Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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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.
Nora is a really fabulous MC to get to know. She has a very kick butt attitude and she's not afraid to put herself out there and make things happen. She's fiercely loyal to her best friend, despite their social difference. After she's kidnapped, I appreciated her fear and caution--signs of an authentic character who can't easily accept the things going on around her--as well as her boldness and honesty. I've been a tough sell on good characters lately, but Nora is definitely at the top of my list as an enjoyable, authentic heroine.
Nora wasn't the only character that I loved in this book either. Bram is absolutely wonderful. Chas, Tom, and Ren are a fantastic cast of side characters with well-defined personalities and roles. Dr. Dearly himself is sharp as a tack. Wolfe is the ultimate villan. Overall, this was a whole cast of characters that I found myself attached to. I honestly cared about what happened to each and every one of them.
The writing in this book is phenomenal. You will be pulled into this foreign world and you'll honestly feel at home. Ms. Habel's writing is beautifully descriptive without being completely overbearing. She gives the reader a perfect sense of this futuristic "New Victorian" world and its oddities without ever making it feel like an info dump. She had me mesmerized. Like I said, the beginning may have been a tad slow for me as you're getting to know the world and the characters, but when it takes off, it will take you on quite the wild ride. Be prepared for action and adventure, zombies, and a romance that swept me off my feet. I'll be anxiously waiting for book #2, Dearly, Beloved.