Friday, October 21, 2011

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Book Details
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Hardcover, 256 Pages
2011, Atria Books
ISBN: 1439192316

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.

Warm Bodies is an absolutely stunning zombie novel that mixes creature horror with human emotion seamlessly. As authors try to get creative with the current "it" monsters, it can be hit or miss. The most recent trend in zombie horror is instilling awareness and other "living" attributes to zombies. This is definitely a risk, but Isaac Marion does just that with such compelling detail that Warm Bodies can only be classified as pure win.

Apparently, when zombies eat brains, they get flashes of their victim's memories. R goes one step further. When he eats a teen boys brain, he not only gets the boys memories, but also starts to fall in love with his girlfriend. R has kidnapped Julie, the girlfriend, and as he spends time with her, he starts being able to speak better and doesn't have to eat people as much.

The story is kind of two fold. On the one hand, we have R falling in love with a living girl. One who doesn't just run away screaming in horror. On the other hand, we have R evolving into something more than just your average zombie. R's budding romantic feelings are bizarre, but in a good way. His evolution is both entertaining and manages to make the romantic angle of the story a little more possible and a little less ludicrous. And that's the real impressing thing about Warm Bodies. The entire story should seem just plain ridiculous. But it isn't. It works. And it's pretty much fabulous.

Warm Bodies is different. It makes zombies seem new again. It makes you root for the zombie, makes you want him to get the girl (not in an eat her brains sort of way) and shows us that gore and love can go hand in hand while being much less disturbing than you're imagining right now.


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