Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Dearly, Beloved
Lia Habel

Rating: C-
Release Date: 09/25/12
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.

My thoughts on the book:
I really, really, really wanted to like this book. I enjoyed Dearly, Departed, and I had high hopes for the sequel. However, Dearly, Beloved fell short for me. It was extremely slow moving, and there were too many points of view to keep track of. Additionally, the pacing was off. If it wasn't for the super sweet ending, I would have rated this book much lower, and I would have refused to read the next book in the series. As it stands, I'll give Habel one more try and hope she does things a bit differently for book #3. 

One of my main complaints for Dearly, Departed was that the story was told from 5 points of view. That was 3 too many, in my opinion. Well, Dearly, Beloved tells the story from 6 points of view. A new zombie named Laura is added into the mix. All of the characters' voices sound the same, so I often times forgot whose POV I was reading from. Furthermore, the extra POVs seem to serve only as fluff as they rarely contribute anything to the story. I ended up skipping over half of the random POVs and just focusing on Bram and Nora because I simply did not care what the other people had to say. Finally, when the extra POVs do contribute something to the story, it spoils the mysterious aspect of the story. Once you have the guilty parties figured out, it makes the book about a million times more boring. A little mystery would have been a good thing, especially in this novel with the screwed up pacing. 

I already mentioned the pacing was off. It just moved too slowly for my liking. It took me over a week to finish this book because I just could not get into it enough to finish it. When I hit the last 15% of the book, the story finally started to pick up. The ending would have been a lot more exciting had there been a big reveal instead of simply a giant mess, but at this point, I took what I could get. The very ending is super sweet and touching and even brought a few tears to my eyes. The ending is the only reason that I rated this a C- instead of a D or an F. That was the ONLY redeeming point of this novel. If I hadn't already had a predisposed attachment to Bram and Nora, I would not have been able to finish this book. 

Bram and Nora were adorable as usual, but I really got irritated at the New Victorian constraints that Dr. Dearly and Nora imposed on the relationship. That made things even more boring somehow. Bram's sense of duty got a little old, too, but that's part of what makes him who he is so I went with it. Overall, I still love Bram. The other character were okay, but some of them got on my nerves. As usual, I hated Pamela. She is just obnoxious, and I kind of hope she goes away soon. Vespertine really interested me in this novel, and I'm looking forward to seeing more from her. Her POV was actually interesting. Michael is a whiny brat and needs to be shot. Laura is boring as crap, and if it wasn't for her unique physical description, she'd be a very flat character. I really hated reading from her POV. The other secondary characters kind of took a backseat in the story, which I didn't like. Instead of having 12308712987 POVs, perhaps Habel could show the secondary characters' stories through Nora's eyes. That would have been tons better. 

Overall, I was not blown away by this novel. I will be reading the sequel only because of the ending and the fact that I did like the first book. I'd recommend this book to people who adored the first novel and simply must know what happens next. I would suggest checking it out from the library first to make sure you can stand all the POVs, though. 

Want to pre-order Dearly, Beloved?


  1. Sorry to hear this book wasn't for you! I never finished the first one in the series, although hats off to Habel for her really unique take on zombies and her cool futurisitic world.

  2. sad to hear that u didn't like it. I had the same problem with POV in the first book. I rmb that I keep getting Nora and Bram's POV confused because they have basically the same voice. I think I'm gna pass on this one just because I'm not really curious about what's going to happen in this, what with zombies vs humans and prejudices on each side. that gets old pretty fast

  3. Aww, I have such high hopes for this one. I am sorry you did not like it more. I also did not like that the first one was told from many POV's. I love Bram and Nora as a couple. So sweet!

    Great review, Amber. :)

    - Beckie


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