Dearly, Departed {arc review}

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

via Around the World Tours

– YA, paranormal, fantasy, dystopian –

Book Order (Gone With the Respiration)

  1. Dearly, Departed * * * *
  2. Dearly, Beloved  (2012?)


Author’s Website :

Author’s Twitter : @liahabel

Amazon : hardcover / eBook (69 reviews : 4.0 avg)

Add To Your GoodReads TBR List (686 ratings : 4.03 avg)

In Six Words

utterly unique with only minor annoyances

Why did I read this? And am I glad I did?

To be honest, I have no idea why I decided to read this one. I’m not a fan of zombie books (well at least not compared to other paranormals). However, I enjoyed this more than I expected. I was captured from the opening lines (I was buried alive.) until the last page. I wasn’t sold on the multiple shifting of POVs until later in the book (which was the annoyance mentioned in the Six Words). Overall I’d recommend this book to fans of YA fantasy.

I’ll be picking up the next in the series and other books by the author.

Brief Summary

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.

– via

Plot/Pacing/Writing Style

The book picks up from the beginning and the mystery and action continue to build throughout the book in a way that kept me entranced. I loved the author’s writing style. It was often poetic without being too overdone.

The plot was fantastic. As you may know by now, as a science nerd I am overcritical of medical explanations for paranormal mythology. This one was done brilliantly. If there were a biological cause for zombies, prions would be it. Wonderful job Lia Habel! Wonderful and scary…

The setting was also very well developed. I’m not a fan of steam-punk, but this future copying the past era really worked for me.


At 26% I updated GoodReads with how shocked I was to be invested in the main characters so early. This was mainly due to Bram, but Nora grew on me as well.

Nora was an oddball for her time period. She was encouraged at a young age by her father to be interested in things little girls should not be. The book begins a year after her father’s death. Nora is not dealing well with her loss. However, once the action starts, I really liked her reactions and ability to adapt. I’m very much so looking forward to seeing more of her in the next book.

Bram can compete with any vampire love interest. He is smart, sweet, caring, brave, cute, and dead. His prologue had me hooked. His actions throughout the rest of the book had me falling for him. I really hope to see more of him.

The side characters were ok. I loved the other zombies, but wasn’t a huge fan of Pam’s (until the end). The bad guy was beautifully developed. I had no idea where to place him until the end.

Favorite Quotes

Dread became a solid, burning thing within me, something twisting my own flesh to its will, speeding my heart and making my skin slick with sweat.

– an example of what I loved about the author’s writing style


I knelt down to stroke the head of a black kitten, and it reared up for the contact. “The cute is strong in this one.”

– Got to love a Star Wars reference 🙂


“Vampires are just zombies with good PR!”

– So true!

Other Reviews

Tiger Holland (All-Consuming Books) rated it 4 of 5 stars

Wicked Lil Pixie (Natasha) rated it 3 of 5 stars

Jennifer Sicurella rated it 5 of 5 stars

Candace rated it 5 of 5 stars

Tara SG
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7 Responses to Dearly, Departed {arc review}

  1. This one made quite a flutter around the blogosphere right about the time it was released. It sounds unique enough to be interesting. And it’s on my wishlist!

  2. You’re back! And with a fabulous review to drive me craaaazy. I so want to read this one. I NEED to know how a zombie love-story works, despite not being big on zombies myself. I’ve heard so many good things about DD.

    I’ve heard a few people say the thing same as you: that they weren’t sold on the shifting POV. It actually struck means interesting given the only other steampunk I’ve ever read (Gail Carriger’s Soulless) does the same thing. Hmm.

    • Tara SG says:

      @ Sarah (Saz101) : I’m working on it! I’m really, really hoping that the new computer (and getting my office finished) will help.

      I wonder if that is why I’m not sold on steampunk! The two you mentioned are the only ones I’ve read and I didn’t like the shifting POVs in them. For me, any more than two shifting POVs tend to bug me.

  3. Saz says:

    Maybe it’s one of those genre idiosyncracies, like head-hopping is in romance, and instalove often is in YA PNR?

    I could deal with shifting POV if it wasn’t first person. Third person shifting POV I’m fine with (I grew up reading epic fantasty, and you have no epic fantasy without SPOV), but first person is jarring.

    I read this book last year that drove me NUTS. It shifted from the main character’s first person, to another character in third person, and I couldn’t get into it.


  4. “Bram can compete with any vampire love interest.”

    No. No. No. Why do I feel like crying right now?

    Okay, sorry to be overly dramatic, but really, it’s in my nature. LOL

    I’m not much of a zombie reader either, though I love zombie movies, so I’ve been holding off on this one, but now that it has your seal of approval…

  5. Felicia says:

    This one I have been going back and forth on…..

    Dang it! Now I feel like I should get it—oh well birthday coming up 🙂

  6. Pingback: On a Book Bender

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