Natalie 's Reviews > Dearly, Departed

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
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's review
Jan 01, 2012

liked it
Read from December 29 to 31, 2011

Read this review on my blog, Mindful Musings.

In a Sentence: Though I wasn't sold on the number of POVs in this novel, Dearly Departed was an overall fast and fun read set in a wonderfully imaginative world.

My Thoughts

I decided to read Dearly Departed when I saw that Tiger at All Consuming Books and Tara at 25 Hour Books had both given it a good rating. These ladies' taste in books tend to be extremely similar to my own, so when I read their reviews, Dearly Departed got an instant spot at the top of my to-read list. Though it took me longer to get around to reading it than I originally planned, once I started the book, I had a hard time putting it down.

The first chapter immediately grabbed my attention. Dearly Departed starts off from the point of view of the character Bram, and as you can tell from the first line of the book (see above), he's in quite the impossible situation. Trapped underground and being chased by hunger-crazed zombies, the story starts with Bram's last living moments. This first part of the book seemed very reminiscent of a horror movie to me. It had me on the edge of my seat and extremely excited to see what would happen next.

Oddly, my favorite part of Dearly Departed wasn't the characters, which is an oddity for me with books that I like. Usually, characters are what make or break the book for me, but in this case, it was the world building. I loved it! The idea of a futuristic world that has taken on the practices of the Victorian era was definitely a creative one. I really enjoyed the technology, the expectation of the proper use of manners and decorum, and finally, the horror element that the zombies added to the picture. The only thing that bothered me (and it's a small thing) is that I had a hard time believing that men and women would resort to the unequal gender standards upheld by many Victorians. After all the progress made in the 21st century, it didn't seem very realistic that women would accept becoming second class citizens again, even after an apocalyptic event. Then again, people always do strange things when faced with unimaginable hardship, so, in reality, it probably is more realistic than it felt to me.

My one significant pet peeve about Dearly Departed was the amount of points of view that were included in the book. If I remember correctly, there were five (Bram, Nora, Pam, Victor, and Wolfe). While I enjoyed the first three, I felt the latter two were unnecessary to the story. Whenever the chapter was told from Victor or Wolfe's point of view, I found myself getting bored, and these were the times when I actually ended up putting down the book, whereas, during the other POVs, I had a lot of difficulty convincing myself to take a break. I think Victor and Wolfe's stories could have been told rather easily in another way, and this could have cut down on the clunkiness that I sometimes felt with the constant shifting between a number of characters.

The tagline for Dearly Departed ("Love can never die") makes the book seem like it is just another angsty star-crossed teenage love story, but to me, it felt like more than that. While there are elements present in Dearly Departed that are characteristic of the young adult paranormal romance genre, it pairs these with original story building, fun minor characters, and a slow-building romance that felt more (though not completely) realistic than the majority of the ones present in YA today. This, along with the other aspects mentioned above, made Dearly Departed a worthwhile read.
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Reading Progress

12/30/2011 page 200

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