Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5 Original Review Link
Nora Dearly is not like other girls her age. Instead of being interested in clothing, social calls and raising her station through marriage, Nora is fascinated by military history and politics. With both her parents dead, Nora has no choice but to live under the control of her social-climbing aunt. At least, until zombies attack her home. Nora is saved by masked military men…who aren’t exactly alive themselves. Thrust into a world unlike the one she’s known her whole life, Nora learns of “The Laz” a virus that reanimates the dead. She also happens to fall for Captain Bram Griswold, a handsome, noble soldier who happens to be a zombie himself. As the world tumbles into chaos around them, Nora and Bram must fight for the survival of all they know and love, all the while knowing that the clock is counting down on their doomed romance.
Zombies, star-crossed lovers, action, adventure, romance and more are at play in DEARLY, DEPARTED. With her debut novel, author Lia Habel has delivered a wholly unique story that is sure to entertain fans of paranormal, steampunk, cyber-Victorian and romance alike.
Nora is an intelligent, brave young woman that I adored from the first. She’s not super human and she doesn’t automatically accept the situation she’s been thrown into, but rather asks questions and reacts like a normal person would. Though DEARLY, DEPARTED is told in the first person from five points of view, Nora is the readers’ entrée into the world that Ms. Habel has created. Learning about this inventive world through Nora’s eyes was one of my favorite aspects of DEARLY, DEPARTED.
As for the zombies, I absolutely loved Bram and all the zombies of Company Z. They’re victims of The Laz, but they’ve retained their minds and personalities and, with the help of science, they’re able to function so well you almost wouldn’t know that they were the reanimated dead. Their strength of mind and character in the face of all they’ve been through endeared them to me. I don’t think I could pick a favorite among those of Company Z, but if I had to, it’d be Bram. I can easily see why Nora falls for him. He’s intelligent, honorable and doesn’t kid himself that his time is limited. He’s also brave enough to try and defy the odds by being with Nora, knowing that there is little chance that their star-crossed love could end happily.
I don’t want to talk too much about DEARLY, DEPARTED, for most of the fun of the story comes from not knowing what happens. I’ll end this review by saying that DEARLY, DEPARTED was a wonderful story and I’m looking forward to Ms. Habel’s next GONE WITH THE RESPIRATION book, DEARLY, BELOVED.
Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here courtesy of Romance Junkies.