Friday, September 7, 2012
Dearly, Beloved + Giveaway!
Nora Dearly lives in a Neo-Victorian society that has been split into two different factions, the humans and the living dead made by virus known as the Laz. The zombies are also split into two categories: sentient zombies that have their appetites under control and feral zombies that attack humans indiscriminately. Most humans are loathe to include even the sentient zombies in their society, allocating them to their own slums and shunning them. Very few humans see the humanity in the zombies, one of them being Nora Dearly. She is in love with Bram Griswold, a zombie who saved her from some other unsavory zombies. The conflict between the pro- and anti-zombie factions will reach a boiling point and explode, causing outright battle between the two most extreme groups: a sentient zombie group fighting for the right to live called The Changed and a human group called The Murder made of masked rich people determined to kill every zombie and zombie sympathizer that walks the streets. As war threatens to break between the two, Nora's father works to find a cure, but his efforts may be in vain when an entirely new strain of the virus emerges in one person. Can this new plague be staved off and can the two groups be stopped from declaring war on each other, possibly destroying their society?
Nora and Bram are back! After reading the amazing Dearly, Departed last year, I couldn't wait for the next book and, although it is much different, it exceeded my expectations. The story centers exclusively on the Neo-Victorian society in which ex-Punks, Neo-Victorians, and zombies (of both faction) live in the same city and either learn to get along or make their society descend into war and chaos. The zombies have tried to simply blend into society, but their own society generally rejects them despite the fact that the vast majority of them are basically normal people. The Changed and The Murder are two extremist groups whose goals are violent and unrealistic. The Changed want their own rights, but at the expense of human lives if need be. The Murder want to kill every zombie and zombie sympathizer until the undead menace is purged from their world. Our intrepid heroes are caught in the middle, trying to stop the Murder and get the Changed to see reason. This situation calls to mind a lot of things about our own society: bigotry, racism, and extremist groups that will never see eye to eye. I really enjoyed seeing the ramifications of the first book and how it changed Nora's society in a fundamental way.
I seriously can't get enough of these characters. Each one, whether they are good or evil or somewhere in the middle, is dynamic and varied as real people. As with the last book, each chapter is told from a different perspective. I had no problems keeping track of each character and their various interweaving plots. Nora and Bram are the cutest couple ever. Instead of just being perfect and blissfully happy, they get on each others' nerves and they bicker even though they love each other. Too many teen books portray love as perfect when it really isn't. As individual characters, they are heroic, resourceful, and brave in their own ways. They are also both ridiculously restricted by the oppressive Victorian society (Nora because she is a woman and Bram because he is an ex-Punk and a zombie). Michael is as horrible and slimy as ever as part of the Murder, but his narrative is compelling because he truly believes he is right while he commits disgusting deeds. Vespertine is my favorite of the minor characters and proves to be much more than she appears. My favorite new character is Laura, a sweet zombie who grows plants and flowers in her body.
Lia Habel's vibrant and unique take on steampunk and zombies stays fun and interesting for the second installment. I can't wait for the third book so see what happens with the new type of zombie and what's in store for the cast of amazing characters.
My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins
Giveaway time!!!! I have one ARC copy of Dearly, Beloved to give away to one lucky reader. To enter, just leave a comment below with the title of your favorite zombie book and your email address by midnight on October 15, 2012. This is open internationally. Good luck!