I absolutely loved the first book by Lia Habel Dearly, Departed and I really liked her second book in the Gone with the Respiration series, Dearly, Beloved as well! This series (and book) is extremely complicated, so I will try my best on this synopsis…
Nora and Bram know that everything is stacked against them: one is living, one is dead, the entire city hates the dead, and hates those who sympathize with them even more, plus there’s a group of zombies called the Changed that is producing a whole bunch of chaos for our favorite characters. Now a new bird-mask-wearing group, they call themselves the Murder, is out for blood, both zombie and human. When Nora, Bram, Pamela, and her family are attacked by this mysterious Murder, they can no longer ignore it. Nor can Michael Allister, considering he’s in it. He wants more than anything to kill Bram, who took Nora, whom Michael thought was rightfully his. He wanted to teach Nora a lesson and ultimately win her over. Only one other person knows: Vespertine Mink. She doesn’t like Nora, but their squabble was solely verbal, nothing as fatal as guns and knives. She needs to decide whether to help Michael and destroy Nora once and for all or to save Nora’s life, as well as that of countless others. Oh, and there’s a new strain of the Lazarus that can’t be prevented from the vaccine.
There’s SO MUCH MORE to this story, it’s not even funny. I just glossed over some of the huge concepts, but this book is over 520 pages and none of them are filler pages, so if you really want to know what happens, you have to read the book!
Now, for our female heroine: Nora. I loved Nora in the last book and she stays true in this one. She is filled with fire and she never plays the damsel in distress; she’s more like the knight in shining armor. She’s really smart; she’s actually the one that comes up with all of the plans and all the other people just follow her lead. Even when she is forced to hide from the world, she still finds useful things to do; she doesn’t just sit there and mope. She always puts herself in harm’s way to protect the ones she loves, but I don’t think she’s appreciated enough for it. Nora is one of my favorite heroines of all time and it actually makes sense that two guys are in love with her; she actually has a personality to fall in love with and she’s just awesome overall.
Bram, the hero, is also amazing. He’s really sweet and I feel like he understands his life well and without illusion; he knows that he doesn’t have long to live, so he’s living like every day is his last. That’s not to say that he does stupid things or acts impulsively, but he never lets an opportunity slip out of his fingers. He also doesn’t push Nora away even though he knows he won’t last forever. Traditionally, in YA, that would be seen as selfish, but that’s just stupid. It’s not selfish if the other person agrees and understands it too, okay YA? You hear me?? Anyway, I said before that Nora was more like a knight in shining armor, but I did not mean to infer that Bram was the princess (that’s Pam’s job, I think); they are both like knights in shining armor and they protect each other, which is the way it should be.
Now a sentence or two on each of the other narrators:
1. Michael: I couldn’t decide if he was sweet in a twisted way or just a creepy stalker. I opted for the second.
2. Pamela: She was kind of wimpy and annoying and I didn’t really like her that much; she was pretty drab. She was also stiff and not very likable (hence why I didn’t like her…).
3. Vespertine: She was just kind of there. She didn’t really play that big of a role in this story and I am indifferent about her. I don’t really understand why she was even a narrator…
4. Laura: A new narrator is introduced! I could see that her point of view was important, but she was really wimpy until the end, at which point I actually liked her.
Finally, the plot! I loved this book from beginning to end, except there was a bit of a lull in the middle of the book, but I got over that quite quickly. As I said before, this book is SO COMPLICATED. It’s really easy to keep everything straight while you’re reading it, but it’s really hard to tell someone what it’s about. There are so many facets to the story; it would be impossible to explain it all, or if you did, it would take until next Tuesday and no one wants to listen to someone ramble on for that long. Trust me. It is awesome in its complexity, though. It makes the story so interesting and I loved it! The only thing I didn’t love was the number of points of views and some of the narrators (*cough* PAM *cough*). There were six different points of views; that seems a little excessive, don’t you think? And it was a tad confusing at times, but mostly it was okay. I loved Bram and Nora’s points of views the best because they were awesome, but the other people were just okay.
THAT ENDING! I LOVED the ending of this book. It was the most adorable and sweetest thing I have ever seen/read (how should I word that?) and it was a slight cliffhanger, but it still left me satisfied… for now. But I still really want the next one to come out soon. It has not yet been announced that there will even be a next book, but with the ending, I think there will be. At least I hope so.