Dearly, Departed, by Lia Habel

I'm a big steampunk fan, so, on my usual trawling through recommended books I found this. THIS being Dearly, Departed, by Lia Habel. THIS being steampunk meets zombies meets post-apocalyptic in one crazy sounding mash-up. THIS being the best book I've read all year.

Blurb: 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.

The Good: Zombies in the future mixed with steampunk? Yes please! Other than being original, the plot itself was fantastic. Fast paced, intriguing, and with a nice dose of romance. Speaking of romance, it was subtle, and didn't make you as squeamish as you might expect, considering its a zombie-human relationship:

“The fact that she made this beeline for me both warmed my soul and made me want to turn around, walk out the door, and find a cliff to fling myself off of.”

The Bad:I did find it odd that it's written from the first person perspective of about five characters, but given the writing style, it worked well so it's not really a "bad".

Extra tid-bits: There's a sequel! And I shall be eagerly awaiting its publication.

The Verdict: A wonderfully funny, riviting read for anyone who likes paranormal, zombies, steampunk, and/or romance. Highly recommended to all!

Writer's Block NZ's Verdict: 10/10

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

This is a sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth. If you haven't read that book yet, I'd recommend reading it first because even though the main character in that one isn't the main character in this book, it's her daughter. Knowing what happened in the first book will really help when reading The Dead-Tossed Waves. Here is the review I did last year for The Forest of Hands and Teeth: link.

From Goodreads: Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She's content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast--home is all she's ever known and all she needs for happiness. 

But life after the Return is never safe.

Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried. And now, Gabry's world is crumbling. 

In one reckless moment, half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. 

Now Gabry knows only one thing: if she has any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother's past.

Overall: I like the book. I didn't quite read it in 24 hours like the first book but it only took a couple of days for me to finish. While I kind of hoped there wouldn't be a love triangle and even though there is one, it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story. While I've never been into zombie stories before, these are the only ones I've read actually, I really do enjoy the world and stories that Carrie Ryan has created. Since I'd read the first one quite a long time ago, I couldn't remember all of the details and I kept trying to find connections between the two. Some places I was right and others I mixed names up. We do learn more about the villages, the infection, and even get some answers to things from book 1.

Characters: The main character, Gabrielle (Gabry), is well written and complex. She has many different moments of weakness, strength, group strength and even selfishness. The other characters in the story all served their purposes in moving the story forward and giving the reader more information about the world they are within. It's also an interesting side to see of Mary because in the first book we followed her story and survival, but in this one she is the mother. She even admits to how she was selfish when she was younger, which I know some people had issues with when reading her story. So, it was different having the characters point out their own flaws in that way. Again there are two boys that the main character has confusion about and some of those parts lost me a little. Overall, they did add to the conflict as things around them continued to crumble.

Story: One thing that I think Ryan does in a way that I almost envy as a writer is how she manages to make things worse for her characters without it feeling like she just added it to for more tension. It felt right for the story. In both books, things always get worse up to the very end and secondary characters certainly aren't safe. It's hard to tell who will survive and that makes for a need to read feeling that I enjoyed.

It was a good book that many others will enjoy.

Dawn's Verdict: 8.5/10

  • Powered by Blogger.