Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: October 18th, 2011
Genre: Steampunk, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Series: Gone With the Respiration #1
Cover: A+- One of my favorites of 2011 and I think it captures the tone of the story extremely well.
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.
Dearly, Departed was easily one of the strangest books I have read this year. Not because of the plot, characters, or setting. It was because of the romance between Nora and Bram. Bram’s a little bit different than most people. It’s because he’s not human. He’s a zombie and he’s kind of falling apart. But somehow Nora falls for him and she’s human. I’m not going to lie. The romance kind of squicked me out. But it also worked too. Because I also sort of fell for Bram myself. Yeah, he was a zombie. But he was also an awesome person with a great personality. And the bond between Nora and Bram is strong. And it’s built on a great foundation of friendship. So yeah, there’s that. Moving on.
The setting of this book was absolutely kickass. When I read the blurb for this book, I thought it would never work. It sounded ridiculous. Corny even. A steampunk setting in the year 2195? In Central America? With zombies? Surprisingly, it wasn’t. I loved it so much. The imagery was fantastic and it blew me away. Not corny in the least. I cannot imagine the thought process that went into writing something like this. What a great imagination this author has. In these pages you will find underground cities, gas lamps, airships, zombie doctors and military, numerous electronic devices (it is the future after all), and all manner of steampunk gadgetry. Putting it simply, this was just a very cool book.
And then there were the characters. They were extremely well-written with differing personalities. Some of my favorite characters were zombies. I loved Chas (short for Chastity), the petite female zombie with a metal plate in her lower jaw because her teeth fell out. I also loved Renfield. He was the nerdy zombie boy with a penchant for chess and computers. Some of the things these two said made me laugh out loud. And then there was Doctor Sam, the zombie that somehow rigged his body so he could walk around headless. That’s right. He kept his head on a hook in the lab and walked around and did his work without it. Bizarre? You betcha. Nora was the outspoken female protagonist that raised a ruckus everywhere she went. I like to think I have a little bit of Nora in me. She was fun, loud, and a fighter. The characters were amazing.
If I have one complaint about Dearly, Departed it’s that I found the book a bit long for the plot line that we were given. I didn’t have any issues with pacing, but somehow I would have liked to see the book cut down in a few places for length. I am afraid that it might deter some readers who are looking for a quick payoff with their reading material. I enjoyed the descriptions and world-building. I’m not so sure that everyone will. It might be a bit excessive for a young adult novel. I had no issues with this whatsoever, but I’m also in the business of recommending books to other readers, so I feel as if it’s something I have to point out. But I LOVED it.
End result, I loved this book and I love this series. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one. Steampunk is not for everyone, but it is a genre that is quickly moving up on my list of favorites. Extremely unique book from a debut author that I feel we will be seeing a lot of in the future.
Final note: Get yourself a copy of this book if you love steampunk, zombies, and don’t mind a bit of a lengthy read. I’d read it all over again if I had time to. Definitely a favorite of mine.
To purchase a copy of Dearly, Departed from Amazon.com, click here: Dearly, Departed