This book gave me nightmares. Seriously, I have been dreaming about flesh-eating human-beings the whole night, and every single time I woke up, I would fall back asleep and go right back into that dream. And a book that gave me nightmares would normally deserve five stars.
Unfortunately, I cannot give Dearly, Departed five stars. And that is due to one major flaw. I know that a lot of other reviewers has noted upon this flaw, so it will probably just be repetition, but it is the narration. I had moments where I had a hard time figuring out what exactly was going on due to the PoW changing ever so often. There are a total of five different PoWs: Nora, Bram, Pamela, Victor and Wolfe, and it just made the novel so confusing for me. It also slowed down the pace, and even though the beginning of each chapter stated from whose perspective it was told, I sometimes had to go back to check who it was again I was following.
However, with that major flaw out of the way, I want to say that I really, really did enjoy this novel. The characters were quirky and had their own personalities and their own way of interacting. I didn't really like Nora in the beginning, but after the book picked up pace, and she started showing real spunk, I started to get attached to her. She was a fun, nice, spunky girl, and she was indeed a kick-ass heroin who wouldn't take no for an answer. She is very self-conscious and sometimes worries about things that should be in the past, but she also know when to step forward and take action. She also has a fun way of narrating that mixes wonderful language with humor, and made me actually believe in the victorian setting. Then there's Bram, whom I also really liked. When I got over the fact that he was a zombie though I never got over the fact that a human and a zombie had a love-affair, I don't think I ever will I really started to like him. His narration was cute, and he had just that perfect line between spunky, humility and adorable, that made his narration so easy to read. He was probably the character I preferred the most to be in the head of. If this novel had just been from those two's point of view, or even just with fewer narrations from Pamela and Victor (because I do understand why those two points of narration were important, I just think it should have been done differently since it changed the whole pacing and made the reader have to stop up and rethink about what happened last time we saw that character).
And yes, I have already said that I really liked the language, but I am going to say it again, because Lia Habel really does know how to write. Sure, there were a few things that could have been touched up, but really, it was nothing major. Instead, I found myself rather enjoying the language and really falling in step with the descriptions. She has a wonderful way of writing that just captured my attention and did not want to let me go again.
And then there is the whole theme! I personally love steampunk. Not as in steampunk books, because I do actually believe that this was my first steampunk book, but the whole look of it is just wonderful, and I truly would like to read more books in that genre. It was so well-done and felt so well-researched.
I am definitely buying the next book, Dearly, Beloved, and I do hope that the PoW problems will have been solved in that one, but even if it is not, I will hopefully still fully enjoy it. This book was enjoyable, and I do recommend it to people who want to read a good dystopian, steampunk, zombie book.