I enjoyed this book. I really did. I mean, it had all the ingredients for a book I would truly enjoy: Zombies, action, steampunk. However, as much as I enjoyed it, I felt that it dragged on for a little bit longer than it should have. The writing is superb and the plot is engaging though. Nora is a girl who is alive and has no knowledge of what is going on beyond the walls of the Victorian-esque era city she lives in. All she knows is what she sees on the news which is what the government wants her to know. War is imminent against the Punks, a rebellious group dead-set against the Victorian lifestyle, and death is nearer than Nora realizes.
Even within the dead war is spreading because not all the dead are vicious. Yes, they are all zombies, but there is a group of zombies that has managed to hold on to their faculties and their personality and are able to control themselves around those who are alive. They are led by Nora's father, Dr. Dearly, who is dead, but not buried as Nora believed him to be. Together they try to keep the Grays in check, the other side of the coin, the zombies that haven't managed to hold on to themselves and instead hunger for human flesh. Bram Griswold is a soldier at Company Z, the group of zombies that are on the good side.
The dynamic between Nora and Bram is fantastic. These two actually get to know each other before their love story sprouts. Nora is terrified of him at the beginning because he is, you know, dead after all. She doesn't trust him and Bram has to genuinely earn her trust little by little. The same happens with the rest of the zombies in Company Z. You get to hear about their individual stories, of how they died and reanimated, and who they were before all of that happened. I really liked that about this book, that you really get to know the characters.
Where it fell flat for me was toward the end. I felt that the last scenes with Nora's best friend, Pam, were kind of long and didn't make much sense to me. I think overall I just didn't like Pam as a character. I felt that although she did things that were brave, inside she was a coward. She didn't believe in herself and it showed, she really just wanted to copy Nora, be just like her, a fact that she attests to at the end of the book. I thought she was pretty boring, but that may be just my personal opinion though. The book is also about a 100 pages longer than most YA books I've read lately.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and liked 99% of the characters in it and their stories. I think my favorite character, besides the main characters of course, was Chas. A female zombie, another soldier at Company Z, who I wouldn't mind being friends with. She was interesting, brave, and was very funny. I gave this book 3 stars because I enjoyed this book, despite my gripe with that one character. The ending is pretty surprising and I do intend to read the next book in the series because I just have to know what happens next.
(Originally reviewed at JJiReads.blogspot.com)