Dearly, Departed, by Lia Habel – my Goodreads review

A wonderful entry into the Pride& Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter style of books – this one is from about 200 years in the future, after Yellowstone blows it’s top, wars and fighting break out, and the world moves south. After the ravages of that time, the leaders looked for a model of growth, prosperity, manners, and family,and they decided on a Neo-Victorian age to emulate. The women are wearing the clothing of the time, compete to the bloomers, and the better off ones attend fashionable boarding schools, are instructed in the ladylike pursuits, and trained to be a debutante. Then the season is upon them, and their goal – a husband. But during the middle of her last year, our intrepid heroine is thrown into a wild adventure. One day on her way home, a man comes shuffling up to her, wrapped up so she can’t see his face, and tells her she is in danger and to come with him. Frightened she runs off, but later, she is attacked in her home that night, and she flees across the rooftop, shooting several of her would-be captors and is helped by these masked men from earlier. They tell her that she is in danger, and they will take her somewhere safe. She arrives at a military base of operations, sacred out of her mind. Her father is dead, a year ago, her mother died several years ago, and she had ben living with her aunt. Now she is held semi-captive at a remote army base, where the army fights the “Punks” who live in south America.

Technology still exists in some forms – balloon to ride in, with engines, cell phones, holographic screens, and various other technologies that were able to be saved and scavenged from the ruined ice-covered cities to the north. What she discovers next, to her horror at first, is the best part – a young soldier sets him self up to explain to her, slowly, what is going on and to get her to trust him. Setbacks along the way as she learns the truth of her situation and the situation surrounding her city, add fuel to the fire, but she is a feisty young girl, and soon is able to process the enormity of it and get one with the business. Who, what, where is left for you to find out in this and the next book, Dearly, Beloved.

My flaws are few – I enjoyed this one too much not to give it full accolades, but I would have liked to see more of the world-building he did before jumping into the adventure, and I’d like to know a little more about how they have cell phones which must need cell phone towers, and some TV, but not much electric lighting, etc. Some inconstancies there that could be explained away (Steampunk abounds with them – sort of take it as it is attitude of the authors). But the humor, the fun, the absolute hilarity of the premise is terrific. Romance abounds for her, and her best friend left in the city who is battling her own demons from all sources – her family, society, and somehow something else. But all is well that ends well, or does it? Find out for yourself, and be prepared to chuckle.

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