29th September 2011
Random House Children's
As far as romantic pairings go in the year 2195, you don't get much more unlikely than an upper-class schoolgirl and a poor miner from enemy tribes. Filter in the fact that he's a zombie, and you're definitely talking about star-crossed love.
Dearly, Departed is a cyber-Victorian/steampunk romance that takes place in the shadow of a new ice age. Nora Dearly, a mouthy teenage girl and apparent orphan, leaves school for Christmas - only to be dragged into the night by the living dead. Luckily for her, though, the good ones got to her first. From her reanimated rescuers she learns not only that zombies are roaming the countryside, but that her father is one - and that he's in terrible trouble. She also meets Captain Bram Griswold, a noble, strong, and rather sweet undead boy for whom she starts to fall.
Meanwhile, her best friend, Pamela Roe, is just trying to carry on with life as best she can in the wake of Nora's disappearance - when she ends up killing an evil zombie in self-defense. Pam is galvanized into action, and ends up leading a group of survivors as the city of New London is thronged by the ravenous dead.
Upon hearing of Pamela's plight, Nora and Bram set out to rescue her friends, find her missing father, and maybe just save what's left of the world.
Well Holy Moly and Sweet Mother of Zombie, this was one hell of an awesome book. I went in with pretty high expectations, and it did not disappoint. I mean, I don't even think it's possible for Steampunk-Zombie-Romance to fail. Unless the zombie that is involved in the romance is very, very dead. And, you know, has limbs falling off and skin hanging on by a thread. Literally. But, fortunately, this was not the case with our lovely Bram! He was pleasantly intact, I think you all will want to know. Not gross at all. Not breathing, but still.
Nora was an excellent character! In fact, pretty much all the girls in this book were awesome! They were each confronted with pretty crazy situations, and they all handled them pretty well. Especially that bit with Pamela and Michael, you'll know the bit, that made me laugh so much! He so deserved it. Back to Nora though, she was little headstrong and stubborn, but was also pretty good with a gun, and while she did seem a little unstable at times, she had just been kidnapped by a load of zombies. I think we'd ALL be a little unstable after that, regardless whether they're good or bad. Plus, she was pretty awesome with a gun, and really easy to like (or at least I thought so.)
The book itself was told from 5 (yes, FIVE) different perspective's, though it was mainly Nora and Bram's, and either way, it wasn't confusing at all. They all had pretty distinctive voices and made the story easy to follow because it let you into loads of other information that you wouldn't have known otherwise, and which would've made the story a little harder to follow. I especially loved Pamela's chapters later on in the book. I do love me some bad brain eating zombies, and in Pam's bits I got plenty!
I loved Bram. Seriously, if you look past the fact that he's dead, I'm pretty sure you'll love him too. He doesn't sit around moping about being a zombie, he sees it as an almost second chance, and he lives his zombie life to the fullest! Plus he's just a really lovely guy, and death hasn't changed him at all. Why shouldn't a dead guy be nice, and sweet, and just brilliant?! There's no rule that says if you become a zombie/vamp/ghost/anything dead, that you have to be all depressing! And he treats Nora like an equal. If he ever patronises her, it's usually a joke. Possibly because Nora generally has a gun on her at all times, but they have such a sweet love ;3
The side characters in this book were awesome too, and I found myself really adoring all of the zombies at Z-Base. Tom and Chas were an adorable couple, even though they fought most of the time... But they worked you know? And I just really loved all of their attitudes to their situation. Yeah, they're dead, but that ain't gonna stop 'em! And Ren. N'aww, he was so cute with his AetherNet chess and engineering know how and readinginess. And how everyone else teased him. ;)
Dearly, Departed is another awesome zombie book (I should really read more... I'm really loving them lately!) that I really loved and thought was an excellent combination of zombiness, romance and cyber/steam punk, that I'd recommend to anyone who loves their undead! ;)