Dearly Departed by Lia Habel
Nora dearly was born into a life of Victorian customs and high society a good 400 years after such ideals went out of fashion. But her rule abiding world is about to be flipped on it’s rump. Conflicting communities have created a politically volatile atmosphere. More than one conspiracy is brewing all of which involve the undead. Fortunately dearly doesn’t do demure. Nora with have to open her mind and heart if she wants to save her friends, family, and find love along the way.
When I first started reading Dearly Departed I wasn’t sure how the clash of the genres could work but Habel weaves a stunning mix of period and technology with horror and a dash of steampunk to create a rich and interesting world for her story. The book had a futuristic steampunk vibe that went beyond clockworks and clogs. The Victorian aspect provided the frame work for a slow romantic buildup. The army of undead not only helped drive the storyline but added yet another element that set it apart from being just another paranormal YA romance.
Typical revolving turn of the century themes involving women and their place in society crop up through out the book, yet are redefined in stronger more exciting roles, that only the author’s unique setting could provide. Habel’s heroines were diverse like Dearly who was the equivalent of a Victorian tomboy with Rambo tendencies and Pam who was a nurturer with an edge, not only taking care of loved ones but leading the charge to protect them as well.I particularly loved her supporting characters both living and undead. Bram and his elite Z Team provided an equally interesting blend of character depth and humorous banter while Pam’s POV gave the reader a glimpse of the class and social issues common in the replicated era.
With it’s rich mix of styles and characters Dearly Departed is a good book to curl up with and get lost in.
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