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Dearly, Departed - Lia Habel Dearly, Departed is the exciting and thrilling debut novel of Lia Habel. It is a delightful mashing of Young Adult, dystopian, science fiction, paranormal romance, zombie, Victorian, and steampunk, despite being set in the year 2195. It has a lot going on, but still manages to pull off being, by far, one of my favorite reads for 2011.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

Although this book is advertised as being a romance novel, it was much more than that to me. Sure, there was a love story, but there was so much action and adventure going on around the blossoming romance between protagonist Nora Dearly and the dashing undead, Abraham Griswold. There are also several other characters who provide their points of view – in addition to the two lovers – to the story: Nora’s best friend, Pamela Roe; her father, Victor Dearly; and our villain, Wolfe. Once again, there was a lot going on in the book, but it was never tedious or confusing and allowed the story’s flow to stay interesting.

I was on a cruise when I read the book. Instead of playing in the pool on deck or hanging out in the bar, I was sucked into the lives of the characters. Lia Habel’s descriptive writing made me feel as if I was in Central/South America in the fantastic world that she had created, instead of being on my rocking ship. I could not step away from the story, because I needed to know what would happen on the next page. Chapters were not always a good stopping point since the POV changed so often, and I had to find out what had occurred since I left a character two or three chapters previously.

I loved the book, and it is definitely going to be one of my “Librarian Recommendations” to my young adults and adults who are young at heart.