Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review - Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1)
by Isaac Marion
Date: 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Reading level: NA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 240
Format: e-book
Source: Amazon

'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight...

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I heard of Warm Bodies when the movie came out, but I didn't realize that the film was based on a book of the same name.  After having mixed feelings about my first zombie read (The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan) and an ultra-negative reaction to my second (Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick), I wasn't sure if I wanted to go for a third.  But I saw it mentioned positively in a few places around the book-blogging world, so I thought I'd have a look.  After reading the preview on, I was hooked; I don't think I could've not bought the book at that point.

I read it in two sittings, which is a rarity for me.  And you know what?  I absolutely loved this book.  Sure, there were some niggling little things like Julie's messenger bag (she always seemed to have it, even at the most unlikely times... and its purpose was seemingly only to carry her asthma inhaler), but I can forgive those sorts of things in this case because the writing and the characters totally make up for it.  I haven't read a book where the main character had such a distinctive, eloquent voice in a long time... and the fact that said character was a zombie made it all the more awesome.  R was so unlike any other zombie I've read about (and that's kind of the point of the whole book).  He's not a mindless, expendable, shuffling specimen of the dead; at least, he doesn't want to be.  The contrast between his inner life and story narration with his grim exterior that can barely string four words together was done so poetically that I couldn't help falling in love with the character.  What does that say about me that my first literary crush in a long time is on a zombie?

I can't say too much about the plot without straying into spoiler territory, and I wouldn't want to rob anyone of the pleasure of reading this one for themselves.  There's action, there's some gore (but, thankfully, not too much), there's romance, there are some deep thoughts about human nature... and Isaac Marion has done a great job of wrapping them all up in a highly enjoyable story.

All in all, it was a surprisingly well-done novel that I would recommend to anyone who thinks it might be their cup of tea.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Pace: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Editing: 4/5
Originality: 5/5
Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.71 out of 5

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