Book Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Posted September 15, 2011 by Sara | Novel Novice 3 Comments

When you hear “zombie book,” the next logical categorization isn’t usually “romance.” But that’s exactly what you’ll find within the pages of Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion — a heartwarming zombie romance. Really.

The book follows R, a zombie with no memory of his past life and a conscious that battles with his innate need to feed on human flesh. His shuffling existence is changed irrevocably, however, when he experiences the memory of young man while feasting on his brain — and ends up rescuing the dead guy’s human girlfriend. This decision sparks a series of events that will change not only R and the girls’ life, but maybe the whole zombie-infested world.

Warm Bodies is an unbelievably sweet story, written beautifully. At times, it is equally charming, funny and sad.

The writing itself is impeccable, and at times, I found myself simply marveling over Marion’s gift for phrasing, with passages such as:

I am dead, but it’s not so bad. I’ve learned to live with it.

Or:

I long for exclamation marks, but I’m drowning in ellipses.

Likewise, Marion masterfully makes a character who feasts on human brains sympathetic and lovable. R is unlike any other hero I’ve encountered in fiction, and it’s delightful getting inside his head and following his determined steps towards something more. He’s not what you’d expect from a romantic lead or a hero, but that’s what makes his story all the more compelling.

Isaac Marion has shaken the foundation of what it means to write a story about love and a story about zombies. Warm Bodies is a genre all its own. Between the brilliant writing, characters with rooting for, unexpected twists and turns, and a heartwarming message, this book will have you cheering R along from start to finish.

Warm Bodies is in stores now, and is being adapted into a major motion picture from Summit Entertainment, starring Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer.

Here is the official synopsis:

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, no identity, 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 strangely 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.

Sara | Novel Novice
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