Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Publisher:  Del Rey
Date published:  September 25 , 2012
ISBN:  978-0-345-52334-1
Young Adult, Paranormal
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher.

Nora Dearly has done the unspeakable.  Fallen in love with a dead guy.  Bram Griswold.   But despite opposition to her choice of this particular zombie-of-her-dreams over the living, in this case Michael Allister, a spoiled rich guy, she remains faithful to Bram, despite all odds against them.  Allister blames Bram for his losing Nora, his love interest, and is intent on destroying him, along with all the other zombies roaming freely around the City of New London, the capital of New Victoria.  Considered the Punks of their generation. 

It is now 2196, a year after the undead attacked the city, causing it to change dramatically through chaos and violence.  Political and social tensions between the “civilized” zombies and the “other” undead are also on the rise and draw forth organized gangs of undead who have their own self-serving agendas in mind.

But something new has occurred.  A mutated strain of The Laz, a virus that raises the dead, has sprung forth, making things more dangerous for the living because no vaccine can deal with it.  So it is now up to Nora and Bram to join forces, with old friends who become foes, and take control of their destinies, no matter the cost.

DEARLY, BELOVED by Lia Habel is the long-awaited sequel to DEARLY, DEPARTED and picks up where the first story left off.  Again, this one is very well written, but it is necessary to read the first book before attempting the second.  Otherwise, things will get confusing, due to the way the book is written, with many character changes occurring with every chapter.  Regardless, the book is full of all the great characters present in the first book, and even some new ones.

Our hero and heroine, Bram and Nora, are still in love yet strongly independent.  I like that about these characters.  They are loyal to one another yet take the initiative when necessary to get the job done. 

The array of bad guys in DEARLY, BELOVED keeps you turning the pages.  With the introduction of The Grave House Gang (a/k/a The Changed) into the mix of things, a whole new set of problems arise for the “civilized” undead.  With this comes the turning of loyalties.  Especially for Coalhouse, a close friend of Bram’s who feels worthless and unappreciated and who decides to join with The Changed.  He hopes this will make him feel more appreciated.  He keeps telling himself it is to get close enough to obtain information that Bram and his friends can use for their benefit.  Habel has done a great job in making the reader feel bad for Coalhouse, and I always sense the sadness surrounding him.

DEARLY, BELOVED also has a great new character named Smoke.  He is one of the coolest zombies ever, especially when he changes into something even more terrifying than anyone could ever have imagined.  I just love this guy.

There is plenty of action and mayhem in DEARLY, BELOVED.  Clashes between zombies and the military are expected, yet Habel adds some new tension and suspense when Allister and Griswold conflict over Nora Dearly, adding chase scenes and gunfights that are thrilling to read about.

Although the pace of DEARLY, BELOVED isn’t as fast-paced as DEARLY, DEPARTED, because of the confusing mix of characters, it is still a story filled with excitement and suspense that will keep one reading till the end, just to see how everything turns out.  Ms. Habel’s talent for creative plotting, imaginative gadgetry, building tension and suspense never wavers.  She is still a force to be reckoned with, and I can easily see both of her books becoming movies filled with interesting twists and turns, lots of adventure, and great special effects.

Considering how this story ends, leaving a few questions unanswered - like, Whatever did happen to Aunt Gene? And just who is E?- it seems that most likely there will be a continuation of this story at some point.

If one enjoys zombie tales, romance, conflicts, unique plotting, creative high-tech gadgets and vehicles, mystery, and enjoyable adventures, then DEARLY, BELOVED will certainly fulfill those expectations.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


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