Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration #2)Featured
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 illness—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.
Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.
I love a good genre mash-up, and Lia Habel delivers. The steampunk, Neo-Victorian, and science aspects of the world are very well done. I also particularly loved the way she explores the themes of prejudice and political intrigue through the various zombie factions (and through the living who support the zombies and the living who don't). The imagery is fascinating, and there are moments of beautiful writing throughout the book. And of course, I love Nora's fierceness as a heroine!
What Left Me Wanting More:
The pacing on this sequel felt a bit off for me. The beginning is rather slow, and I found myself having to push forward to get to the action. I also struggled with having the story be told from five points of view. It felt cluttered, and the characters began to blend together for me. And even though I'm a fan of zombies, and I love the idea that some don't lose brain function if they reanimate quickly enough, some of the descriptions of the romance between Bram and Nora left me feeling a little ... icked. Like noticing the thread holding his lip together when he kissed her. And him acknowledging that even with medical care, he was slowly rotting. There's nothing wrong with the way the author handled it--if you're going to fall in love with the undead, this is part of the package! It just interfered with my enjoyment of the romance, so I felt I'd mention it as it might do the same for others.
Ms. Habel delivers a fascinating culture that is facing a war between factions on the heels of a terrible apocalypse and sets it against the vivid backdrop of a steampunk Neo-Victorian futuristic society. It's an ambitious endeavor full of conflict and plot twists, and I think anyone who enjoys apocalyptic zombie literature should give this series a try.
this book was a disappointment.
NOT that it was bad!
It was just that at least 75% of the time the book was, well, boring.
Here's a little bit of a refresher to what happened at the end of Dearly Departed:
So the zombie apocalypse is (partially) over and the dead & the living will, hopefully, be able to coexist (thanks to the vaccine!). But, of course, everything cannot be all happy and dandy!
Things corrupt when a zombie bites a few people during a riot...
and they come back as zombies.
The obvious intention of the vaccine was to prevent people from becoming zombies but this makes people question:
Is the vaccine safe? Can it really protect us? Is there a new strand of the disease?
And all of this continues onto THIS BOOK, Dearly Beloved.
When people begin to question these things.
Add in the... ummmmmm... rivalry? between both the living and the dead (which seemed to be the main focus of the book).
As I mentioned before, this book was pretty boring.
This book was mostly made up of our bad guys making their evil plans and our good guys trying to figure out those evil plans (And yes, a whole bunch of that rivalry). But these parts were extremely dull and, at points, made me sleepy. Dearly Departed had nonstop action and always kept my interest, Dearly Beloved didn't...
But the WHOLE BOOK was not boring!
It did eventually get interesting (when those plans were put into action). And the fact that it did eventually get interesting, gave it some extra stars! (if it was boring the whole frexing time, it would NOT get that many stars!)
I must admit though, Dearly Departed might have done better as a stand-alone (if you exclude the riot scene). But (here's me being even more confusing) now that it has become a series, I wonder if there will be anymore books since there were some unanswered questions...
Thus bringing us to what I call "Jessica giving this book extra points".
While a lot of those points came up from how it finally got interesting, there were other reasons:
1. Dearly Departed. This was an AMAZING book! And since Dearly Beloved is the sequel... that automatically gave it some amazing points!
2. The fact that it is a sequel. For sequels rarely ever live up to the fame that is the 1st book so if this book disappointed me, I do understand.
3. Well... if this ends up being a trilogy then this book is the middle-man (or middle-book!) and as it always is with trilogies... the middle book is the dull-est one. It's like a breaking-point if that makes sense!
IN SUMMARIZATION: This book had it's boring moments but it did get very interesting later on!
by Lia Habel
Random House Publishing
A Victorian/Steampunk post apocalyptic world where zombies struggle for equality. Wow. Just the idea is mind boggling.
This book was fun to read! I loved the characters. Unfortunately, the zombies are more human like than the humans!
Imagine, the very idea of two kinds of people struggling to survive and coexist! Just crazy! But Lia Habel makes it happen. I don't want to give away too much..if you enjoyed the first book in the series you will enjoy this book!
As with Dearly, Departed, Dearly, Beloved is told from multiple PoVs - six in fact. And again, I found this endeavor to be overambitious due to the lack of distinction; it was too easy to lose track of which character was speaking. Nora, Laura, Pamela - even Bram - all had moments where they sounded like the same person and I often found myself confused about a character's reaction, only to realize that I was mistaken about which character's view I was reading from. And also as with Dearly, Departed, I didn't find all of the PoVs necessary. Vespertine had only brief appearances and Laura's perspective seemingly served only to inflict the story with zombie teenage angst. I feel like their perspectives could have been cut instead of adding length and detail to an already cumbersome plot.
I was constantly confused about supporting characters as well. While I remembered their names - Chas, Tom, Coalhouse, Dr. Samedi - I couldn't remember the details that helped to define them. I couldn't remember their connections to each other, the pasts that made them who they are, or the reasons for their unfaltering trust in Bram. Having read Dearly, Departed almost a year a go, I just couldn't remember these characters, let alone why I liked them.
It also made it hard for me to regard Nora and Bram's relationship with anything but disgust.
"His every memory would one day be physically eaten away by the very thing that had preserved him for me to find; his every injury was destined to be a disfigurement. But until that day, he was mine."
The slow and subtle development of their relationship from Dearly, Departed is over and has been replaced by the stolen kisses of a couple courting in New Victoria. Which should have been romantic and adorable. But instead, all I could picture was Nora enjoying kissing dead flesh.
The rich detail that I thoroughly enjoyed in Dearly, Departed, was also present in Dearly, Beloved. We meet timid Laura, a young zombie who uses her body as a walking garden - opening small holes in her skin, where she sprinkles in dirt and seeds in the hopes of producing life now that hers is over. Chas' crushed voicebox is repaired and sewn shut with ribbon to resemble a corset. The descriptions of Martira's creamy pale skin in comparison to her flaming red hair and Smoke's sagging skin covering his fresh organs were described in such detail it was impossible not to see them both clearly. But while appreciated, such stunning imagery combined with Dearly, Beloved's convoluted plot served only to add length to an already lengthy tale.
Speaking of the convoluted plot, Dearly, Beloved almost had too much going on. The Grave House Gang, Patient One, the Murder, the Changed, the Punks, the aristocrats - everyone had a role to play, and they were usually connected in some way. This should have been fascinating, but instead, it was tedious. Much of the focus was on zombie rights - whether they had any, whether they should be treated differently than the living, whether they should all just be killed - which didn't leave much room for action. And when the action came, many of the plot points were left unresolved, assumingly to be addressed in the next book.
With too much left unresolved, in a lengthy novel that should have been shorter, I can't say I truly enjoyed Dearly, Beloved. There were scenes that I loved, the writing is fabulous and the world-building is spectacular. But unnecessary points of view, unmemorable characters and an overly ambitious politically-driven plot left me craving more action and less talk.
Then there's the fact that there's never a dull moment in any of Lia's novels. Always action and adventure and some new dangerous event, but not enough to overwhelm readers. There's always a really good balance. It's also realistic. You can't just introduce zombies as people and expect nothing will go wrong, you know?
Bram and Nora are as wonderful as ever, both separately and together. I really love the dynamic and chemistry between them. They both have to fight with a lot of issues that are interesting and practical.
Lia's writing is seriously phenomenal. Anyone who can master two perspectives is talented, but Lia had a lot of them and the fit the story. I could even argue they were necessary to get the full scope of what's going on in this novel and lots of little things you don't want to miss.
I read this a while ago, so the review isn't great. But this is a seriously awesome follow up to Dearly, Departed and I can't wait for the next book!