That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.
Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.
Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.
As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.
AH’s Review – 3 Skulls – C+
“You’re a zombie. If you’re not missing body parts, you’re doing it wrong.”
Dearly, Beloved continues the story of our plucky heroine Nora Dearly. Nora lives in New London, Nicaragua, the capital of New Victoria. The book is set in the future, a future that embraced Victorian culture and societal standards. Oh – there are zombies in this book. Sentient, talking, tofu-eating zombies. You see, this world has been ravaged by the Lazarus virus and it causes the dead to reanimate. Not everyone is happy granting rights and privileges to the undead. A group of aristocrats is running around wearing crow masks and wreaking havoc on the zombie population. Meanwhile, someone is riling up the zombies as well.
There’s a lot going on in this book. The story itself was bogged down by multiple points of view; we get the story from six different points of view! This caused the story to feel disjointed and confusing, in fact, I almost abandoned the book at one point. Once I got into the story, I was able to enjoy the many adventures of Nora and Bram. While I loved Bram, I found the secondary characters to be more interesting than Nora and Bram. I enjoyed Vespertine’s two-faced plotting and her online chess games with Ren. Samedi was an interesting character as a zombie.
Is there romance? Oh yes, a “mixed” romance, romance of the human-zombie kind. Now before you get all grossed out, remember that these are not the mindless “eat brains” kind of zombies. They are paler and greyer than normal humans and do not have a heartbeat, but other than that, the zombies in this book are just like you and I, only reanimated and slowly rotting away.
For the haters of the ubiquitous love triangle, there is an attempt at one however the target of said love triangle is not having any part of it. It is more of an unrequited love, rather than an actual triangle.
While I found the Victorian society angle quaint, it did cause the characters to be extremely stifled in their actions. First of all, the women were dressed in so many layers that they could barely flee renegade zombies. Second of all, it was odd that the women characters would obsess about their dress when something dire was going on. It just seemed forced.
When reading a book that is classified as steampunk, I am always on the lookout for how the gadgets and devices are used. This series has some very clever steampunk contraptions such as backlit digidiaries, horseless carriages, airships, and even the Aethernet. There were a few things that felt out of place such as a sub dermal identity chip.
Overall, while the pacing of this book was a little slow and bogged down by multiple points of view, I did find it to be an entertaining read. Dearly, Beloved is suitable for a young adult audience and older.
Series Reading Order:
- Dearly, Departed
- Dearly, Beloved
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for a review copy of this book.
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