Author: Lia Habel
Genres: zombie apocalypse, historical/futuristic ya fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: 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.
Wow, that's a long summary, eh? Well it is a pretty long book.
It took me a looong time to truly enjoy Dearly, Beloved. Let's say, 68% into it? It's 500 pages, and I think it's about 200 too many. There's a ton of great parts, but the sheer amount of information and characters is too overwhelming for me. The plot is complicated and full of battles, politics, ethics, pretty much everything. Everything. Fantastic, but a lot to digest and keep track of.
The story is told in rotating POVs...six or seven I believe. I'm not a fan of two POVs to begin with, never mind half a freakin dozen. This also means from the bouncing back and forth doesn't give as much of a chance to really get to know each character.
Lia Habel's strong suit is in world building. It's rich, well constructed, awesomely punk-techy and I totally love it. Every time another kind of tech is introduced, from digidiary to the sky-screen= nerdtastic. Pretty much why I read these books.
New London takes place in Central/South America, which sets it a bit apart from the usual setting, and also there's a great diverse ethnicity to the characters.
I mentioned how long it took for me to get into the story. The pace is slow, sort of. Like not much happens as action-wise besides some. too much bouncing back and forth ideas and theorizing.
Nora and Bram's romance is sweet I guess. But it's kind of boring (aka established) and mushy. I don't think zombies are cute and cuddly like Nora seems to, so when she's all "Oh Bram is so dead and amazing; decomposing is endearing!" I'm like, "not." But hey, it's probably a sign I'm not a true zombie-fan. It's a personal preference, but I like my guys alive.
Pamela is pretty messed up, recovering from the events of Dearly, Departed and I really feel for her. Nora's so brave and determined, but Pam is the best friend, and is realistically handling some PTSD via nightmares and fears of everything. Her brother is now a zombie, her dad is trying to keep his pride by overprotecting the family, and her mom is not accepting the fact that her son is dead--to the extreme. By halfway through or so, she really takes initiative and I was rooting for her big time to help herself and her family.
Michael Allister. Wow, talk about a sick minded weirdo. So awesome!! There were only a few chapters in his point of view and I especially love the one where he meets Nora for lunch, (it's much more complicated than that) his twisted views are revealed. The obsession with Nora and doing everything pretty much evil for her, it's great.
Laura fascinated me a whole bunch. She's one of the zombies in the company of, but not in league with, the bad guys. But as much as she fascinated me, she grossed me out too. Laura's covered in...plants. Flowers to be exact. She digs her fingers into her flesh and plants seeds, then waters them with injections of water...the vibe I got was the zombie equivalent to a cutter. Still not sure what to think of it, because the way she describes it is..."I like bringing life to things." We'll just leave it at that.
The Very End: OH MY GOD. SERIOUSLY?? Not a fan. It was all just so spontaneous and teenagery and might I add a tad major cheesy?? Truly sorry, but I hate things like that in young adult books.
Besides that, I look forward to the next book!
Post script: Guys, I got my Etsy shop finally up and running! I make Scrabble Tile necklaces and other kinda of jewelry, so if any of that sounds interesting, there's a link on my right sidebar! :) It's called Gems and Stems.