Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration, #2)

Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration, #2)Author: Lia Habel
Series: Gone With the Respiration
Release date: September 25th 2012
Publisher: Del Rey
Buy: The Book Depository

This summer has been full sequels that outshined their predecessors. Dearly, Beloved is one of them. Not only is it funnier, better thought-out and better written than Dearly, Departed, it also affected me more strongly. The plot is well-planned and well-executed and it finally gave this series a much needed direction it lacked in the first book.

Strangely enough, I originally gave Dearly, Beloved three starts, but, upon further consideration, I decided it deserved more. Lia Habel has enormous talent for worldbuilding, and she is quite good at creating vivid imagery and leaving a strong impression on her readers. The secondary and even tertiary characters she introduced aren’t lacking in detail or in color – from the zombie girl who grows flowers in her rotting body to our dear, headless doctor Samedi, they are all both interesting and entirely unforgettable. As for the main characters, they all changed significantly, some for the better, and some (like Pamma) not. Once again, Habel doesn’t shy away from gory details. Some of the descriptions in Dearly, Beloved are utterly disgusting (and infinitely thrilling, of course). It is through blood and rotten body parts that she breathed life into her world and made it stand apart.

The only thing I can’t seem to get used to is the number of perspectives. There are even more this time: Nora and Bram of course, Pamela, but also Michael, Vespertine, Coalhouse and a newly introduced character, Laura (the zombie flower girl). All of them undoubtedly contributed something significant and as hard as I try, I honestly can’t come up with another way to tell the same story, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t feel disjointed at times.

Romance, however, is what really brought me to my knees. I expected it to be lovely after Dearly, Departed, but I didn’t expect such sweetness and maturity. Nora and Bram face everything together, they understand each other perfectly. Nothing can keep these two apart, they love each other as openly and honestly as they can, aware that time is quickly running out for Bram. And yet, even with time in mind, they (mostly) uphold the rules of propriety, they are both bold and respectful at the same time and this balance they constantly maintain is quite beautiful.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Dearly, Departed, but everything changed with this book. I can’t wait to read more.


  1. Your blog is absolutely stunning! I am yet to read Dearly Departed, but I have been wanting to for some time. Going ot have to get my hands on these soon!!

  2. I have both of these books for review and I am anxious to read them a girl zombie who grows flowers out of her body now that sounds fun! I read countless reviews complaining about the five POVs in the first book so .i am suprised that she added even more! Yikes! I know that I will love the world building and details! Glad this exceeded expectations!

  3. Great review Maja. It's a pity about so many POV's, I can't even remember off hand now who Michael and Vespertine are (head like a sieve sometimes lol) but I loved Dearly, Departed so I really hope I'm able to pick up where I left off despite the many POV's and my bad memory :)

  4. Oh I'm even more excited to read this one now. Though I'm a bit disappointed about all the POV's. That was my biggest complaint about the first one. They didn't all seen needed and spread the story out too much. But glad to hear it's worth the effort.

  5. I LOVED Dearly, Departed and Dearly, Beloved
    Just like you, I agree that the second book is much better. Some of the reviewers think that 6 POVs is confusing but I didn't mind at ALL.
    The thing that I liked most about Dearly, Beloved was the romance between Coalhouse and Laura. It was so different and it looked like a love-hate relationship.
    I can't wait for book three to come out!
    Great review....
    Your constant reader,

  6. Beautifully reviewed, Maja! I'm reading this at the moment actually, but it isn't working out for me, unfortunately. :( I do still have a soft spot for Bram and Nora, but the rest of it has failed to capture enough of my interest. I think the many POVs may be responsible for that.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this in the end! It's nice to hear your thoughts. :)

  7. Wow, I'm SO glad you liked this one, Maja! I've been thinking about reading Dearly, Departed for awhile, but I started to see some disappointed reviews of this one and decided the series wasn't worth the time, but I think I shall reconsider now. I think the romance sounds beautiful and any book that makes you consider its rating again is always one I've found is very good. Lovely review, Maja! :)

    P.S. - Someday you're going to have to tell me what your name means. I LOVE it and I keep thinking to ask you and then I forget and it's just beautiful! :D

    1. Oops, I didn't mean forgetting was beautiful! I meant your name is beautiful but I keep forgetting to ask you what it means!

  8. The romance in this book sounds like something that I would really appreciate, it's a shame I still haven't picked up the first book yet ;/ But you're right a lot of second books in series' are outshining the first books which makes me so happy! Another beautiful review hun! :)

  9. I'm not going to read this because I haven't read the first and I plan on reading it soon. Nice to see the 4 stars, though. :)

  10. I've been reading a lot of mixed thoughts on this one, but I'm glad you liked it! The number of perspectives was something that bothered me about the first book too, but I agree with what you said in your review...the world-building is just so great!

    Feels like I haven't talked to you in forever, Maja! I guess things have been pretty crazy, what with grad school and teaching and everything. But it's going well! I just miss the book blogosphere. :)

  11. Marvelous review, Maja! I'll admit, I wasn't planning on reading this book because of the mediocre reviews of Dearly, Departed (even though I love zombies and the victorian era, and when the two come together? *swoon*) But anyways, I think I may have to reconsider my decision! This book sounds fantastic and the first sound fantastic.

  12. Hmmm, the reviews I've seen of this one up to now said it paled in comparison to the first book. I wonder if it matters how you felt about the first one? Anyway, you've given me a bit of hope back!

  13. I am really glad you enjoyed this, this one fell really short of my expectations. My review will post next Monday. I do think the romance was sweet though. Fantastic review!

  14. I finally, finally, finally got my own copy of this! It took forever to ship... I can't wait to read it, but at the same time I'm scared. I have the certainty that this series will bring me to my knees. That it'll be one of those stories where I end up bawling my eyes out. As you point out, the romance is so touching, beautiful...

    After your review, I'm even more excited and worried about this read!


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