Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

In the spirit of getting back into the swing of things, I am -- for once -- writing a review right after writing the "I'll be back soon!" or "I'm coming back now!" post.  How many times have I posted that, and it never happened?  So I could see how you could be understandably skeptical when I posted that again tonight.

Yet here I am.

Just earlier today, I finished Dearly, Beloved, the sequel of Dearly, Departed, a YA zombie romance that I read earlier this year.  As you may (or may not) remember, I adored Dearly, Departed, as I found it an incredibly unique (and romantic) take on zombies -- a refreshing change from all the scary-zombie books and movies that have been out lately.  Note: This review will contain spoilers for the first book -- Dearly, Departed -- so read onward at your own risk!

Dearly, Beloved was a continuation not only of Nora and Bram's romance, but also of the predicament they find themselves in.  Although they live in "New Victoria," this actually takes place in the future, when people have technology but have adopted a Victorian-styled society (corsets and dresses, chaperones, etc. mixed with computers, science, and medical technology).  After the existence of the zombie disease was exposed in the first book (sorry if that was a spoiler), New Victoria is struggling with whether to accept the sane zombies -- zombies that retain their identity and intelligence, and are able to abstain from human flesh -- as part of society.

I didn't find the second book as addicting as the first, but that might have been because my library book expired when I was in the middle of it, and I had to wait weeks before I could check it out again and finish it.  Even so, I found the initial romance between Nora and Bram much more compelling than the second book, when their relationship was already established.  This might have been because I felt like the second book focused less on the relationship, and more on the rest of the story -- the intrigues, the politics, the betrayals, etc.  There were more narrating characters in this book, too, which was probably why I felt like the focus had shifted off of Nora and Bram.

I may have been disappointed that the romance was less compelling, but at the same time, I felt like the second book was building to a much bigger story than just Nora, Bram, and their immediate circle.  I think I remember seeing that this is supposed to be a trilogy, but I don't know when the third book is due out, and there doesn't seem to be any information about it on Lia Habel's website (which hasn't even been updated to include the newest book).  Hopefully they won't keep us waiting too long, though -- I will certainly be reading the next one as soon as it's out!

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