Five glorious months ago I won an ARC of Dearly, Departed from Goodreads. As soon as it arrived in the mail, I dropped everything to read it. Two days and 500 pages later, I found myself instantly craving the next book. Unfortunately, the joy of getting an ARC soon becomes depression when you realize you have even LONGER to wait for the next book then the oblivious people who have not read it yet.

But FINALLY the release date for Dearly, Departed has arrived and TOMORROW you can get your own copy. And so, without further ado, my reasons why you must immediately go buy this book tomorrow and read it in order to wait in agony for the second book with me. (I need the company! Plus, I have cookies…)

Love can never die.

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?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

As the summary tells you, this book is set in the future, but society has resorted to Victorian times, much like they did in Incarceron, but with a mix of old and new. They ride in carriages that are outfitted with flat screens (awesome), and wear Victorian dresses, but interact with holograms on a regular basis. You get the idea. So, you have the futuristic Victorian aspect, but wait! There are also ZOMBIES, which makes this book the greatest thing since the invention of the zip-up Trapper Keeper because it’s like reading a Steampunk Zombie book.

Steampunk & zombies! Tell me you don’t want to read this now and I will call you on your lie.

In addition to its overall awesomeness, we have Nora and Bram. Nora Dearly is a warrior at heart. Once things start happening to her, she’s gung-ho and ready to fight. While reading, I noticed a similarity to her and Scarlett O’Hara as, aside from the dresses, Nora has just as much stubbornness and haughtiness as the Gone with the Wind leading lady. I wouldn’t be surprised if the last book has her lifting a fist in the air and vowing to never go hungry again (that is, assuming they can’t find a vaccine and the zombies take over the world).

And Bram. Mmmm… Bram. I never thought I would fall for a zombie. I’m sure Nora didn’t either. The fact that I wish they could find a miracle to somehow restore Bram back to the full living since a vaccine will only kill him dead, but knowing it’s almost impossible makes me want to smack Lia for writing him to be so damn nice and good and perfect and… BRAM! *cries into pillow* I know it will only end in heartache and disaster, but I can’t help but hold out hope that everything will be alright. Naive, I know, but I think Nora’s stubbornness rubbed off on me.

I have to mention the secondary characters. Some of them get their own POV chapters and their varied pasts and charisma make them believable and filled-out in a way most secondary characters are not written, especially Pamela, Nora’s best friend. I like Pamela. She’s scrappy and loyal. I’m going to be very interested to see what happens between her and a certain boy. *eyebrow wiggle*

Also, the cover! You can see the pretty cover up there, right? I love it!

In short, Dearly, Beloved needs to be in my hands soon and y’all should all read Dearly, Departed. Steampunk! Zombies!

If you have read it, I’d love to know what you thought, even if they’re spoilery (Note: COMMENTS MIGHT BE SPOILERY). If you haven’t, you have your assignment.

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