Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dearly, Departed, by Lia Habel


Welcome to life in New Victoria.  It is 2195, and the world is not at all what people imagined.  People have settled into new places, adopted neo-Victorian ideals, and are at war with the subversive Punks.  And if that was not bad enough, it turns out the government and military have been covering up the fact that zombies exist.  Nora is on school holiday when she confronts this reality face to undead face, and now is trying to figure out how some of the zombies can be good guys, and some can be bad guys.  And more importantly, can she possibly find herself falling for a zombie?

Futuristic dystopian teenage steampunk zombies in love.  Really?  You say it out loud and it sounds ridiculous.  And yet, I completely loved this book.  Who would have thought?  This is my first foray into anything remotely steampunk, and I am intrigued to say the least.  I love the world that Habel has created in this book, a poetic blend of the future and the past, in terms of ideals and philosophies.  One of my favorite scenes in the book talks about a computer than runs on steam energy.  It seems to me that the book may have started out almost satirical, and somehow took on a life of its own as a legitimate, engaging piece of fiction.

Let's talk about the vivid language and imagery in the book.  I saw this book play in my head like a movie.  I thought it was really clever, and I loved that I was completely transported to this neo-Victorian era.  And character development?  Wow, off the charts.  I can only imagine how hard it is to make zombies sexy, what with all the putrescence and brain chomping.  Yet that is exactly what Habel does.  She breathes new life into the idea of zombies, puts a creative spin on the monster creating a hierarchy of zombiism, and somehow makes the undead antihero of the book really sexy and romantic.  Hard to imagine, and one of the numerous reasons you need to read the book for yourself.

In the realm of monsters, I always fancied myself a vamp fan, with my fandom of weres being secondary, my fandom of zombies tertiary, and my fandom of mummies nonexistent.  But this book could movie zombies up to tie for my number one favorite monster, particularly if its sequel is equally fantastic.     

So, yeah, futuristic dystopian teenage steampunk zombies in love.  It totally worked.

I received a review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine program.



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