September 2016
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Review: Warm Bodies, Isaac Marion

The world has been more or less overtaken by zombies, groaning swaying creatures who exist mainly to feast on the remaining humans’ flesh.  “R” is one such, but he occasionally has dreams about what it’s like to be human, and he thinks about who he was even though he can’t quite figure it out.  On a raid one day, R sees a girl, Julie, and instead of eating her, decides to save her.  He masks her with zombie blood and brings her back to the airport where the zombies live, somehow changed because of her brightness, vivacity, and humanness.  Despite the fact that R is a zombie and Julie is a human, things begin to change between them, and R begins to wonder if there might be more to life than his zombie self realised.

I doubt my summary above conveyed this book properly, and I hope you haven’t clicked away, because I loved this book.  I mean well and truly loved it, was completely drawn in by it, found passages in it that I liked and actually marked to remember.  If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ll probably know by the lack of quotes around here that I simply don’t take note of it very often.  I’m rarely struck by a particular passage to such an extent that I’ll specifically mark it out – I see them, but I generally just keep on reading.  Not here.

What most struck me about the book was the fact that Marion used death in order to define life.  It was somehow funny and profound at the exact same time – I knew that this guy was an arm-waving, moaning zombie, Marion cracks jokes regularly about how they try to recapture certain elements of their humanness – but at the same time he’s reminding his readers, reminding me, how actually amazing it is to be alive.  And now I’ll shut up and just quote the book:

Sex, once a law as undisputed as gravity, has been disproved.  The equation erased, the backboard broken.

Sometimes it’s a relief.  I remember the need, the insatiable hunger that ruled my life and the lives of everyone around me. Sometimes I’m glad to be free of it.  There’s less trouble now. But our loss of this, the most basic of all human passions, might sum up our loss of everything else.  It’s made things quieter.  Simpler.  And it’s one of the surest signs that we’re dead. (p 25)

It just struck me as so poignant – life, messy as it is, is something that is precious, and now that R has lost it, he realises this.

Of course, this is also something of a love story, if one of the most unusual ones that I’ve ever read.  I was doubtful at first, I’ll be honest, because who can imagine a zombie as a hero?  I’m already not the world’s biggest fan of paranormal romances.  But, rather astonishingly, it works, and it’s not because we forget R is a zombie, either, as we’re reminded of this very often.  Instead, it’s because we can see inside his head, and we see how he changes as Julie enters his life.  It’s quite a remarkable book.  And despite the author’s intro amusingly citing his lack of qualifications, it’s beautifully written, and I was pulled into this post-apocalyptic world without any effort on my part.

Warm Bodies is an astonishingly beautiful book – a reminder of what it is to be human and a touching romance wrapped up in a zombie novel, of all things.  It’s also wildly funny at times and even disgusting at others, which also makes it one of the most peculiar books I’ve ever read, but it’s oh so worth it.  You truly won’t be sorry you picked this gem up.

One last quote, on this post-apocalyptic world:

What is left of us? the ghosts moan, drifting back into the shadows of my subconscious.  No countries, no cultures, no wars but still no peace.  What’s at our core, then?  What’s still squirming in our bones when everything else is stripped? (p 148)

I am an Amazon Associate. I won this book from the publisher on Twitter.

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7 comments to Review: Warm Bodies, Isaac Marion

  • I am shocked you liked this! It’s really, really hard to imagine a zombie novel being romantic, I have to say.

  • This does sound like a really interesting book, and from the quotes you chose to highlight, very deep as well. I am not a bit reader of zombie or paranormal lit, but your love for this book has swayed me. I am going to be adding this one to the list and seeing what I think of it. Very nice review!
    zibilee´s last post …Currency by Zoe Zolbrod — 272 pgs

  • Isaac Marion

    Hi Meghan. My agent pointed me to your blog and I just want to say I’m really touched by your kind review. Thank you for giving such an unlikely story a chance to prove itself.

  • I’m amazed as this does not sound like the kind of book that would have a great deal of depth. I’d be willing to give it a go on base don your review though.
    Jodie´s last post …Challenge Completed – GLBT

  • Becky

    I live in New Zealand and the book has just been released here.I absolutely loved this book I bought it yesterday and could not put it down.I agree with the review of the book and I am happy to hear it is being made into a movie by Summit.

  • William

    I am halfway through this book now, coming to it after reading about the quest to turn it into a movie starting Nicholas Hoult. The premise sounded totally fresh and original and i must say i have not been dissapointed. Ive read half of it in two nights and im falling in love with it. Warm Bodies is more than worth your time and i recommend getting it and being suprised by a fantastic piece of genre spinning fiction. I look forward to reading more from Isaac Marion.

  • I am actually reading this book right now and loving it! So beautifully written, very vivid. I agree at first I was thinking zombie romance, no way. I was happily way off. Yes, I heard Summit is doing the movie also.