Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Dearly, Beloved is a sequel to Dearly, Departed (see my full review here: http://lookgoodifyoudie.blogspot.com/2011/10/dearly-departed-by-lia-habel.html).

Both are set in 2195. Disasters have reduced the Earth’s population to various settlements in Central and South America. One settlement, a wealthy one, has chosen the Victorian era as the perfect time period in the past, and the inhabitants follow Victorian protocols. The Victorians are in a running war with a poorer group of people called Punks. Into this mix comes the Laz, a disease that reanimates a dead body and turns the person into a zombie. Now, undead Punks and Victorians who have managed to keep their minds unite to battle it out with the mindless undead.

Nora, the living daughter of the undead doctor who had made it possible for those with the Laz to continue to exist in useful ways, has fallen in love with Bram Griswold, the handsome dead Zombie former Punk officer. The books are told by multiple narrators, and I find Bram’s the most interesting. There are so many narrators and important characters I had a hard time keeping them all straight. Also, it seems like the author feels compelled to put every character in some kind of a romance (or potentially romantic situation), and I felt the matchmaking excessive.

Dearly, Beloved did not drag quite as much as the first book, but it was still slow in parts. This book feels more violent than the first, and now that Nora and Bram are a couple, the ick factor over the lovemaking is a lot stronger. The satire of paranormal romance was more obvious in the first book, although it is still present in this one.

Despite my criticisms, I enjoyed reading both books, and I recommend Dearly, Beloved to anyone who read the first and to those who enjoy steampunk, lolita, unusual paranormal romances and dystopian stories.

I read an advanced reader copy. This book is scheduled to be published on September 25.

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