Review - Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
*Debut Novel*
Publisher: Atria
Publication Date: 26 April 2011
Genre: YA Zombie Horror
My Copy: library - hardback

R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

This book was a unique and fantastic read. The question the book seems to be asking is what is life? Does R have a life? R is a zombie with feelings and intelligent thought. That alone makes him unique in the realm of zombie novels and movies. He has no pulse, but he contemplates his existence. He listens to music and seems to enjoy art. The zombies have a culture of their own with a religion and a legal system of sorts. Do the humans who live in the stadium have a life? They live day to day just trying to survive. They aren't really improving their lives. They aren't trying to find a cure anymore. They are just trying not to die. Julie is a bit different from the average person in the stadium. She collects artwork (like Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory) and reads books. It is definitely an interesting and thought provoking book.

The plot is unique although it is not the only zombie book with this theme running through it. The pacing is fairly even with only a few spots where I had to force myself to not skip forward. The story has enough small conflicts to keep the book moving forward to the larger climax. The climax did seem a little rushed, and some of the things surrounding R and Julie and also the Boneys are never explained. The ending does not imply any sort of sequel which is probably for the best, so you just have to make a few assumptions. It's interesting to be inside R's mind. He's a very insightful and lovable character. Perry's thoughts provide the dark, realistic human perspective on the world while still somehow maintaining an edge of hope. Julie provides the lighter side of the book. She's hard and has been through a lot, yet she's incredibly vulnerable, forgiving, and hopeful. She's brave and has a lot of spunk.

On a final note, I will say that sometimes this book seemed like a YA novel and at other times I doubted that label. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good zombie book or who likes to read books which question the meaning of life. The film is supposed to come out August 10th.

Book Beginning:
I am dead, but it's not so bad. I've learned to live with it.

Favorite Quotes:
"You haven't been here long enough. You grew up in a safe place. You don't understand the dangers."
Dark feelings flood my belly at this, but I manage to hold my tongue. I don't know the pain she's speaking from, but I know it's deep. It makes her hard and yet so terribly soft. It's her thorns and it's her hand reaching out from the thicket. -pg 111

"There is no benchmark for how life's 'supposed' to happen, Perry. There is no ideal world for you to wait around for. The world is always just what it is now, and it's up to you how you respond to it." -pg 113

Rating Breakdown:
Plot: 5 hearts
Pacing: 4 hearts
Characters: 5 hearts
Character Relationships: 5 hearts
Ending: 4 hearts
Recommend: Absolutely!

Read for these challenges:
YA Literature
12 Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic
A to Z
100+ Books


Stephanie said...

I enjoyed this one, too, but agree that I don't think it's a YA novel at all. It has more of a literary vibe than a YA one.

Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting

La Coccinelle said...

Yay! My favourite zombie novel. Okay, so it's really the only zombie novel I've liked so far. But I do love this book. (I think it's more "New Adult" than "Young Adult", given the ages of the characters. In any case, it kind of overlaps the age groups; it's a good read for teens or adults.)

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