Habel’s series first, Dearly, Departed, created a realistic and exciting world with a swoon-worthy romance. Thus Dearly, Beloved had a lot to live up to, and it meets those high standards. The plot is addictive, the characters well rounded and realistic. Not many authors could make a post-apocalyptic world with New Victorian ideals and zombies seem real, but Habel manages just that.
Since the public of New Victoria became aware of “the Laz,” a disease that kills its host and reawakens it as a zombie, society has been torn in two: those who believe zombies should be killed and those fighting for zombie rights. A tenuous detente falls over society — until a zombie immune to the vaccine is discovered. Nora Dearly is still firmly pro-zombie, as she is in love with zombie Bram. Bram and his ex-army friends try to keep peace, handling the Changed, an extremist group of the dead fighting for survival, and the Murder, a group of living murdering the dead. Both groups have one target in common: Nora. (DEL REY, Oct., 496 pp., $16.99, ISBN: 9780345523341, HC, 12 & Up)