Title: Dearly, Beloved
Author: Lia Habel
Genre: YA Steampunk
Series: Gone With the Respiration (Book 2)
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 496 Pages
ISBN-10: 0345523342 (Del Rey)
ISBN-13: 978-0345523341 (Del Rey)
Reviewed by: Kayla
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 illness—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.
Quick & Dirty: Zombies fight for independence, while characters hash out revenge from Dearly, Departed.
Opening Sentence: When I got to the top of the hill, the zombie caught me.
Phew. This is such a busy book. There are so many character arcs and details that somehow blend together that it keeps your mind reeling (and it’s pretty ingenious how it all plays out).
Dearly, Beloved picks up a few months after where Departed left us. As a refresher (WARNING SPOILER ALERT!!):
Z-company has split up, Bram and Nora have declared their love, and the vaccine for “The Laz” didn’t work. Now Dr. Dearly is busy working on a new vaccine while a revolution is brewing in the city of New Victoria. Meanwhile, Michael Allister, heir of Allister Genetics, is plotting revenge against Bram Griswold because he stole Nora from him (Michael’s insane. Just saying.) Pamela (Nora’s best friend) is struggling with PTSD, and her house being bombed in the beginning of Beloved. Nora and Bram are caught in the middle of the chaos, and the time of Bram’s life is ticking. Oh, and a group of new zombies called The Changed are looking for independence. Mix all this together and add a handful of new characters and you have a complex and fast paced steampunk story of zombies and revenge.
I was dreading the character switches. Just like Departed, Beloved switches perspectives every chapter. From Nora to Bram to Michael, to Vespertine Mink. But unlike Departed, I actually enjoyed the perspective change, after the first few chapters. There was enough suspense and action in each chapter I was engaged in each story as it unfolded and then melded together with the other perspectives. So a gold star to Lia Habel for the improvement!
The entire story is like 5 different stories in the beginning (note: this is not a bad thing). The characters all know each other, but some don’t mingle with the others. Although it was a slow beginning, the story really picked up and was really intriguing. The voices were distinct, helping the perspectives to become more distinguished.
My favorite perspective was Michael. Yes, he is completely obsessed with Nora and hates my favorite character Bram, but his voice and point of view is intriguing in a very weird way. I sort of feel bad for him with his daddy issues (he’s very neglected, not that he’d admit that), but bad guy perspectives are always interesting when he thinks he’s in the right.
Overall, this was a very good (but very long) book that had slow parts, but when it got going it never stopped. You might want to review Departed before you read this because a lot of characters come back that I didn’t remember (like Lopez). So place this book on hold or pre-order it on the web because this book is worth it.
The first sparks of a deep, blistering anger started popping in my stomach upon hearing those words. My entire unlife was an exercise in control, but Hagens was pushing buttons that ought not to be pushed. I felt myself take a step toward her, even as my higher brain processes told me to back down. That it wasn’t worth the risk.
“Bram.” Samedi moved in front of her, his eyes boring into mine. “Let’s go. Come on. We have a lot of things to figure out, but not here.”
“Look at him. He won’t even fight me,” Hagens said scornfully.
“Miss Hagens,” Dr. Chase said as she moved to usher Renfield and Chas forward. “Do shut up. And everyone check your pockets again.”
The Gone With the Respiration Series:
2. Dearly, Beloved (September 25, 2012)
FTC Advisory: Del Rey/Random House provided me with a copy of Dearly, Beloved. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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