Dearly Beloved Paperback – 3 Jan 2013
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A sharp, slick sequel to zombie adventure debut Dearly, Departed - perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Cassandra Clare.
About the Author
Lia Habel was born into a time of unparalleled ugliness - it was called 'the Eighties'. It was horrible, but yet it brought Lia the video for Thriller by Michael Jackson, and a burning interest in zombies followed. A self-described 'zombie anthropologist', Lia has seen a lot of zombie movies. She lives in Jamestown, NY, with her three cats, Ebeneezer, ZZ and Bloody Mary.
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The book is once again told in several perspectives with Nora and Bram as the lead characters again having their own sections and also Pamela, Vespertine and Michael from the first book havin their own sections too. There is also a newcomer called Laura who has her own perspective sections too and you will find out more about her as you read on but essentially she is a Zombie who I think explains things from the other side of the fence so to speak.
New London is trying to settle down after the events of book one but is on the very edge of all out war between zombies (including pro-zombie living) and the non-zombie loving living. The very slightest push on either side could see all out war breaking out and many innocent lives being taken. Although without ruining it for you, one of the secondary zombie characters from the first book does end up dying at the hands of these anti zombie zealots which I found myself very upset about for some reason and probably to do with the fact that what happened to this person doesn't really come to light immediately, more so that they are just presumed missing. These anti zombie zealots have started to take it to the extreme and have started kidnapping zombies off the street and murdering (well re-killing) them for fun and to 'show them who's boss'. The zombies so far haven't retaliated but that could very soon change. In amongst all of this unrest are Nora and Bram who are trying to have some sort of relationship and figure out how to do this without pushing the New Victorian 'morals' too far! So will all out war break out and if so will Nora and Bram be able to remain together?
I felt that Nora and Bram's relationship sort of took a back seat in this book and it was a lot more politically aimed as in it seemed to focus mostly on the unrest, new strain of Laz and consequences of this etc rather than the romance part like in the first book. That's not to say that this was a bad thing but for me personally I would have liked to have seen a bit more emphasis on Nora and Bram's relationship. One thing I really did like was the twist/reveal/secret as to where the Laz appears to have probably originated first i.e. with Tigers so I am really looking forward to book three....if it actually happens as at the time of writing this review, the author doesn't know if book three will be published or not so fingers crossed it does!
I should probably preface this review by saying that I picked this up not realising it was a second in a series. My bad. But it shouldn't have impacted too much on my opinions. I've read second books in series first before. If there are engaging characters, gripping plot lines, and that fine balance of exposition to moving the plot forwards to give you a few soft reminders of what has gone before, I think you'll enjoy a good book regardless of whether you've read the first instalment or not.
I struggled with this book. I was so close to putting it down on a number of occasions. It was only really because I'm stubborn and hate giving up on things, and the thought of adding another book to my counter on Goodreads that meant I kept going.
I think the fact that the book requires such a verbose description is a big part of the problems I had with it. I couldn't make up my mind what I was reading. I couldn't work out where it was set, why things had become as they had - New Victorian? It seemed to be thrown in there just because Steampunk is a bit trendy at the moment.
There were several major characters that the perspective swapped between, and a few minor ones that only seemed to warrant their own perspective because the author couldn't think of another way to get across that section of the plot. Honestly, I was about halfway through when the perspective changed to a character that hadn't even been mentioned before, let alone given good cause for a chunk of narrative. I understand she was a bigger player in the first book, but still... It was jarring. And this is personal opinion, but if you're going to do multiple character perspectives, I think it should be done in the third person. Being inside that many heads is overwhelming, and they all start to blend into one another.
Then there's the central love story. I love a good romance, me. It's one of my favourite ingredients in YA fiction. But I just can't get behind zombie love stories. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion being the only exception.
Zombies are meant to be gross. I know you can argue that Vampires are meant to be evil, but they always had that seductive allure going for them, so it's not too much of a stretch to buy into a vampire as a romantic interest. But Zombies? They're rotting for goodness sake. Every time Nora kissed her zombie beau, I wasn't blown away by the romance, but finding my thoughts travelling down worrying paths, such as `what would it taste like to kiss a rotting corpse?' Not things you really want to be thinking about.
That said, there is quite an exciting climax to the story, and some of the more minor characters are quite interesting, with lots of good post-traumatic stress disorder manifesting in different ways among the veterans of the Siege (whatever that is... I won't be rushing to find book 1 to find out.) I think if any one of the many elements had been taken out of the melting pot, this might have been a good story. But there's just too much going on between too many different people for me to invest in any of the characters.
And seriously. Kissing a zombie? It's wrong. Just wrong.
While there is a lot to Dearly Beloved, I just did not find it as interesting as the first. The pace was so slow and I feel it did not have the adventure of the first book. However it was an interesting story as it looks at how both the living and the dead react to living together in the same city.
This book has six points of views and the voices all sounded similar to me. I would not know who was telling the story unless it was said at the start of the book. However, unlike the last book I felt we needed all the points of view or we would not understand the story.
Bram and Nora's romance in this book is not as interesting as Dearly Departed as it had lost it star-crossed quality, and also it seems Habel was more interested in building the storyline for the third book.
The ending does leave you wanting to read the next book, however I do hope it is more like Dearly Departed, and this is just the slow middle book. I would recommend this to people who like Dearly Departed, or those who like Zombie books.
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So let's start with the characters. There are some new characters, mainly Laura (since chapters are written from her POV). Her story was absolutely heartbreaking, but very interesting to read. I loved being able to have an inside view of what was going on with the Changed. In my opinion, Laura's POV was very effective, and helped the story move along. We also get to hear from Vespertine and Michael. Even though I really can't stand these characters, and I could have done without Vespertine's POV, I still enjoyed reading them. Michael is obsessed with Nora, and will do anything to get her. I think his story, along with his father's, is going in a very interesting direction, and am excited to see how it plays out.
Bram...I don't even have words to describe how much I love Bram. He is a hunkalicious dead guy/zombie, and such a gentleman. You could tell with every word about Nora, how much he loved her. Nora was amazing to read again. I love how strong and caring she is. She just jumps right in to a situation if someone she cares about is in danger. She doesn't give a second thought to what might happen to her. I seriously loved reading from Nora's POV; I couldn't ask for a better heroine. The one thing I liked about Bram and Nora's relationship was that it was slow, and not full of drama. Usually an author will add in drama that is silly and tears the couple apart for a couple books. But not here. Ms. Habel gave us a sweet romance that was is made much sweeter by the ending. There is a certain "race against time" because Bram doesn't have long until he's gone forever, but that doesn't get in Nora's way. I have to admit, the ending of this book was one of the funniest, sweetest, and most romantic endings I have ever read. I loved how the witnesses to Nora and Bram's wedding were cats, and that she got married in a white robe because that was the only white thing she had.
This is an amazing series, and I sincerely hope there is another in the series because I would read it in a heartbeat.
Dearly, Departed was one of the first zombie books I ever read, and I'm happy to say that few compare to the world that Ms. Habel has introduced to readers. Plus, the cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous, just like the first one.
This second book is also good, but not gripping like the first one. The zombie plague introduced in book one is starting to mutate, and those people who are still alive are again afraid they will be infected since the vaccine does not appear to work against new strains of the disease.
There is a lot of scrambling by the main characters to deal with this issue but not a lot of plot progress. Nora is still in love with Bram. Bram is still dead. There doesn't seem to be a solution to this one, since any 'cure' for the plague will likely leave Bram dead for real. I hope the author hasn't painted herself into a corner on this, since a sad ending seems to be inevitable. Bram's body (and brain) is deteriorating and he hasn't got a lot of time left.
The premise raises some good food for thought. Is it ever appropriate to isolate the sick to protect the uninfected? What if the disease is pitifully easy to spread? And what if it's always fatal?
All in all, I hope for the best for these characters (and wow, there are a lot of characters) but this middle book hasn't provided any real solutions or plot progression.
With all that said, I still finished the book and trust me, Im known for shutting down a story half way through when IM bored. I hope book 3 picks it up big time and we hear a lot more from Bram and Nora.
One last note...the last few pages were beautiful and a good ending.