I have to start off by saying that this is one of the best books I have read recently and definitely my number one zombie book. The page count made be 470 but don't let that stop you because by the end you will be wishing it was longer. It is just that good.Lia Habel may be a debut author but from her writing you cannot tell. The book is beautifully written, full of lush descriptions, and a wonderful, unique world. Lia Habel doesn't shy away from dark things. Instead she takes them and makes the beautiful. I'm sure you will fall in love with her zombies, just like Nora (and I) did. The world Lia Habel creates is a very unique one. It is a futuristic world that's cultures revolve around the Victorian age. New London has very high tech gadgets but also historical standards such as chaperones, parasols, and dresses that cover every inch of skin. It seems rather odd at first but you are quickly given the history of New London and their customs begin to make sense.The characters, each and every one of them, were fabulous. Nora and Pamela and Chas and Beryl were all strong females that kicked some serious zombie ass. Bram was the sweetest, bravest, most conflicted zombie out there. Renfield, Coalhouse, Tom, Dr.Samedi, all the good zombies really were wonderful and unique and quite hilarious. I cannot express how much I loved them all.The plot was fast-paced and full of action (both romantic and of the zombie killing variety.) Interspersed throughout was some history of the characters but that did not slow things down at all. Another thing that kept it interesting was the switching point-of-views. You mainly get things from Nora and Bram but some of the other characters also get a few chapters. I really liked that about this book. Oh and the zombie killing action was rather gory at times but still totally awesome.Overall, Dearly, Departed is a must read for everyone, even if you don't particularly care for zombie books. I am now eagerly awaiting the sequel, Dearly, Beloved.