Author: Lia Habel
Publisher: Del Ray (Random House Publishing)
Date of Publication: October 2011
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?
If you can get over the ick factor of rotting flesh, this is actually a pretty good story. I'm not a huge zombie fan, but I found myself entertained by Dearly Departed. This was an interesting mix of YA, steampunk, dystopia and zombies.
The year is 2195 and due to the melting of the polar ice caps and nuclear civil wars, the world is now divided into territories with tribes. For some reason, in rebuilding society, they have chosen the Victorian age as their social model except the technology is beyond what it is even today. Nora Dearly is an orphan who is kidnapped by rebels when she returns home for the holiday break. Rebels, known as Punks, have begun raiding and terrorizing the areas of New London. Turns out some of the punks are reanimated by the "Laz" virus. When you are reanimated, you are either a sane zombie or you go crazy and try to eat people.
That is just a short summary of what is going on in this book. At the heart of the book are the characters. Nora and Bram, despite their difference in mortality, are really sweet together. I loved Bram;'s character and really felt for him. He is a really noble guy who is trying to do the right thing, he just happens to be the walking dead. I will admit that the thought of a romance between a living girl and an undead boy grossed me out at first. When I was explaining the book to Autumn, I realized that this relationship is no more gross than a young girl and a vampire. They are the walking dead, right? They just don't have rotting flesh to deal with.
I found several parts
of the book very amusing. The humor among the good zombies was a lot of
fun. The author does a great job of raising sympathy for them. Just
like Bram, they are all in a situation that they are trying to make the
best of until they eventually rot away die for good. I think Chas was my favorite out of the lot of them.
The book is told through the points of view of multiple characters. On the audiobook, each character had a different narrator. That made it easier to remember whose point of view I was listening to and that made me like it even more. The book ends with a few questions and a cliff hanger. The next book in the trilogy, Dearly Beloved, comes out this month. So far there is no hint of the dreaded YA love triangle. I really hope it stays that way. This was a pretty good YA book. I found nothing really objectionable in the book, so I think that it would be OK for the over 14 crowd.