There has been a recent surge in Zombie Apocalypse books recently, and I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. When I read the blurb for WARM BODIES, I thought, ok, zombie love story? This doesn't sound too horror/creepy. I'll give it a try. It also didn't hurt that Stephenie Meyer gave the blurb on the cover!
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.
R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.
Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.
This book has been sitting on my shelf since May, but I figured this was the perfect time to pick it up, especially with Halloween just around the corner. Stephenie Meyer wasn't the only author whose work I admire that loved this book - Maggie Stiefvater also raved about it. I wish I shared their love for WARM BODIES.
First the good.
The writing. WARM BODIES is written in the first person (not always my favorite) from Zombie R's perspective. I would have given up on page 5 if it weren't for Isaac Marion's innate ability to turn a phrase and make the thoughts of R not only interesting, but enlightening. I didn't think it was possible to root for the zombie, but I did. Marion didn't take the story too seriously, though. There were definitely times I gave a chuckle, and appreciated a little levity when the future of M was looking bleak.
The gore. There wasn't too much horror for me in terms of eating brains and spilling blood; although, there was some of that. What's a zombie story without some old fashioned brain-eating?
"R". R has more consciousness than your average zombie. He is driven by more than eating brains; in fact, he is evolving into another kind of zombie. I enjoyed seeing his transformation, and the spark that ignited it.
The relationships. There was a friendship between R and his friend, M, that I really loved. The relationship between R and Julie reminded me a bit of Stephenie Meyers's The Host - memories of someone else's relationship guiding the beginning of their connection.
Now the not-so-good.
Zombies are not sexy. They smell like rotten meat, their skin is gray and slowly disintegrating off their bones, they are not strong, they moan, and their body parts *ahem* don't work. Marion himself said zombie sex was like "slabs of meat slapping off of one another." I lost my appetite over that one.
I couldn't get passed the zombie thing. I found myself repulsed by the idea of them. I understand that the zombies are metaphorical for something greater, but I could not get beyond the literal zombie body. I know, I know, suspension of disbelief and all that, call me shallow.
Vampires - they might want to drink your blood, but they're sexy. Werewolves - strong and vicious, but sexy. Faeries - mischievous, but sexy. Fallen angels - flawed, but oh so sexy.
Zombies are not for me.
Author Isaac Marion's website, Facebook, Twitter
About the Book:
Isaac Marion was born in north-western Washington in 1981 and has lived in and around Seattle his whole life, working a variety of strange jobs like delivering deathbeds to hospice patients and supervising parental visits for foster-kids. He is not married, has no children, and did not go to college or win any prizes. Warm Bodies is his first novel.
*Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.