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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous!
Dude, a freaking freight train could not have pulled me away from this book after the Prologue... What am I saying? After the first sentence:

"I was buried alive." ~Bram

Bram is stuck in a mining shaft elevator, in the very place that he was so thankful to have found work so he could support his mom and sister. Bram's best-friend Jack, is lying...
Published on October 18, 2011 by The Bookish Brunette

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly Poor Example of Steampunk
The first two things that caught my attention about this book were the cover art and the title. From there, I read the description, and even though zombies aren't my usual reading fare, I really wanted to give this one a shot. I loved the idea of a mash-up of steampunk, zombies, and a futuristic world trying to combat an increasing zombie population.

When I had...
Published on November 16, 2011 by Jennifer

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Original and entertaining but with more POVs than necessary, February 2, 2013
Rayne (Puerto Rico) - See all my reviews
Zombies. Steampunk. Victorian societies. Charming love interest. Strong protagonist. And did I mention zombies? This book had everything to be a total and complete WIN. Sadly, a few details took away from what would've and should've been a fantastic novel.

I can say with complete certainty that Dearly, Departed has one of the most interesting concepts and best executed steampunk elements I've read in quite a while. The technology described in the novel is fascinating and actually contributes to the plot. Habel fantastically weaved plots and elements that in less capable hands would've made this novel a hot mess, but it works. The plot in all its Dystopian, horror and steampunk glory works nicely. Everything makes perfect sense, which is something Dystopian novels usually fail at, and almost every detail in the novel is thoroughly explained, especially the reasons behind the zombie gene and its effects on the body. The author also obviously did her research, for the Victorian background of the new society is nicely detailed, and, surprisingly, very accurate. And the language used was fantastic, accurate and combined with a modern style that gave Nora a strong and interesting voice of her own. But sadly, this incredible connection of elements is deeply hurt by the overwhelming amount of first person POVs in the novel.

There were five different first person narratives in the novel and, while I understand the necessity the author thought they had, they only achieved in dragging the story and making many passages frustrating and boring, usually placing the focus on uninteresting side-plots that barely moved the action forward. That's not to say that the book is not well-written, because it is and that's my biggest problem: I seriously doubt the author would've had problems elaborating this story without three of the five first person narratives at the very least. Furthermore, many of the POVs gave nothing to the story, for two of the characters whose voice we hear in the novel remained flat and somewhat stereotyped, especially the cartoonish antagonists.

The characters were likable enough, if not entirely believable, but I thought that could be attributed to the emphasis the author placed in the world building, which is really good. The romance builds up slowly and I really liked that until it jumps to love. I understand the affection between Nora and Bram, but the corny way in which they regarded each other towards the end took away from the strength that both of these characters possessed. Furthermore, whereas the climax was exhilarating and riveting, the book leaves with an unsatisfying ending and the frustrating cliff-hanger that will force the reader to pick up the sequel whether they want to or not.

Dearly, Departed is actually a pretty good book and it is very entertaining in many occasions. Sadly, that is hurt by the fact that the author forgot that, most of the time, less is more. I sincerely hope all the aforementioned is corrected in the sequel, because if it is, I can assure you that book will have no problem finding its way into my favorites shelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Many point of views, April 22, 2012
This review is from: Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel (Hardcover)
The futuristic Victorian steampunk world that Habel created was pretty amazing. I had no problems visualizing the world in which the characters lived. I liked the fact that although there was romance between Bram and Nora there was a whole lot more to the book. It was especially interesting reading about the conflict between the Punks and the Royals.

Nora and Bram were solid characters but they were not my favorite. I really liked Nora's friend Pamela. As the book progressed I found myself looking forward to her point of views more then the other characters. I felt like she was the character that really changed and evolved the most. Speaking of point of views there were quite a few of them, I counted a total of five. That was my only real issue with the book and I felt like so many point of views took away from me enjoying the book as much as I would have.

I really loved the other zombie characters they were fun to read about. Also there are good zombies who still have a hold on their minds and bad zombies who are out biting and eating people. Although the good zombies eventually lose their minds as well. Which is why I am interested to see how Bram will handle that predicament when he is faced with it...which I'm assuming he would be in the future books.

Will I rush out and buy the next book? If it has several point of views like Dearly Departed did then probably not but I will eventually pick it up. If you like Zombies I would recommend this book.

Memorable Quotes
"Mostly I hate the fact that mine isn't the face of a girl who studies war and history instead of hem lengths. It's not the face of a girl who's top of her target-shooting class. It isn't the face of a girl who can stand up for herself, who's lost almost all of her defenders and doesn't want any more-who just wants to be left alone to slog it out as best she can."

"See?" He thumped his book for emphasis. "Vampires are just zombies with good PR! That could be us in a few years!"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dearly, Departed, April 17, 2012
I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time now, I LOVE zombies, I like campy, serious, scary whatever as long as there is some Zombie action. Also this has some steampunk elements in it as well, granted it didn't feel as steampunk as some other novels, but it has the Victorian, techy, and a zeppelin stuff, so there is just a lot that made me excited about this book. However the book just missed the mark, it missed it oh so slightly but I wasn't in love with it as I had hoped.

First off there are multiple points of view, which, done well, can enhance the story, the way the multi-POVs were done in this book just dragged the story down. I think we could have completely wiped out Wolfe's story line and it would have helped a bunch. The world building was a bit slow as well, but since this is a series, that means the beginning of the next book won't have that lag time (hopefully). Mostly the big issue was the pacing, it would drag, then get really good, then it would be dull and then interesting. I would rather build and build than ride a pacing roller coaster. The writing is great, the characters are interesting, and fun.

Oh another theme that is becoming popular in the Zombie universe is zombie love. I've heard about many books that involve a zombie protagonist, but this is the first I've actually read. I must say, it's weird, I thought I'd get used to it but I just think of dead flesh and all of that and it creeps me out. However if I pretend that the zombies aren't zombies (which is pretty impossible because they don't let you forget). The zombie romance is not so bad. Still, I kept thinking about the ickyness of it...

All of that being said, I thought the book was OK, I think there was a lot of potential there and I'm hoping that the next novel doesn't have the same pacing issues, but I do look forward to picking it up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review: Dearly, Departed, April 11, 2012
This review is from: Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel (Hardcover)
While describing this to a friend, I realized there's a lot of interesting elements to the story. And under most circumstances, I don't think it would work. But, for me it did. There's something about a post apocalyptic, Victorian society and zombies that just clicked with me.

When I first added this book to my list, I had a feeling it was going to be more steam punk. Which made me apprehensive because I haven't had the best of luck with steam punk. I was completely wrong to think that. While society is modeling the Victorian era, it has completely modern (and futuristic) technology. Nothing seemed foreign to me. I really liked how the whole society was set up. The Victorian age is one that I enjoy reading about, and I don't think I've read anything (besides Incarceron) were society has purposely mimicked that time period.

I especially enjoyed Nora. She's a fireball for a lack of a better term. She's grown up a little bit on the privileged side. But, she has no problems with those of lower rank (her best friend is). When she's kidnapped she shows appropriate behaviors, but also regroups and thinks for herself. There's never a time when she acts like the damsel in distress. I loved that she gets mad at her dad, but yet desires to understand what's made him this way.

I enjoyed the subtle romance in the story. It never felt like it was being shoved in my face. Both characters actually spend part of the book denying their feelings, which is a change from the confession your undying love lines. I also loved the inclusion of good and bad zombies. It was light-hearted and fun, but not overly campy.

I just really enjoyed this story. I'm looking forward to the next in the series!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NightlyReading Review, January 5, 2012
This review is from: Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel (Hardcover)
I really wanted to love this book! I had read so many great reviews. I can honestly say that I enjoyed the storyline, but the writing style at times had me confused.

The setting is the year 2195 and the world has gone back to the victorian ways in the way that they dress, travel and live. With the exception of their technology. It is far more advanced than ours today. The book starts off with Nora and her best friend, Pamma waiting to be picked up from school. While riding back, Nora is tormented by the wars that she is seeing on the computer screen in the buggy. Sure enough, the roads have been closed down and Nora ends up walking the rest of the way. A mysterious man approaches her and tells her that she is in danger. This starts the sequence of events.

I really enjoyed the different character personalities and fell desperately enamorate of Chas. She is a strong kick butt female whom does not let anyone push her around! I also enjoyed the way that Pamma had opened up and realized how strong of a young woman she could be. At the beginning of the book she was quiet and timid, but by the end, she was strong and willing to do whatever it takes to make it.

The one problem that I had found with the book was the many POVs. Normally, I love getting different POVs. It lets me see through the eyes of the other characters and get a well rounded view of all aspects of the story. However, the book had too many POVs and I had a tendancy to get very confused. It was hard to keep track of which POV I was in at which time.

The love affair was beautiful and I immediately fell in love with Bram. He was sweet and caring and really took his time with Nora all while trying to earn her trust.

I really did enjoy the storyline. This was a completely different take on zombies and you all know how much I love the zombie stories! After much experience, the second books in the series are usually much better than the first, so with that in mind, I very much look forward to reading the next one, Dearly, Beloved, to be published sometime in 2012.

"No, not really. But ..." Okay, I couldn't help but gloat
a little. "She likes me."
Samedi didn't even look at me. "Well of course, you've
had that bloody uniform on all day. I was half ready to
tell you how much I liked you."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review from So Many Books, So Little Time, December 7, 2011
A. Howell (Windermere, FL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel (Hardcover)
So I don't think I ever really read the summary of this book. I just knew that it was YA, paranormalish, and had a beautiful cover. So I signed up for the tour. I had no idea it was about zombies. If I had known, I'm not sure I would have signed up since I hadn't read one before and it doesn't really catch my attention. But let me tell you, I am so glad that I didn't read the summary first. I really enjoyed my first zombie novel!

The world that the story is set in is very similar to Victorian times, although its set in the future. But fortunately, the author tells us why this is, instead of leaving us confused like other authors do. I was very grateful for this. So I really got into the background of the story and the way there were customs fitting of old times blended with future technology. Pretty neat!

And oh, Bram! He makes me want my own zombie. Such a true gentelman! The zombies were so great! They had such a great sarcastic sense of humor and often times I forgot that they were flesh eaters! And I loved that Nora was so open minded and embraced her new friends (after having to warm up to them of course!)

I liked that so much was explained in this book. Why the zombies were happening. And how. I think it's a good thing this was first zombie book because it really got me into it! And the story definitely leaves you wondering what will be happening next. And I can't wait to pick up the next book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Futuristic Steampunky Zombie Goodness, November 9, 2011
This review is from: Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel (Hardcover)
Full Review Can be Found at: Mother/Gamer/Writer
Review Copy Provided by: NetGalley
5 out of 5 Controllers

Dearly, Departed is one of those books that came from the middle of nowhere and ROCKED my world. No seriously, it made me want to get up, fight, and later on hook-up with a really sweet zombie. I am a big fan of the Steampunk Victorian era, although I have never read (that I can recall) a Steampunk novel. I am so glad I decided to read this book. Not only was it filled with futuristic Steampunky goodness, but it was also full of zombies!

Who would have thought zombies could be anything more than creatures that fed on flesh and terrorized a group of people? Well certainly not me; a craver of all things that deal with zombie apocalypses. In Dearly, Departed, zombies are not your average monsters. They think, feel, have histories, and ongoing lives. Except for the few that go mad, but hey, it happens. Habel's worldbuilding is something to marvel over. She has the ability to convey a likeable, sweet, honest, courageous zombie that fans can definitely root for. The leading man Bram is probably my favorite hero/main character thus far in 2011. Many times I could picture myself falling in love with him. Even now I can imagine lying in his cold dead arms. Ha, don't you just love it when a book does that to you? Makes you fall in love with someone who should absolutely disgust you. This novel is that GOOD.

Told in the first person perspective, we get to dive inside just about all the characters heads. Usually multiple POV's drive me nuts, but I think in this case it only made me want more. Our smart and witty heroine is Nora Dearly. I must say I loved Nora just as much as I loved Bram. Their interactions and conversations were both amusing and very touching. And as their relationship progressed from friendship to something more, the tension Habel created left me on the edge of my seat page after page. Nora's best friend Pam was also a well likeable character. Pam was thrown into the zombie world without warning, and the way she handled it was brilliant, slightly comical, and a lot of fun to read. The characters ARE what makes Dearly, Departed a remarkable read.

New Victoria here I come. It's unfortunate to say that some authors do not know how to create their world leaving it lacking and unimaginative. Gena Showalter is one of the best at imagery (try Lords of the Underworld), and I think Lia Habel could be on her level. Or at least close to it. If anything you should read Dearly, Departed just so you can go to New Victoria. It's a GEORGEOUS place, filled with motorized carriages, digital media, an underground city, and of course parasols. I want to go there, I want to live there; heck I want to visit the Punk territory too. It was all majestic, realistic. Something I can't really describe without sounding like a crazy fangirl.

Favorite Passage From Bram's Perspective:

She (Nora) pulled her sleeve back up and shrugged. She was quiet for a minute before asking, "Did you enjoy it?"

I decided to tell the truth. "Yes. You wouldn't believe how good you taste. I don't think I could even describe it."

She laughed. "Good? Like filet mignon good? Or like...candy good?"

I loved her.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Library Lady Hylary - Lots of potential, but falls just short., January 21, 2012
This review is from: Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel (Hardcover)
The year is 2195 and, following the apocalyptic downfall of society in the early 2000's, America's population has migrated to the equatorial countries and set up New Victoria: a nation modeled after the sensibilities of the Victorian age but with high-tech innovations like cell phones and electric carriages. Sixteen-year-old Nora Dearly lives with her strict aunt in the years following her parents' deaths. Nora has a high social standing, since her father was a brilliant scientist, and attends a fancy school with her best friend, Pamela, whose place in society is not so high. The girls feel pressured to make good marriages, especially Nora after she learns that her aunt has squandered her father's fortune. Everything changes one evening, however, when Nora is viciously attacked by a pack of zombies, only to find herself rescued by another pack and whisked away to a mysterious army outpost known as Z Base. Confused and scared, Nora learns that a zombie plague has slowly been creeping its way up to New Victoria and is being kept at bay by an army of intelligent undead soldiers. It seems that the virus, known as the Lazarus, only makes some of the infected insane and hungry for flesh upon reanimation, others retain their memories and personalities. One of these soldiers, Bram Griswold, is brave and handsome, and explains to Nora about her and her father's role in protecting the world from a zombie apocalypse. Will Nora be able to keep her wits about her as she struggles to find out the truth behind the Lazarus all while falling more and more for Bram?

Readers unfamiliar with the term "steampunk" will become more than familiar with the concept of high-tech blended with antiquity in Lia Habel's debut novel, Dearly, Departed. The author describes herself as a fan of both zombies and the Victorian-era, and that is exactly the plot she has created in her new Gone with the Respiration series. The setting of the novel is, arguably, one of if not the most interesting aspects of the story. The first chapters of the book describe exactly how the world of New Victoria came to be, and establishing the "civil war" that permeates the story between the New Victorians and the Punks, a separate nation that does not agree with the strict rules and oppression in New Victoria. As the novel progresses, however, things begin to get a little muddled. The narration changes from chapter to chapter, rotating between five characters, and this often gets more than a little confusing. The zombie aspect of the story takes over fairly early on as well, leaving the reader wondering what happened to the Lia Habel's delightful steampunk environment. It almost seems like the author tried to include too many ideas in the novel, creating something that becomes too complicated and unsure of itself. While there are certainly things to be enjoyed in Dearly, Departed, the story will, unfortunately, be likely to confuse many readers. Hopefully the second novel, Dearly, Beloved, can correct some of these problems upon its release in September of 2012.

I was really excited to read this novel when I first heard about it. I was familiar with the steampunk concept, but had never read a novel that incorporated the idea before. I also love zombies, so I was ready to really enjoy Dearly, Departed. Unfortunately, things didn't go quite so well as I'd hoped. I really liked Lia Habel's descriptions of New London and the conflict between the New Victorians and the Punks. As the novel progressed, however, I got more and more confused. The changing narration was really difficult for me to get used to, even though I've read many novels with rotating narrators, and I felt like the whole New Victorian concept got sloughed off when the zombies entered the story. I think the author had some really great ideas, but fell victim to something I can completely understand, trying to do too much. Even though I wasn't a huge fan of this novel, I will still pick up the sequel when it's released later this year. I really think the potential is there, and I hope that the second installment in the series will be what I was looking for in the first.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YA Bound, October 23, 2011
When I first heard about this book I had to read it. I've been working on my own genre mesh-ups for years, and was all over the idea of combining the paranormal aspect of zombies with a neo-Victorian era. It just sounded to cool for school.

Dearly, Departed didn't disappoint. I connected with Nora right away. She's spunky and doesn't take crap from anyone. Although she's been brought up to be a refined young lady, whose expected to marry up, she has a different view of the world she lives in. And she's all about the Punks. Secretly intrigued with their raw and archaic style. She's my kind of girl.

I loved Bram the most. I enjoyed reading from his POV as he's witty and just plain out fun. I have to admit, it's difficult to see him as swoon-worthy, with the milky blind-looking eyes and gray, dry and cracking skin, but, he definitely had me rooting for him and Nora. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of their relationship early on in the book, but I think that would have been difficult because of the many perspectives we're given. So, for the sake of the length and the many people we read through, I think it was done well. And his quick, funny wit and Nora's don't-take-crap-from-anyone attitude made their relationship truly unique.

The only little issued I had with the novel was the many perspectives we're given. I honestly think I would have enjoyed it just as much if not more if we were only given Nora and Bram's POV. The other characters were interesting, and I liked learning about different things like the virus and stuff from their perspective, but I ultimately think it distracted from the main characters and their plight. However, it didn't prevent me from loving the story and the characters. This is a must read for anyone looking for original YA with an amazing setting and kickass characters. And, oh yeah, kickass zombies and action-packed fighting scenes. Woot!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review from the book review blog, Book Faery, September 27, 2011
This review is from: Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A hilarious, spine-tingling novel, DEARLY DEPARTED has completely blown my mind. I was expecting a so-so 3-star book when I requested this on Amazon Vine. The back cover summary made it sound fairly interesting, and I figured zombies, steampunk, and some sort of dystopian-ish storyline might be the perfect change of pace from all the YA love triangles I've been drowning in. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision that this book and its characters would capture and hold my undivided attention for 400+ pages. I willingly stayed up until 3AM to read the first 300 pages, and only pure exhaustion had the ability to pull me away from the pages. But not for long--once I woke up, I was reading again. I am amazed, and I cannot speak highly enough of Lia Habel's sheer genius.

The voice in DEARLY DEPARTED (DD) is fairly unique and takes some getting used to. While we are catapulted into the future, it would seem that society has progressed backwards in some ways, while also making advances we could only dream of living with. The United States no longer exists; Britain and numerous other countries have also perished as nature evicted humanity, forcing survivors to band together into tribes and relocate closer to the equator. Now, instead of cultures and nationalities, we have people like Nora who have reverted back to a Victorian-ish society... and then we have the Punks. You'll have to read the book to learn more about both.

I absolutely loved the contrast between Nora and Bram. I'll admit that as the novel progressed, it was sometimes difficult to differentiate between the two POVs and I think some may take issue with this. However, in the beginning, before the duo grow used to each other, this contrast--the way Bram viewed Nora--completely enamored me. While Nora sounds like a typical teenage girl, upon viewing her through Bram's eyes we see a sophisticated young woman. It doesn't sound like such a big deal, but I loved the contrast and I thought that the differences between these two cultures and characters shined beautifully in this regard. I wasn't too bothered by the similarities in voices further into the novel because I viewed it as a kind of... merging. Think about it: when one falls in love with a significant other, when that person spends almost every waking moment with his or her lover, it's almost impossible not to adopt certain behaviors, attitudes, or tones that were unique to that other person.

The humor in DD was another element that pleasantly surprised me. It wasn't a consistent occurrence; instead, random lines shocked a laugh out of me throughout the entire story. Even when s*** hits the fan, I still found something to laugh about.

Another thing I loved were the characters--both primary and secondary. Each and every individual in DD is exactly that: an individual. And boy are there a lot of characters. It may take some time adjusting, but you will learn who each person is, and if you're anything like me, you'll learn to love them all. Nora and Bram are of course my favorites, but someone who completely took me by surprise was Pam. Here we have a nit-picky, semi-annoying best friend. Secretly, I was hoping zombies would kill her because she seemed so superficial.

But then something happened. As I was bemoaning my fate of having to read in Pam's POV, she transformed before my very eyes and became someone I could relate with--someone I wanted to defend. And as I kept reading, my respect for her continued to grow and grow until I realized that she transformed into a kick ass young woman. Ohh the imagery when you see her in her home and confronting her family... I loved it!

And now while I'm talking about imagery, I must say that Lia did a wonderful job with descriptions. Every so often, there was a line that jumped out and resonated with me (I posted one on my Goodreads status). These brief moments truly made my reading experience that much more enjoyable. I also loved the way Lia described the circumstances for both the characters and their environments. I could feel how desperate and desolate Pam's situation was becoming as more and more time passed. The stark contrasts in atmospheres took everything to a whole new level, and captured/displayed a uniqueness that a lot of debuting and established works lack.

What impressed me the most, however, was the way Lia handled the dialogue in this book. Each character has a unique way of speaking and interacting with those around him or her. I particularly loved the banter between Nora and Bram--it was not only hilarious, but also moving. Speeches, which I normally detest in novels, were actually interesting. Upon delving into science, I felt like I was listening in on an interesting biology lecture about proteins. When listening to a political speech, I actually felt as if a politician--or some sort of government official--was addressing me. Me, not the characters.

I don't think that's ever happened in a novel before.

There aren't many weaknesses in DD, but I thought I would mention two things: one is an issue that weakened the book in my eyes, and the other is something that may make readers initially lose interest. The story did not pick up for me until chapter 4, which is about 50 or so pages in. I thought that the Prologue in Bram's POV was excellent and caught my attention, but setting up Nora's world may bore some. Please do not give up until you at least finish Chapter 4. If, by that point, you are still not interested, fine. You'll regret it if you stop any sooner.

As for my issue... well, I was not happy with the Epilogue. Here we have a novel that was so incredibly witty, fun, dark, dire, and heroic that I would be silly not to fall in love with it. Ending DD at the last chapter left me satisfied. By including the epilogue, which focused more on the HEA-for-now (happily ever after), I felt that I stumbled into foreign territory. It did not ring true with the rest of the novel... and what purpose did it serve, aside from simply setting the scene for book 2? (and not too strongly, at that).

I can't complain too much about it because I cannot properly voice my dissatisfaction with it, but I will say that in this case, I believe the novel would have ended on a much stronger note if there was a cliffhanger. Instead, I was kind of let down, as this seemed more like an afterthought than anything else.

Aside from that minor complaint, I will proudly declare that Lia Habel is now one of my top authors. While DEARLY DEPARTED did not outshine Ann Aguirre's ENCLAVE, I feel that this is the second best book I have read in 2011. I will auto-buy any and all of her books--in fact, I just pre-ordered this particular novel from Amazon so that I could keep a HC on my bookshelf. DEARLY DEPARTED deserves all the praise and hype it gets, and then some. Cannot wait for book two, and I HIGHLY recommend this zombie novel to everyone who loves YA, Steampunk, Romance, or Dystopian novels!
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Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel
Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel by Lia Habel (Hardcover - October 18, 2011)
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