Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Warm Bodies ~ Isaac Marion review

Halloween is coming up, so of course it's necessary to review some Halloween-y books! Here is the first one:

Warm Bodies
Atria Books
April 26, 2011
256 pages

R is a zombie. He knows he once had a name, but he cannot recall it - all her knows is that it likely started with 'R.' The other zombies that he lives with in the airport don't know their names, either, if they're lucky they have a letter to go by.

R might only be able to speak a few syllables, grunt a few sounds, but he is much deeper than that. His mind works on a more complex level than the expected zombie level of 'Brains!' or 'Kill. Food. Brains.' R has thoughts, dreams, maybe even feelings and fears.

The world as it is now, in R's day, has been destroyed by multiple wars, the collapse of society, and now zombies. People are living together, in fear of zombies and the end of the world altogether.

After eating a teenage boy's brain on one of the zombies' trips into the city for food, R starts experiencing the boy's memories. Then making a choice that leads to a strange, awkward but also kind of sweet relationship with the boy's living girlfriend, R might end up changing himself, the other zombies, perhaps the living ... and even everyone.

Warm Bodies is definitely a different kind of zombie tale. For one - very major - thing, the zombie at the center of it all isn't a mindless, heartless killer only out for brains. And that's something that works.

It is a little strange to have this zombie who is so unable to speak or move or say things but then can narrate a story so well. At first it does seem like a disconnect. After a bit, though, you get used to it as how R is and how his being a zombie is.

It's never explained how zombies came to be in the Warm Bodies world - nor is it really a part of the story - but it is something you kind of wonder about at points.

The characters are most definitely the strong point of this story. The reader is able to see a zombie the same they would a living, breathing person and care about him in much the same way - even while he spends parts of the story eating parts of someone's brain. Or perhaps, because of that.

It's an added bonus that the human/living person side of the story is as well developed and thought out as the zombie side. We don't just get a strong story with R and the zombies at the airport, but with where and how the people are living as well. A book could have been written from the perspective of one of the people living there with the zombies as the outside threat, as well. It would have been a different story, but there was enough imagination to that element that a whole story could be there as well.

If you enjoy zombie stories and/or you're looking for one of a different sort, you should really give Warm Bodies a read.


thank you to the publisher for my copy of this book

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