Book Review of Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration #2) by Lia Habel

Posted September 5, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 18 Comments

Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: September 25th, 2012
Pages: 496
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Source: NetGalley 

Blurb: 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.


Review: So, heads up. This is probably going to be a pretty short review. It’s just that I was so damn disappointed by this book and I don’t really have a lot to say. You’d think I would, but I’m feeling very ho-hum about this and I just don’t really care to go on and on about the reasons Dearly, Beloved didn’t work for me. It’s simple really. The plot was all over the place, boring, and really just overcooked. 

What it comes down to is this: I just wasn’t interested enough in the storyline. Throughout 90% of the book, I was just bored. So why did I keep reading it and not DNF it? Well, several of my blogging friends had already DNFed it, and I wanted to be the one to see if it got any better. Unfortunately, it did not. And there is no one more disappointed about this than I am.

I know Dearly, Departed didn’t work for every reader out there, but it worked for me. I LOVED that book. Maybe it was a case of me reading the right book at the right time, I don’t know, but I was seriously impressed by the author and her writing. I loved her characters and the individual voices they all had. I didn’t even mind the multiple POVs. I loved the world-building too, even if it didn’t always make sense. So, going into book two, my expectations were pretty high.

And they were let down. Bigtime. The different POVs didn’t work so well for me this time. It really disrupted the pacing of the book, and the thing is, all the characters sounded the same! If there wasn’t a character heading at the beginning of each chapter, I would have thought they were all Nora until some other character pointed out otherwise. I was really in love with the writing in D,D but I really feel as if the characters lost their spark in this book. For me to find out whether it was me or the author that has changed, I would have to go back and read the first book again, and I just don’t have the time to do that.

Also, the plot and pacing? Hot mess. I mean, HOT. MESS. The story didn’t get going until the book was more than halfway over. That’s why I was so tempted to DNF but I didn’t. I persevered, and I’m sorta sorry I did. It wasn’t worth it. The plot of D,D was fantastic and So suspenseful. This book barely had a plot and like I said earlier, it really felt overcooked. Like the plot was tacked on and an afterthought. Like the publisher said, “This cannot be a standalone. You have to come up with an idea for a second book because that is what is selling right now.” And then the author was forced to go back to the drawing board and make some crap up that really didn’t work at all. It felt almost cartoonish and corny to me. In my status updates I mentioned that I think this series would have worked better as a standalone and I stand by that statement. I just didn’t give a crap about this plot. It did nothing for me. The two warring factions, patient one, and then you had Nora and Bram acting lovesick over each other, which really kind of nauseated me, to be completely honest. I just didn’t like any of it.

I gave it two stars because I still appreciate the setting and atmosphere that the author has created. I wish there had been more of New Victoria in this book instead of a bunch of characters I didn’t care about running around and doing things that made no sense. Half the time I didn’t even understand what was going on and that was probably because I lost focus somewhere and skipped over some minor detail that would matter later on. But that’s the thing. It’s not my fault that the writing made me glaze over in the eyes. 

Oh. And Nora did some STUPID shit in this book. I don’t remember if she behaved the same way in book one, but I wanted to slap her more than once. 

So there you have it. There are some mixed reviews for Dearly, Beloved out there right now. Some reviewers say this one was better than Dearly, Departed. Phooey. I completely disagree. Read this one if you MUST continue the series. I will probably be reading book three, although it does depend on the blurb. I will not torture myself with inane plotting again. Won’t do it. That being said, I would still read something else this author wrote. I like her writing style.


18 responses to “Book Review of Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration #2) by Lia Habel

  1. Boo! I am not really looking forward to this one in my NG pile anymore. Oh well. I need to clean NG out, so if I’m not feeling this it gets a big fat DNF. Thanks for taking the time to finish, even though it was painful.

    I liked the first book quite a bit too. I don’t remember Nora being lame, so I think she may have changed.

    • Don’t be afraid to DNF it if you don’t like it. I read to the end, and though the plot picks up a bit, if you aren’t already enjoying the story, I doubt that will change.

  2. Lea

    Ah, Kara- you are such a trooper. To make it though ANY book suffering from second book syndrome is mind-numbingly tedious, but one that is nearly 500 pages long?! I commend you my dear 😉

    And I am really sorry this one was such a disappointment– I had been sort of on the fence about D,D myself. I think I liked it more than I disliked it, but I remember mentioning that all the different POV’s threw me off a bit and made it hard for me to follow the plot. It sounds like this turned into a major problem in this book. And it sucks that the relationship between Bram and Nora got to be nauseating because I thought it was so cute in the first book! Booo 🙁

    I hope your next read is much better than this one!!

    Lea @ LC’s Adventures in Libraryland

    • I have my moments. Most of the time I DNF, but since I’ve been doing that a lot this year, there are a select few books I choose to stick it out with and hope they get better. This was NOT that book.

      The different POVs worked worse in this book than in D.D. So if you had a problem in D.D with POVs, I’m guessing it will be worse because they all sound the same in this one.

      I liked Nora and Bram’s relationship in D,D, but actually it was my least favorite part of that book. I tolerated it, but a zombie romance never really did it for me. They fawned a lot over each other in this one (like puppy love) and it really just grated on me. But I fully realize that in this case it’s just a me thing.

      You should still read it. I just personally thought the plot was weak. Thanks for the LONG comment.

  3. I liked the first book in this series — didn’t LOVE it — and was planning to read this one. But I don’t think I’ll rush out to do so … I hate slow books, and at close to 500 pages, that’s a long time being bored.

    Great review, Kara!

  4. Amy

    It’s too bad that this one wasn’t that great for you. I have been super excited about it and it’s coming up soon on my TBR list. I am hoping that I enjoy it since I really loved the first one. Great honest review chick!!

    • I hope you like it, Amy. It just didn’t click with my brain. I loved the first one too and that’s why my anticipation level was so high for this one. I wish it had lived up to that expectation.

  5. Ooh boo! I know how much you liked Dearly, Departed so I am so sad to see that this one completely let you down. Kudos for powering through though. I haven’t read the first because to be honest this series kinda scares me, I don’t think I would be able to buy zombies in the light that is presented in it. So sorry this one didn’t live up to the first. Great review! Love the honesty!

    • I did, Jenni. DD is one of my favorites. I will still read book 3 and hope that it’s better than this one. I’m not sure if you would like this series either. Just give it a shot when you aren’t loaded up with books to read. 🙂 Thanks so much!

  6. Sam

    I agree with a lot of your points and I’ve barely reached the half-way mark yet. It’s not working for me either, unfortunately. 🙁 Dearly Departed was a great read for me but I’m struggling to even focus with this one. It looks like a lot of people were let down by this sequel.

    Great review, Kara!

  7. Thank you for being so honest! I’m just finishing up Dearly, Departed now and I WANT to like it. I love the concept, the premise… just about everything about it, but I’ve had a hard time finishing it. I can’t even put my finger on it, so poo. Kind of sad that the next one doesn’t get better.

    • I’m so sorry you aren’t enjoying DD. It’s definitely not a book that everyone is going to like, so I understand why you don’t. I would say though that if you aren’t enjoying the first book, I HIGHLY doubt you will enjoy the second. Thank you so much for visiting!:)

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