Dearly, Departed

Dearly, Departed - Lia Habel Originally posted at WickedLilPixie Reviews
The world-building and character development in Dearly, Departed is in a word: epic. I know this word has been used to death but really it’s actual definition captures the story of Nora and Bram so well. Dearly, Departed is told in first-person but from various characters’ points of view, not just Nora. I loved this! Usually this technique can drive me a little bananas, but it was so artistically maneuvered that each point of view told a solid part of the story and helped it flow seamlessly.

Pamela and Nora have been best friends since they were small children, unseperable ever since. They played together, went to grammar school together, and practically lived in one another’s houses, so when Nora goes missing, Pamela is devastated. She became one of my favorite characters and not because we both share the same name. Her loyalty was unshakable.
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"I was jealous of her at first, because she had prettier dresses and the naturally curly hair that had been my ultimate worldly desire at that age. In fact, when our mothers initially introduced us, I had chosen to greet her by yanking on a fistful of her hair to see if it was real. Her response was to deck me in the nose.

It had been love at first sight."
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Abraham Griswold, or Bram for short, is part of the Zombie Punks, having contracted the Lazarus disease. His story on how he came to Company Z and became undead is nothing short of heartbreaking. To be such a gentleman, so calm and collected and at the same time compassionate, right away I liked him. He is a true Hero. And Nora has so much moxy and smarts. She has a healthy amount of fear initially, but uses her brains to quickly assess the situation and find her part in the way things are. Quick on the uptake, she immediately jumps in and you see how Bram could not help but be charmed by her. In a word, Nora and Bram’s relationship is sweet.

Then there are the other zombie teen combatants at Company Z serving with Bram that you can’t help but love. There’s Chas with her metal jaw, Tom with his missing nose, Ren who is skeletal and always has his nose in a book. The affectionate teasing and camaraderie will endear you to them despite the fact that they are the undead. The way this undead-making disease, Lazarus, is explained makes sense and is believable as well as how it has spread. It is complex without being too hard to grasp. There is a wonderful thread of comedic relief in the dialog that is well used and endears you to the characters both alive and undead alike. So here is where I have to include my favorite quote from the book, brought to you by Pamela:

"I hope there are zombie sharks in there and they bite you and you die!"

This really is a story for everyone. It is a tale of perseverance, strength, overcoming overwhelming odds, zombies, and love. I adored each chapter and cannot wait to see more from Lia Habel. I am so happy to have received this ARC from AAD Philly, and I treasure this little gem of a book. I eagerly await the next book in this new series, Dearly, Beloved out sometime next year.