I really wasn't sure about this book at first, it seemed like it might be trying to encompass a genre and themes so wide and not to mention very unique. My worries were soon put to bed when I began to read about Miss Nora Dearly, her friends and what comes to be a whole situation which revolves around her family.
With everything which seems to be passing now such as the wasting of materials, the loss of values and morals and the loss of 'the society' as a whole, it's not a hard stretch of the imagination to see that the future in which Habel writes is one that may come to pass. A return to a time when values, moral, society and the community are all part of the fabric of life doesn't seem so bad but of course with this return to Victorianism in what is named in the book as 'New Victoria', we see that there was a reason it was history. The Punks show us this, in their opposing society and nature we see the breakout from the Victorian era, those who don't want to return to the Victorian time. In the beginning they are opposed but by the end they are united in a fight against a disease know as the 'Lazoras' which kills a human but then re animates it into becoming zombielike.
We come to read how the consequences of the government hiding this now has effected the lives of the societies. It is clear that most are oblivious but when Nora, our heroine comes back from her boarding school for the semester with her best friend Pamela, it sparks the beginning. While both are a part of 'New Victoria', they are quite different in their social standings in that Nora's family have money and Pamela's do not and thus they are treated accordingly. This all comes to change though when Nora, our tomboy heroine is abducted.
She is abducted by company Z - company zombie, a little cliche but the message is clear, they save her from the attack of the zombies which are those infected by the Lazoras and have died but not come back quite right, those who save Nora are the same but they have come back like normal people and pretty much like they were before accept they are dead. This is when we start to know our hero; Bram. He is one of the leaders of company Z and one of closest to human like zombies there is. He manages to make Nora feel at home on their ship and have her come to terms with the 'Lazoras' in more ways than one. We learn that they came to save her as she is the daughter of the man that saved them.
What comes to follow is an epic tale of love which blossoms in both a time and place where you wouldn't think it possible, a time when the end of the world seems to be close and when it's clear the Lazorus has gone more than past the Punks. We see slowly but surely Nora come to terms with Bram and some of his quirky friends such as Chas and Tom and also with Bram himself. Once she gets over what he is, love seems to grow between them and we are rooting for it the whole way because we too have fallen a little in love with Bram. A zombie he may be, but he is both heroic and an absolute gentleman and fighter of good. Especially when he heads another rescue mission and they all travel right into the heart of the war...
With a double ending which at first sees you expecting one thing, but then have it changed to another, we get an ending sort of like we hope but with a lot of unanswered questions we are not sure What the future may hold for all of them, only time will tell...
A book which really opens up the possibility that one day we may return to another time when things were better, highlighting the realisticness of the world in which Habel has created. The characters are funny when they need to be, live up to expectation when you expect and sometimes when you don't, but in the midst of all the war and fighting we see a love which is a welcome break away from the harsh moments of war and the Lazoras consequences and without it the book just wouldn't be what it is.
Surprisingly enthralling, captivating and full of heart. Definitely a grower.