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Thursday, October 27, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel @liahabel @PRHAudio

TITLE: Dearly, Departed
SERIES: Gone With the Respiration, Book #1
AUTHOR: Lia Habel 
NARRATOR: Kim Mai Guest
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: October 18, 2011
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 16 hrs and 46 mins
GENRE: Science Fiction/Steampunk, Science Fiction/Dystopia
Love can never die.

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.

MY REVIEW:

Steampunk isn’t really my thing, but I really enjoyed this!

The protagonist is Nora Dearly, and the year is 2195. About 150 years before then, global disaster struck. The winters became incredibly long and the North and South Poles disappeared under ice. As a result, people had to migrate to the warmer zones near the equator. Incoming refugees from Canada brought a deadly strain of influenza that killed 25% of people. Famine struck, and then there was the Second American Civil War which used nuclear weapons and destroyed the United States. What wasn’t destroyed by the war was decimated when a volcano erupted at Yellowstone. The survivors had to find a way to use bio-fuel and solar power in order to survive. As they reinvented themselves, they settled upon the Victorian era of dress which they felt modeled propriety and class.

Teenage Nora is an orphan. Her mother died when she was just nine years old, and she has just completed the one-year mourning period of her father’s death as the book begins. She is returning home from boarding school to live with her aunt, when she is approached by a man with strange cloudy eyes who tells her that she is in danger. The stranger tells her that he was in the Army with her father, Dr. Victor Dearly, and that her father saved his life. Dr. Dearly was an expert of infectious diseases, and he was head of the Department of Military Health. The stranger insists that Nora needs to come with him, but he is scared off by police constables.

Nora returns to her home, but she is soon attacked by a group of monsters. She is not your typical girly-girl but a force to be reckoned with. She used to watch war movies with her father, so she grabs a weapon and starts shooting. The monsters should be dropping like flies, but they keep coming at her. The soldier that previously gave her the warning returns to help her, and he brings her to safety. The stranger is Bram Griswold, who has been affected by the Lazarus Syndrome or “The Z” named by her father. The virus reanimates the body after death, and the only way that someone afflicted with The Z can be killed is with a hit to the brain. Bram is somewhat of a refined zombie, and he does not feed on flesh. Dr. Dearly discovered methods of feeding the body to keep it from decomposing. There are other zombies, like the Grays who attacked her, who are nothing more than monsters with rotting flesh and exposed muscles and bones. Nora has to learn to trust these undead friends if she wants to survive.

This book was a pleasant surprise! I really enjoyed the world that Habel created, and I loved the different types of zombies. The only thing that I’m not really clear on is how the Lazarus Syndrome developed. Was it from the influenza strain brought by the Canadian refugees, or was it part of the fall-out resulting from the nuclear war? I am not really sure on that.

I honestly never thought that I’d be rooting for a human girl’s romance with a zombie, but Bram’s relationship with Nora was so sweet. I loved how he gained her trust, little by little. Nora is also a wonderful character, who is brave and determined and smart. I am very impressed with Habel’s debut novel, and I will definitely be continuing on in the series!

There were a number of narrators who brought this wonderful book to life! Kim Mai Guest narrated Nora’s parts, and she was new to me. I absolutely loved her. I do not know who narrated the male points of view, but he was fantastic as well.

MY RATING:

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