Friday, February 1, 2013

Review: Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion

Book: Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion
Release Date: 26 Apr 2011
Publisher: Atria
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia, Zombies
Summary: 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. Just 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 burst of vibrant color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that R lives in. 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.
Buy It: Paperback or Kindle eBook

Review: The beginning of Marion's Warm Bodies is incredibly funny if you enjoy slightly geeky zombie jokes. I found them to be clever and used at opportune times but they are cheesy. I wasn't expecting R to be quite this clever, what with being a zombie and all. However, his offbeat personality worked really well for me and I thought it was a great way to make a zombie book unique as opposed to the over-the-top humor of classics gone zombie or complete gorefests like Walking Dead.

Sometimes I wonder if he has a philosophy. Maybe even a worldview. I’d like to sit down with him and pick his brain, just a tiny bite somewhere in the frontal lobe to get a taste of his thoughts.

I didn't like the addition of Perry's character. I understand Perry's existence was necessary to the story for how R could save Julie, grow emotionally and come to love her, and eventually become more than Dead but I felt like he damped my enjoyment of the story. Warm Bodies has chunks of his memories and, while reading them, I found myself caring less for R. If the memories had started later in the story it probably would have worked better for me because the Perry memories damaged my connection to R really early on and I never truly cared for him after that. Later on Julie confesses to R some of the bad things Perry has done but all it did was make me dislike Perry, my attitude towards R unchanged. The memories of Perry continued on throughout the novel and soon dream conversations between R and Perry began too.

Violence, language, sex etc in books doesn't bother me and I felt it was generally well used in Warm Bodies. How can you have a zombie book without violence? That said, I do feel it's necessary to mention in my review of Warm Bodies that it had way more of that type content than I expected if you're going to consider it a young adult novel. I did some looking around and many websites seem to classify it as one and based on the film trailer I has assumed it was a YA novel. Atria is considered an adult imprint as far as I'm aware though. The romance between R and Julie portion of Warm Bodies is suited to a young adult novel. I'll let you decide on the rest though... The quote below isn't necessarily the 'most adult' moment, it was simply the one where I really made myself check to see what genre this book was written under.

It’s still night, and I can hear my wife having sex with her new lover behind the door of a nearby staff room. I try to ignore them. I already walked in on them once today. I heard noises, the door was wide open, so I walked in. There they were, naked, awkwardly slamming their bodies together, grunting and groping each other’s pale flesh. He was limp. She was dry.

I enjoyed the story line for Warm Bodies but I don't think I ever really grew to feel anything for its characters. I will definitely be reading The New Hunger, a prequel novella, as soon as I can though. I'm very intriguing to find out more about R before the events of Warm Bodies.

Boarded Window, a short story available online through City Arts Online, added some extra information about R. It's too short to review on its own though. Boarded Window talked about memories, R's first winter, becoming a zombie etc. Warm Bodies didn't answer much of anything about R's human life or how he came to be so I enjoyed the brief glimpse Boarded Window brought.

Rating: 3 Bites (Good)

Book Trailer

Film Trailer

What did you think of Warm Bodies (book or movie)? Link me your review or leave your thoughts in a comment!
Do you think the actors selected accurately represent how you pictured R, Julie, Nora etc? Hoult for R seems a little off to me but maybe it's the red hoodie they've got him in instead of his suit and tie.
Are you planning on reading The New Hunger? (A prequel novella to Warm Bodies that was just released on Zola)


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