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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

REVIEW: Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies
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, noidentity, 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 stragely 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.

Sitting around at a family Christmas gathering a couple of weeks ago, someone mentioned a movie opening near Valentine's day that would satisfy all of us--part chick flick, part zombie movie. (I'm not going to tell you which family members would be swayed by which genre, but I will say the women were pretty into the zombie idea.) Then, we realized it was a book, first and I looked up the blurb (see above). Ha...I had to read it.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER did I imagine I'd LOVE a zombie story. And not because it was a zombie story, but because it was a good book that happened to have zombies all through it.

The story is told completely from R's perspective. You are with him as he is having his awakening...there is something more than this zombie existence he is living. There's humanity. There's love.

R is profoundly drawn, as a person, who like most of us, is seeking to better himself. You'd expect that a zombie with some self-awareness is trying to rediscover who he was pre-infection. Not R, he just wants to live, in whatever manner that means now. He falls in love with Julie, a warm body, who has been raised to fight and kill zombies, not talk to them. Julie is a strong woman, with a real personality, something I also wouldn't have expected to find in a zombie story with a male protagonist. Seriously, I expected a "passing glance" treatment of her, even though the blurb leads you to believe she's important.

While R's search for humanity in himself is the central part of the story, Julie's change of mind and heart in regards to zombies is just as important. It's a little disturbing to realize that maybe, just maybe, the zombies have a better idea of what humanity is than the "warm bodies" do.

Warm Bodies is atypical for the horror fact, I'd only class it there because there are zombies, not because it's particularly horrific (although, some of the eating scenes are just graphic enough to paint a good picture). Definitely would recommend this to many.

**I class this a Adult for YA because there is some language and are a couple adult scenes, and, honestly, I don't think the author was aiming for YAs, but it will garner attention for the general story and the movie tie-in.

What do you think??

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book for my personal collection. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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This work is licensed by Jennifer Turney under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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