Release Date: October 18, 2011
Random House ~ Del Ray
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.
You're just going to have to trust me that no matter how the description sounds, this book works SO well. The concept of romance, zombies, and a Victorian setting in the future just seemed like a bit... much. Now, this was my first zombie book but I think I've successfully been bitten by them and I'm not complaining ;)
Reasons to Read:
- The setting itself:
This whole world is so entirely creative and different that it's a reason all on its own. I've long been enamoured with anything Victorian (well, almost anything) so I really appreciated how Lia Habel was able to bring various Victorian aspects into her world, and provide reasons for doing so. The history of the future, post-apocolyptic New Victoria is so rich and vibrant, that you almost find it hard to believe that it didn't happen. And I, for one, can't wait for more Dearly books so that we can learn more about this incredible place.
- A dashing, young zombie:
Bet you never thought you'd put those words together, did you? But it's TRUE! Bram is one of my favourite YA boys EVER- he's so kindhearted, and for someone whose dead there's something incredibly warm and inviting about him. At risk of being eaten, I'd get to know him too. Plus, he has all his limbs. Point for Bram! But really, it was his kindness and thoughtfulness that drew me in. Bram's worth the read just because he proves that not all YA boys need to come from the same archetype.
- Superb writing:
Lia is a wonderful writing; she's able to accurately capture the ambience of a neo-Victorian society, while still including some badass fighting sequences, and describes some frightening aspects of the story (crucial to a zombie book) quite vivedly. Realistically paced development, and multiple POVs are some other examples of her skills as an author.
There's also a lot of information thrown at you in this book. Like I mentioned above, the history of New Victoria is incredibly detailed, along with the science of time which plays an integral part in the plot. But I do appreciate that Lia provides reasons for circumstances, even though there were times I found myself disappointed with the reasons (such as the main villain- he just seemed petty to me). There were other times when the actions of characters didn't seem to match up with their personalities, such as Vespertine Mink who seems to do a total 180 degree turn into someone new and unexpected.
I did have some problems with how the Victorian society played out as well, as there seemed to be some strange things they took from the era and reapplied to the New Victoria that didn't quite make sense, which included carrying over some of the same feelings of discrimination and status (like the place of women, for example). I found it hard to believe that people would CHOOSE to go back to that knowingly, a sentiment I was glad to see brought up by Bram at one point.
But overall, I thought the characters were very well done and complex. Nora was one of my favourites in particular, and I was pleased to see such a well developed protaganist. I not only sympathized with her, at times I really wanted to BE her. And wear all her fancy dresses and be as brave as she was.
I don't want to ramble on about this book anymore... but believe me that it's worth giving it a chance! I have a feeling you won't be disappointed by it.
e-galley received from publisher via netGalley in exchange for my honest review; no other compensation was received.