Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: Dearly, Beloved

Author: Lia Habel
Format: eBook
Print Length: 496 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Published: September 25, 2012

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 virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.

My Thoughts

When Dearly, Beloved begins a few months have passed since humans have found out there are zombies. While some humans have accepted the zombies, others fear, despise and hate them. Nora and Bram have started a relationship. Pam is suffering in silence from anxiety and survivor’s guilt. There is a new Laz strain that turns humans into normal (aka mindless and violent) zombies. A group called The Murder is conducting hate crimes against zombies and the humans that accept/love them.

I absolutely loved Dearly, Departed. So naturally I had high expectations for Dearly, Beloved. While the book was good, there was something missing. It did not have the same sense of urgency that Dearly, Departed had. I still liked the book, still got annoyed when I was interrupted from reading it. But I felt it was missing something.

Nora and Bram’s relationship is as cute as ever. They are really realistic about their time together being limited. They even address it. Nora is no longer in school as her school has not opened back up since the zombie reveal. She is trying hard to follow her daddy’s rules- but she is bored, and feels useless. So of course, she will break a few of those rules. Her can-do attitude and sense of justice is still as strong as ever. I love that she does not give into the “woe is me” attitude that several characters in YA books give into.

Bram is no longer a member of the army, as the government has let them go. He also has nothing to do except keep Nora safe. When two militant groups pop up: one human and one zombie, he realizes that the danger is on both sides. This does give him a renewed sense of purpose.

Pam is literally going through the motions. She is being strong for her family and Nora- not letting them see how much she is hurting. She feels forgotten by her parents and Nora. She is also a little grossed out by Nora’s relationship with Bram. Which is understandable- he is a zombie for crying out loud.

The book is done in several points of views no longer sticking to Bram, Nora and Pam’s. This I felt took away from the central characters a little. I honestly saw no need for Michael’s or Lauren’s point of view, although I did yearn for Michael to be bitten. Lauren was a character that I just could not connect with.

My Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Other Characters

Pam’s Parents- grieving over their son, acceptant of zombies.
Coalhouse- Zombie with an identity crisis. 
Lord Lopez- Only one that notice’s Pam’s despair- hopefully they fall in love.

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