Saturday, September 1, 2012

ARC Review: Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Title: Dearly, Beloved
Series: Gone With the Respiration Book 2
Author: Lia Habel
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Date of Publication: Sept. 25, 2012
Source: digital galley from NetGalley, 496 pages
Order your copy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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.   -book blurb

My Feelings:
Habel takes the creepy appeal of zombies, the futuristic machinery that enthralls us now, and the societal demands of the Victorian Era; combines them all to create a novel that made me smile, cringe, and laugh out loud at times.  But it definitely made me think, long after I had finished the story.  

The setting was confusing at times just because of the way society acted, yet all of the technological equipment kept me grounded in the future.  There were times I wanted to scream at these folks, " there are zombies everywhere, some good, some bad, and you are more worried about how society views whether you are chaperoned properly." It was downright comical at times, but I think it also made us see that there are those people who will still care about what other people think with the world falling down all around them.  Good lesson for us all, huh?

The characters were to die for, no pun intended.  (Okay I know it was cheesy but I just couldn't help it.)  If I had to pick one favorite this story it was the characters.  
Bram was handsome in nature and caring.  I can see why Nora feels so much for him.  Yeah he is a zombie but remember the old adage, "beauty comes from the inside first"?  Bram truly has beauty on the inside.  He genuinely cares for the living and the dead.  He is a true leader and his snarky comments always made me smile.  
 Nora is rash, passionate, foolish and very determined, almost to the point of stubborn.  In truth, she got on my nerves at times, and other moments I couldn't help but smile and just beg to give her a hug.  She is so loyal to those people she cares about that hell hath no fury for those that tries to harm them.  She is one tough kick ass heroine. I don't want to give too much away but she is very special and may be what this zombie filled world needs to carry on in peace.  
Pamela reminded me of myself the most.  I know most people always associate with the main character, and Pamela isn't just passing in the wind, but she is more like a supporting character in my opinion.  
She discovered that she was willing to do just about anything to save her brother, her family, and her close friends.  (In an  apocalypse I would bet I would get over my fear of blood and heights to do the right thing.) Of course after everything has settled down for the most part, the panic starts to set in.  She suffers from anxiety attacks with the added stress of being responsible for her family.  
This is me!!!  Except I am not living with zombies or in the apocalypse...I think.  
When she finally reaches her limit and just doesn't give a **** (you know) I actually said out loud, "YOU GO GIRL!!!!"

Most stories cannot pull off the multiple POVs but Dearly, Beloved wouldn't be able to exist without them.  There are so many people that make a difference in this novel, it was only right to get their thoughts and emotions fed to us through their own eyes.  Even the antagonist had his own chapters and we were able to see the whys of what he did.  It didn't mean I agreed with him but Michael truly believed what he did was the right thing.  Let's just say I think Michael went off his rocker a little bit there.  

Through the many POVS we were able to glimpse who the real monsters were and who the perceived evil creatures were.  I loved the fact that our author showed us that the actions of the living and the dead caused the evil in the world.  It was also important to show how such good intentions could be the death of us all.  

I felt like Bram and Nora were meant for each other.  I haven't read book 1, Dearly, Departed, but I felt like Habel gave us enough background information to keep everything exciting but still easy to understand.  I do look forward to reading the first book so I can see how Nora and Bram really fell in love. 
  Their love is scandalous among the rich families, which both care nothing for.  The social graces Nora keeps is in most for her father's sake, but doesn't care for the fake and phony families of high society.  I think this truly bothers her when she finds out that someone helps her that could be her mortal enemy.  The plot thickens! :)

The plot has so much going on you cannot possibly get bored with it.  I love how Habel took issues that we are dealing with today: racism, fear of the unknown, peer pressure, etc.  and crafted it into a story of the future with zombies.  
These zombies have a lot of heart that will truly change the way you look at the reanimated dead ever again!  The ending was spectacular in every sense of the word and I can't wait to delve into more of the Dearly world! 

Favorite Quote:

"I love you Nora. I will think you beautiful when I have no eyes left to see.  I will remember your voice when my ears go.  You can't hold on to me forever, but I will hold onto you until I am nothing but dirt."
-Bram, Dearly, Beloved

I gave it five hearts!

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