bad and how the author made the love interest a good zombie. It's just a different twist and I liked that. I loved this book more then you but I get what you're saying as well 😉
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    DannyBookworm 1/27/2012

    I really loved that too! No black and white, Zombies are all bad – I enjoyed that. Also, one of the most intriguing characters were indeed Zombies! I also adored Bram, he was really awesome! Due to the slowness I couldn't get much more into the story and the different POV made it also not easy to read. I did like it, just not as much as I hoped!
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  3. Kristin

    Sooo, I'm on my own here because I totally loved this book. I loved the characters, world building, action, differing points of view, blending of genres and, as Danny said, adorable romance. Though I'm still not sure I'd be able to get with a zombie.

    Now I'm going to try to recruit you non-zombie fans by suggesting some titles (all are adult): My Life As A White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland and the Living with Zombies series by Jesse Petersen. I'm reading Allison Hewitt Is Trapped by Madeleine Roux and I'm not too far into it but so far I love it.

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    DannyBookworm 1/27/2012

    Hehe! Kristin, glad you are here and no, I don't think you are totally alone. I know that many people absolutely loved this book, maybe for exact the same reasons I didn't get into it so well. Oh and I'm right there with you, I couldn't go out with a Zombie, A Vampire- yes that might work 😀

    Thank you so much for those recommendations! I know that pushy really likes Zombies Stories and Heather as well!!
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  4. Lori Strongin

    I've heard a lot of conflicting reports about this one. Some people say the world building elements trump weak characters, and others say they would have been totally lost in this world without strong characters to be their guides. I think this will just have to be one that I need to read and make up my own mind over. 😉

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    DannyBookworm 1/27/2012

    Oh yes Lori, totally and wholeheartedly agreed. It's really hard to describe how to feel about this book and I can relate somewhat to both statements. Both makes sense. For me the different POV made it hard to get into the story while I do understand without them it would be even easier to get lost….
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  5. I get that the first book has a lot to do, world building, character development, story line, plot, but that first book needs to WOW you to keep you coming back. I mean when I read Under the Never Sky, there was no doubt in my mind I was coming back. I'll stand in line for the sequel to that one! But if the first one is just so-so, (even with that gorgeous cover) then what's to come back for? Just pondering, wondering about this whole publishing business.

    Very nice quick review. I'm with you on the zombies. I'm not big on them anyway. But, they have their place in the world and I love the mash up of steampunk, zombies and dystopian. I still have my eyes set for this summer's release of Something Strange and Deadly, another mash up.

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    DannyBookworm 1/27/2012

    My friend, as usual you get right to the point. There are tons of books that deal with lots of world building to get readers ready for the next book. Under The Never Sky was a perfect example, yet here I never felt lost which has to say something since it was also a very complicated world with different and complicated rules. And yes, very likely this is one of those series that I might nor follow along. I might have read the next one if it would have been already there, but waiting for a year? I'm pretty sure my curiosity is gone by then.

    Zombies is just some take on the supernatural that doesn't appeal to me so much. I really liked how they were shown here all with missing limps and such, exactly what comes into your mind when you hear Zombies – but it simply doesn't appeal to me. I want to fall in love along with the MC but … I simply can't!
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  6. I got this book as a Christmas gift but haven't read it yet ..
    I'm hoping I'll enjoy this book .. I've never read a YA book with zombies in it so I'm very excited about this one !!
    I hate when premises are just a way to introduce a series .. When I start reading a new series, I want to be blown away immediately !!
    GREAT review Danny 🙂 !!
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