Release Date: AU December 1 2011 / US October 18 2011
Publisher: Random House
Add it: Goodreads
'I'm newly wired with a burning desire for hot flesh. You know, like ever other teenage boy'It's the year 2195 and after more than a century of disaster and war, new Territories have formed within what was once known as the United States. Those to the north adopted the etiquette and style of the Victorian age, but with incredibly advanced technology. While those to the south chose to live a simpler life not thoroughly overpowered by technology and certainly not adhering to Victorian standards. Extremists of the south - Punks - are at war with New Victoria. But are the government telling the whole truth about why? Or is there a hidden reason fueling the unrest between these two sides?
- Bram, recent zombie recruit.
It should be game over for Nora Dearly when she is ambushed and dragged off into the night by the living dead. But this crack unit of teen zombies are the good guys, sent to protect Nora from the real monsters roaming the country and zeroing in on cities to swell their ranks.
Can Nora find a way to kill-off the evil undead once and for all? Can she trust her protectors to resist their hunger for human flesh? And can she stop herself falling for the noble, sweet, surprisingly attractive, definitely-no-longer-breathing Bram...?
After an attack by a group of horrifying, decaying monsters who have no qualms about taking a bite or twenty from a human, sixteen year old Nora Dearly is rescued (although she certainly puts up an good fight herself) by a masked team who she soon learns are also of the decaying variety... but much friendlier. Zombies. But not quite as you know them. The mythology of Lia Habel's breed is fascinating and the methods in which the 'good' kind routinely live by in order for their brains, vocal cords and limbs to remain functioning is so interesting to learn!
Although there are five different narrations (which may sound overwhelming, but trust me, each story is remarkably compelling), Nora and Bram are our two main leads and love interests, although their relationship is far from instantaneous. It takes Nora a while to even face Bram in person, let alone be three feet within range of him. Theirs is such a sweet attraction that is so genuinely believable, you'll be anticipating every scene shared together. Nora is far from your average New Victorian girl. Oh she can courtesy with the best of them, but she has a morbid fascination with watching holo documentaries on Punk wars, revelling in their primal rage, she finds the art of war absolutely thrilling. She's a delightfully outspoken, stubborn, fiery young girl. There's a spark within her that you can't help but admire and grow to love the moment you're introduced to her.
Captain Abraham Griswold - Bram - is the perfect male lead. He's an impossibly sweet, strong, optimistic gentleman. I adored his narration and the fact that he didn't use his zombie condition to brood over what a terrible monster he is who doesn't deserve to be loved. Something we see common in paranormal males these days, the: "I'm dangerous, stay away from me! But I love you. And your tasty, tasty neck. Oh, see how thin my control is! I'm a monster!" kind. Bram is resilient and accepting of his condition. He takes joy in life and the time he has left to live it. Heck, the boy even goes into a righteous tirade when he's called a freak!
This futuristic world Lia has so expertly imagined and utterly engrossing. Made even more so by an amazing cast of characters, both living and non-living, who had me laughing out loud too many times from their witty banter or inner dialogue. Lia balances the light and dark of the novel perfectly. Dearly Departed is an outstanding debut with a touch of hilarity, a few severed limbs, an impossibly sweet love and all round thrilling story set in one of the most imaginative world's I've read in a while. Forget vampires. Renfield Merriweather the Third shall be pleased to learn that zombies are the next big thing.
5/5 Golden Apples!