250 Word Review: Dearly, Departed (Lia Habel)
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.
Title: Dearly, Beloved
Author: Lia Habel
Length: 496 Pages
I really wanted to love this, but I couldn’t. I never expected to be a fan of zombie fiction, but picked up Dearly, Departed on a whim and loved it. It set the scene fantastically, had great characters, romance and drama, and made me think I could learn to love a genre I expected to hate.
Dearly, Beloved was, in my opinion, a disappointment in comparison. The chapters switch between characters, as they did in Dearly, Departed, but it just felt like a way to drag things out in Dearly, Beloved – and not in a gripping-the-edge-of-your-seat-because-of-the-tension way so much as Dear-God-when-is-something-going-to-happen?
Most of the characters are still great, with a few mediocre additions, but the romance was lacking. While I wasn’t expecting the same intensity as the first book, Bram and Nora felt disinterested and chemistry-less.
The first three-quarters of the book felt cluttered, but I stuck with it in the hopes it would grab my attention later on, which it did. The last quarter was dramatic and engrossing, and I finished in a few hours. But to be totally frank, that doesn’t give me the hours it took to read the first three-quarters back.
The book certainly wasn’t dreadful, and you might love it so give it a go, but for me it was just okay, incomparable to the fantastic first book.
Buy it? Definitely borrow it.
In a nutshell: Still curious enough to read book 3, but I won’t be pre-ordering it, just in case.