Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Zombies are not for me.

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.

Book Extras:
Author Isaac Marion's website, Facebook, Twitter

About the Book:
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439192316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439192313

  • About the Author:
    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.


    Zibilee said...

    I really want to read this one, and have been looking forward to trying it out for some time. I have also never read a zombie book, and am very curious. I think it would be interesting to see how they differ from other supernatural creatures. Very thoughtful review, thanks!

    The Joy of Booking said...

    I found this book to actually be a really great allegory for modern life - you're right that many of R's thoughts were enlightening!

    I also loved the Romeo & Juliet connection, and found the balcony scene hilarious.

    bermudaonion said...

    They're pretty much not for me either. Kudos to you for giving it a try.

    Neisa Hutson said...

    This looks really good! At least I now know that it's probably perfect for me! lol. Cause I'm zombie obsessed! lol. But great review for someone who doesn't like them but still dove into reading it nevertheless. :D

    Stephanie @ Read In a Single Sitting said...

    I've heard a lot of good things about this one.

    And perhaps I'm alone here, but I don't find vamps, weres, or any other dead or beasty things sexy, so zombies are no different for me! :)

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