Title: Warm Bodies
Author: Isaac Marion
Released: 28th October 2010
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
It's no secret that I am a massive fan of zombie books. I love them. Seriously. And then to find out that there's a book in the point of view of one?? Hell, yes. Where is this book and why don't I have it now? And then I got it. And then I read it. And then oh. My. God. This book is amazing. Isaac Marion truly astounded me in the direction he took this book.
R doesn't remember anything of his past life. As a zombie, all his memories have long since faded away and even his name is non-existent; all he can remember is that it may have started with an 'R'. His days are spent killing people for food, and in between that not really doing much of anything. Unlike the other zombies, however, he doesn't enjoy killing people. He prefers instead to listen to the likes of Frank Sinatra, and ride the escalators when the electricity comes on in the airport a lot of them are living in. But when a group of them go out in search of food one day, he sees her. Julie. For some reason she stands out to him, and he's reluctant to harm her. Eating the brain of the guy she loved, R experiences some unusually vivid memories and his feelings for Julie gradually intensify.
Normally when I write a review, I have the book here with me. Unfortunately it had to go back to the library, otherwise I would have shared a couple of quotes with you that showed the kind of dry humour Warm Bodies is full of. I loved the opening especially for this aspect, the way zombie life was depicted. It was amusing to see how casually R described things like the way the zombies stood around and groaned a lot, and what they ate and how. The way in which Marion has intertwined humour with the more gruesome is wonderfully expert. The idea of R occasionally eating a piece of Perry's - the guy Julie used to be with - cerebrum is somewhat disturbing actually thinking about, but in the book it doesn't necessarily come across this way. The zombie world created here is completely different to anything else you might find in this genre. You have Boneys, zombies who are purely skeleton and particularly sinister, and fleshies. I think the name speaks for itself. And the ending of the book is one you absolutely would never have guessed.
Reading from R's perspective was incredible. It was funny, it was serious, it was complex. It's weird to say, but as a zombie he was very likeable. He was still trying to hold onto some semblance of humanity. His mind doesn't work as one might think it does, and viewing Perry's memories and thoughts through him was an exceptionally interesting experience. The romance between R and Julie is also very endearing. Just the thought of a human and a zombie in a relationship seems fairly absurd, not to mention perhaps a little cringe-worthy, but actually it really works here. I loved seeing Julie come to accept him and open up to him more and more. As a character, she herself was also very likeable. Julie's tough and independent, and you can't help but feel for the way she's lost the people closest to her - and I don't mean physically. Yes, Perry died, but even beyond that, both her dad and Perry changed a lot because of their experiences, leaving Julie trying to fight on her own.
Warm Bodies is more complex than I can really explain to you, and there's a significant amount I can't reveal because of spoilers. But Isaac Marion has come up with a truly unique world and storyline. I think in a way the ending could have been wrapped up to make it a stand-alone, but nevertheless I'm looking forward to the sequel. I loved seeing all the elements of zombie life that R described, from marriage and family life - that part kind of bewildered me in terms of his actual experience - to eating and just generally passing the time. After reading this and watching the trailer, which I found hilarious, I desperately want to go and see the movie at some point, which hopefully I will. If you haven't read this yet, you need to grab yourself a copy ASAP.