I was utterly transfixed by the pages of this book and I didn't want to put it down, not for a second. This is a novel that definitely kept me up to all hours of the night. The history is so well fleshed out and blended into the horror shambles of the zombies, and the dearly beloved are incredibly captivating. The Victorian backdrop that the story is set against, is full of wonderous splendor and beauty. Habel's attention to details and world building, is absolutely flawless and enticing. Dearly Beloved is truly a fantastic thriller set in futuristic time, full of horror, undead zombie mayhem, and highly imaginative drama.
A look inside this awesome novel full of so much wow, gives insight into a world divided by the mysterious plague known as, "The Laz". The streets of New London are plagued with the walking dead corpses who have turned into mindless ravenous monsters who are hungry for human flesh they can rip apart, while other's can still function as they once did as humans in society. They still possess the ability to reason, speak, think, and more importantly: control their ravenous appetite's for destruction of anything human that moves. The streets are tension filled and the factions are extreme from one side to the other, with anti and pro-zombie sentiments. It becomes extremely apparently nearly early on in the book, that the battle lines have been drawn.
The Changed and the Murder are complete oppossite's of one another. While The Changed are a radical group of zombies fighting for their survival among the living, The Murder is a masked group of individuals who are dead set on destroying any of the living dead, whether they're peaceful and in control of theirselves or whether their the rabid kind who dine on human flesh. Lia Habel does a spectacular job of distinguishing the two factions from one another and introducing them each, with their background information and opposing stance so effortlessly blending it in with the rest of the story. It pique's interesting and gives the book so much more depth and layers. The twist that she introduces is, the fact that the zombie's aren't the only one's who are in trouble. Their living allies are also being targeted closely by, The Murder. And, it seems that Nora Dearly, who has been caught up in their crosshairs, has secured herself a spot at the top of their list.
Bram is swoon-worthy gorgeous and incredibly brave. Ever the hero, he never ceases to amazing me. His best attribute is the fact that he isn't scared to stand up for himself and that he will stop at nothing to protect those he cares about. It's endearing to witness the relationship between him and Nora unfold, in such a sweet and charming way, given the conditions they find themselves living and fight for survival in. In a way, I would venture to say that he's written as one of the most interesting perfectly flawed character's that I've really felt like investing my time in. This is where Lia Habel also out does herself, with her ability to make her character's shine on the pages, in such a way that they're as realistic and relatable (even if some of them are undead zombies) that reader's can enjoy them and find ways to connect with them.
Nora, as sweet as she may seem, isn't as innocent as she comes across on the pages. This is another instance, where I praise Habel for her wonderfully developed character growth and attention to detail. She's brave and rash in a lot of ways, but it always comes back to the fact that she's protecting her friends, which makes it alright in the end. She's not foolish in the least little bit and definitely easy to connect with. It's incredible to see how strong she is, in such a terrifying world where she could have every possible reason to lose herself, but she doesn't. It's a definitely a quality of hers to be admired. Her optimism at hope for a better future instead of staying mired down in the past that's behind her, is also another admirable quality.
Dearly Beloved is a virtual rollercoaster ride of awesome! This is truly a book that fans of Lia Habel's previous novel, will definitely not want to miss out. Filled with so much intrigue, mystery, secrets, and terrifying danger and given a beautiful Victorian backdrop and subtle yet sweet and charming romance, this book is sure to wow anyone who enjoys paranormal zombies with a historican spin. I would definitely suggest picking up this book and giving it a try. Fans of This Is Not A Test and Die For Me will definitely find themselves attracted to this brilliantly intense and incredibly suspenseful novel.
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Lia Habel an author, and consequently spends the majority of her days locked up in her own head. When she's actually actively participating in the groundbreaking experiment in groupthink known as "reality," you'll find her designing and sewing costumes, trying to teach herself to play roller derby (she does not tackle pedestrians, contrary to popular belief), planning trips, and watching zombie movies.