NetGalley has the author of Dearly, Departed as LISA Habel, but I'll go out on a limb and bet the novel's lovely and dark cover has the right of it with LIA. You with me?
Mulitple author identities aside, I greatly enjoyed my first encounter with a Habel work. Released just this month, Dearly, Departed (yes, comma intentional) encompasses the stories of a group of people, chaptered through their individual viewpoints, which range from disenfranchised post-apocalyptic "New Victorian" misses who miss natural propriety by a wide margin, all the way to military-approved and maintained undead with more heart (even if its entirely static) than the average high-class NV resident, with several types of character between.
So what happens if the world goes to hell in a natural-disaster-fiber-woven basket? It seems people regroup in more southerly climes, and a couple centuries later nothing really changes . . . well, except for The Lazarus (or Laz) virus. The world still experiences class disparity, disagreements in political strategy, and disputes regarding the place of technology. The world is the world.
At least, until Miss Nora Dearly--daughter of famed medical scientist Victor Dearly, deceased for the past year--becomes the Winner's prize between two contestants: First, the folks who know about the Lazarus virus, which reanimates a dead body to varying degrees of sanity and retained humanity, and want the government and someday the world to differentiate between the slobbering masses of undead only concerned seeing to their cannibalistic drives and the undead perfectly capable of controlling themselves, possessed of their "living days" personalities and restraints.
Secondly, the folks who know of the Laz, and want every single body infected with it torched in the nearest available fashion, regardless of mental or moral state.
Nora is important to both factions. Nora is a key piece of flesh in the fight.
In a time when the Laz rages from person to person via bodily fluids, threatening all humanity, Nora Dearly, brave, feisty, hot-tempered, and open-minded, and much-loved--eventually by the dead and alive alike . . .
Nora Dearly is immune.
I had some minor gripes with this YA novel (somewhat slow, clunky beginning; somewhat rushed, abrupt end--though being the first of a trilogy, that must be given some leeway; and a couple too-close-to-the-line Twilight-esque moments), but all-in-all the book engaged me enough, I didn't mind. I truly enjoyed reading the book. I connected with the characters, which I feel were well-developed and 3D, including the secondary characters. The bonds between the love interests rang true, as did the familial bonds, and the bonds between close friends. I totally bonded with their bonds, and that's reason for high praise from me.
Was Dearly, Departed perfect? No. Was it worth buying (even though I was lucky enough to have access to free copy)? Yes. If you don't have the cash right now, get it from your library. It's a nice escape, without being too fluffy. Not a beach read, take it with white chocolate cocoa and your Snuggie.