Friday, September 30, 2011

Dearly, Departed: Not Your Average Zombie Steam Punk Romance

Don’t let the cover throw you, this isn’t your average paranormal read, nor is it the epic love saga that the back cover leads you to believe. Instead, Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel, is a complex, multi-narrative, futuristic steam punk, war epic, with a dash of romance. Taking place in a future world that is an interesting mesh of Victorian manners, modern conventions, and futuristic technology, this new novel follows the stories of Bram—a young soldier with an unfortunate affliction (he’s a zombie), Nora—a young woman of surprising depth, Dr. Dearly—a underground leader and savior, Pamela Roe—Nora’s best friend, and Bram’s shady Captain, as they fight their way through a war outside of all human comprehension. Is this a zombie book? Well, yes, but it’s also different from any zombie series I have ever read or seen (and I’ve seen a lot), in that these undead are walking, talking, thinking, human beings banded together to keep those other zombies, the unthinking flesh eating hordes, away from the rest of humanity. Also, since the story is told by multiple narrators of varying ages, sex, social standings, and beliefs it avoids falling into the schmaltzy meanderings found in similar young adult books of the genre.

I blazed through this one. It was new and invigorating, something that I’m not finding too much of in the current selection of books. I enjoyed the fact that it was a tale about survival, and while there is an eventual romance, it didn’t take precedence over the plot, allowing character development and a much better image of the world in which these characters reside. Suitable for both guys and girls, thanks mostly in part to the male POV chapters, and slight gore content (very slight), and also multiple ages, author Lia Habel will have a much larger audience to appeal to. I eagerly anticipate the next installment (entitled Dearly, Beloved) in this wholly original new series.

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