Title: Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration #2)
Author: Lia Habel
From Goodreads: "Can the living coexist with the living dead?
That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.
Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.
Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.
As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.
Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling."
My Opinion: Dearly, Departed was one of my favorite books from last year so I was really psyched to get approved by NetGalley for Dearly, Beloved, and I wasn't disappointed. D,B picks up a few months after where we left off at the end of D,D, with the zombies now out in the open and everyone trying to find a way to live together. Well, not quite everyone - there's still a lot of anti-zombie prejudice going on, even though the zombies who are trying to find a way to live in the real world are for the most part high functioning and have retained most of their intelligence from before they were turned. In other words, they're not the ones who will chase you down and eat your brains for fun! Unfortunately, these same high functioning zombies are being kidnapped off the streets by a mysterious group of bird mask wearing humans for God only knows what reason. There is also a new strain of the Laz that the vaccine doesn't protect against, so all told, there's a lot going on in New Victoria!
This book, like the last, is told through multiple POVs, with some new ones mixed in with the old. There are six POVs altogether, belonging to Nora, Bram, Pamela, Michael, Vespertine, and Laura - perhaps my favorite new character! Laura is a zombie who tries to deal with the fact that her body is dead and decaying by planting flowers directly into her skin, so that they grow and blossom all over her body! The way that she manages to find something beautiful in the midst of all of the violence and death that surrounds her is very endearing.
Although I enjoyed this installment in the Gone with the Respiration series, I didn't feel that it was as good as Dearly, Departed was, and I think that's because there was just too much going on, which is strange because I also felt that the book started off rather slow and took a while to gain momentum. That being said, I thought the story flowed rather well once it took off. I really enjoyed the continuation of the love story between Nora and Bram, and I thought having Pam deal with PTSD following everything that happened to her in the first book was a great addition to the story. It showed a strength in her that I hope will continue to grow in the next book.
All told, I'm giving Dearly, Beloved 4 stars and I'm really looking forward to reading book 3 when it comes out to see what fresh hell the amazing Ms. Habel has in store for one of my favorite couples :D