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A Reader of Fictions: Tears to Shed - Helena Bonham Carter, Jane Horrocks and Enn Reitel

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tears to Shed - Helena Bonham Carter, Jane Horrocks and Enn Reitel

Dearly, Departed
Gone with the Respiration, Book 1

Author: Lia Habel
Pages: 379
ARC Acquired from: Random House via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Nora Dearly has been an orphan for a year. On the day another interminable semester at her school full of prissy girls finishes, her mourning period for her father's death has finished. Armed with her best friend Pamela, Nora returns home, only to be approached by an unfamiliar person with the milky eyes of the blind. Escaping, thanks to the fortuitous arrival of some policemen, she reaches the home she shares with her vacuous aunt, who informs her that they are out of money and both must marry well. Not only that, but the boy Nora's supposed to set her cap for is someone she believes to be a stupid jerk. She thought that was bad...until she was attacked by a large group of slavering flesh-eating creatures, only to be saved by another group, headed up by the person who confronted her before. When she wakes up on their military base, she discovers that she has been taken by zombies.

From the beginning, Dearly, Departed was a fascinating read. There is just so much going on in here, most of which I approve of. For example, this book, the start of a new series, manages to be both set in a future society and steampunk, which is, traditionally, historical in nature. So, while not technically steampunk, it reads that way entirely. Given that and the zombies, I bet Cherie Priest loved this book (or will love it...I have no idea if she's read it or not).

Above that, Dearly, Departed is also a dystopia, or at least has enough dystopian elements to keep me happy, er, unhappy. Actually, it has pretty much every kind of dystopia possible. Habel explains that the society in which Nora lives came about in reaction to a series of calamities that befell the human race in entirety (and Americans especially) 150 years previously. These include an ice age (didn't see that one coming), catastrophic storms taking out island countries, disease, famine, nuclear war, and the explosion of the supervolcano underneath Yellowstone. While I do think it's awesome that Habel included that stuff, I also feel like it may just be, focus on the pun, overkill.

That's one of my two concerns about the book: Habel seems to have tried to do a bit too much. While this didn't distract from my enjoyment of the novel too much, I did sometimes shake my head in response to the sheer number of crazy things, some of which were markedly unnecessary.

My other concern, in case you were curious, is zombies being hot. That's right, folks. Now, all paranormals are hot, even zombies. Of course, I have seen zombies that had relationships before, but they only dated other zombies (Breathers); this is my first run in with a couple composed of one living person and one dead person. That said, I really do like Bram, and, all things considered, this has been done as well as is possible. However, I cannot ship this or think it will end in anything but tears and/or nomming.

What I really loved about the book were the strong female heroines, Nora and Pamela. They are vibrant and really rise to difficult occasions. Despite being raised to be proper New Victorian girls (think Victorian social mores and customs), they refuse to be put into a box or onto a pedestal. Their chapters are definitely the best ones; I think I would have liked the book even more had it been told exclusively from their perspectives and could definitely have done without Wolfe's and Victor's sections (the POV switches). Examples of how cool these girls are: one of them climbed up rose bushes with bare hands while also firing at zombie attackers and the other killed a zombie with a parasol. Yeah, with a parasol.

To sum up, who doesn't want to read a good zombie novel where the living dead get taken out by a deadly parasol?

P.S. Is anyone else tired of every single paranormal book having a cheesy tag line on the front, such as this one "Love can never die." That's so melodramatic...and I'm pretty sure I've seen virtually the same thing on at least ten other books.

"If I touch a burning candle I can feel no pain
In the ice or in the sun it's all the same
Yet I feel my heart is aching
Though it doesn't beat it's breaking
And the pain here that I feel
Try and tell me it's not real
I know that I am dead
Yet it seems that I still have some tears to shed"

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Blogger Kelly said...

I read an ARC of this a while ago and loved it. The one thing I will debate you on is Bram being hot. Because I'm pretty sure he is described as really not hot and in fact fairly terrifying to look at. However, I do see your point about now even flesh-eating zombies are having girls fall in love with them. And I totally agree about not needing the Wolfe and Victor POVs.

October 31, 2011 at 2:42 PM  

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