Synopsis from goodreads.com:
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.
My thoughts on the book:
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.
Buy Dearly, Departed!