Book Review: Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration #1) by Lia Habel

Posted January 19, 2015 by Melissa in Book Review | 3 Comments


The Book

Title:  Dearly, Departed
Series:  Gone With the Respiration #1
Author: Lia Habel
Age Range:  Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction | Paranormal Romance | Zombies
Length: 470 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (Imprint of Random House)
Publication Date: October 18th 2011
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, E-book
Add the book: Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon | BN |The Book Depository
Source: Library (Archived NetGalley Title)


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.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.


“She tried to compose herself then, with several deep breaths. I gave her as long as she needed, all the while mentally designing my tombstone. R.I.P, Captain Abraham R. Griswold. He was completely useless and made girls cry.”

My Thoughts

Dearly Departed was only my 2nd or 3rd “Zombie” read and I am constantly surprised by how much I can enjoy a concept that I avoided so thoroughly in the past.

I can find no issue with Lia Habel’s writing style…the prose flowed very well and for the most part the pacing of the book was spot on.  I loved the witty repartee and banter as well as the more thoughtful and introspective moments.  There was a portion toward the end that felt a bit slow…but it wasn’t too bad. The only thing that did bother me were the POVs. I felt that there were entirely too many…and though I love Dual POVs the four or five in this book (including secondary characters) was just a bit much. I would have been quite content to hear only from Nora and Bram.

I absolutely loved the world building and the “science”  in this one…to be honest that is what made the book.  Habel went to great lengths to help us understand how this world came to be… Why the society had reverted to Victorian mores despite the technological advancements and some of the logistics behind the whole zombie issue.

The plot seemed to be stretched thin a bit at times and some of the antagonists seemed a bit over the top…but it carried the book along and me along with it without too many problems.  I think that as with any dystopian, steam punk, zombie type book a bit of suspended disbelief must be employed.

I still have to admit that I have a very hard time viewing zombies in any sort of romantic lens…so that part of the story fell a bit flat for me….though I loved the deeper issues that the “romance” allowed the characters and therefore the reader to explore.

All in all an enjoyable read but I am not 100% sure I will pick up book 2 in the series.

Was It Worth My Time?

3.5 Timepieces

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3 responses to “Book Review: Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration #1) by Lia Habel

  1. This was my first zombie read, and I loved it. I have re-read this 4 or 5 times already — maybe I have a bit of 2nd book fear, because I still haven’t picked up the sequel, although it’s sitting very accusingly on my shelf, but there’s always something else for me to get to first.

    While you disliked the multiple PoVs, I thought it was awesome to get the story from so many angles, since I liked all the characters and with that apocalypse starting in the city — with both Bram and Nora on the outside rescue party — how to better get it across? Anyways, loved the characters, loved the science, loved the fun in the bickering, and I could even get a little into the romance, although I agree with you on the weirdness — zombies and romance just doesn’t work so well in my brain, either. ^^
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