Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Gone with the Respiration, Book 1

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the mores of an antique era. Sixteen-year-old Nora Dearly is far more interested in her country’s political unrest than in silly debutante balls. But the death of her beloved parents leaves Nora at the mercy of a social-climbing aunt who plans to marry off her niece for money. To Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. Now she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting a fatal virus that raises the dead. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and thoroughly deceased. But like the rest of his special undead unit, Bram has been enabled by luck and modern science 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.

Review: After hearing a lot about this novel I was quite curious to try it. Many are struggling to decide on the genre, but it’s true that I would rather call it a dystopian novel. In terms of those who see it as a steampunk novel, I have a little trouble to really agree. It is a changed world, using the morals of the Victorian era but nevertheless all the innovations we have today and even more. So we can’t see any really machines or objects out of their elements or truly original. In addition, each character speaks like we do now.

I found it very interesting to discover this world and all its intricacies. It must be said that there are still a large number of them. Everything is very different from what I had the opportunity to read so far, and it’s true that I would like to learn more. We therefore follow Nora Dearly, the daughter of a former great researcher who leaves school to have some days off with her aunt, now that the mourning period of one year for her father has ended. She can now wear colors other than black and socialize with others. But this girl is really different of the others of her rank. Mingle with others is not important to her, especially as she only needs her friend Pamela. While the other girls are looking for a husband in good company, unobtrusive and beautiful Nora is interested about the current events, like the ancient wars. Something that is not made for girls of good family. But overnight, her life is turned upside down in the most terrible ways. In fact, she is attacked in her home by Gray, some zombies working for a dangerous man who wants to recover her at all costs. Saved in extremis, she will end up in a strange basis of which she knows nothing and meet a very intriguing young zombie, named Bram. Despite his instructions, Bram reveals the whole truth to our heroine, and as well as us at the same time, showing us around a world that no one suspects.

I enjoyed discovering the history of each character. They all come from completely different cultures and it was interesting to see how they arrived there. I was quite surprised at first by the tie of the book. In fact, each chapter is from the perspective of a different character, and although I loved to follow Nora and Bram, I had a little more trouble with the other characters and I was hoping to finish each chapter to return to our two heroes. I understand however that these chapters there were important for understanding the history and what was happening in the different parts of the city.

Nora was really a character I really liked, she never gives up, and responds and acts like she thinks. Her friends and family are everything to her, and she is capable of anything to save them. The relationship established with Bram is pretty cute and I’m curious to see how it will evolve as we understand very well at the end of the novel that troubles are far from over.




11 thoughts on “Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

  1. Hehe, glad you enjoyed it as much as I did, D.! :))) Still, it’s steampunk, because steampunk is a background, a dressing but it can be mixed with any other genre as well. Look at God Save The Queen by Kate Locke. It’s based in the future and it’s still steampunk/urban fantasy. In your case it’s steampunk/dystopian YA. That’s kind of normal for the genre.

  2. I agree it was cute and that I didn’t really consider it steampunk either. Book 2 wasn’t as great for me as this one was unfortunately. I think I probably would have been happy with having just read the first one.

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