Posted on Book Chelle.I haven't read that many steampunk novels, nor have I read that many stories about zombies, so my knowledge of either subjects is pretty non-existent. I was lucky enough to receive a copy and immediately, the cover AND title sparked my interest. Lia Habel's Dearly, Departed is a wonderful world that adds beautiful imagery and creepy zombies into a dystopian world. It's an absolute terrific story filled with context, emotions, and depth.The story begins with Nora Dearly, who lives in the year 2195; in a world where society has readopted the ways of the Victorian era. It has been a year since her father has died, and the only family left is her aunt. After a world-changing catastrophe, the people of the North America has migrated towards South America, dubbing the reconstructed government New Victoria. The citizens are identified and tracked with ID chips, and knowledge is spread through holographic technology.But alas, the people ride carriages, wear Victorian fashion, and are cordial to their neighbors. The citizens of New Victoria are split between the Victorians and the Punks. In Habel's world, they are engaged in a civil war. The streets are patrolled, for it isn't safe anymore. But little do the citizens know, it isn't the Punks that are responsible for death.Nora's world is different from the life of Bram Griswold. Bram is a sixteen year-old captain of the Z army. He saves Nora from an invasion of crazed zombies, revealing himself to her as one of the more civilized and less crazed zombies. Bram explains the details of his world versus the others. He tells her about the Lazarus virus and the part that her father played. Slowly, Nora's world unravels with one simple secret.Steampunk + Zombies = Awesome.The world that was built and the characters that I was introduced to were my favorite things about this book. It has a Romeo and Juliet feel, but with zombies. Unrequited love...you know things like that. It wasn't about a choice between two love interests. Instead, it was about the unconditional love that one has for another person. Whether it be between Nora and Bram or between family members, Habel shows the intricate levels and types of love between two people.Habel also talks about acceptance through out the book. Punks versus Royals and the Grays versus the Red lights. While yes, acceptance could coincide with love, Habel does a great job discussing about society in a micro and macro capacity. I won't go into a school lesson blurb, but let me just say it fascinated me so much.There were some parts of the book that I questioned and others where I hoped were explained a little more. Dearly, Departed took me into a fantastic world that I could never imagine and Habel guided me into the wonderful world of zombies. This was such a great read. I highly suggest this to everyone. It was beautiful.