Warm Bodies by Issac Marion (review copy) - 'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.
Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.
This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight... From Amazon UK
When I first heard about Warm Bodies, I was SO eager to read it, because it just sounded awesome. Then I saw the trailer for the movie and wow! Even more excited! So it was quite clear to me I'd be diving right in as soon as it arrived. I did, and I LOVED it!
R is a zombie. He doesn't know how he died, he has no memories of his previous life, nothing. All he knows is his Dead life, stumbling around, almost conversations with a few syllables and grunts with fellow zombies, living in an airport, spending hours going up and down on the escalators in between going to the city to feed. Not that he enjoys it. For R is a conflicted zombie, and hates being the cause of death, but he won't have the so-called life he now has unless he does. On one trip to the city with a bunch of zombies, in the midst of feeding on humans, R lays his eyes on Julie, and everything changes. Instead of eating her, he saves her. And so begins a tentative relationship between Dead and Living.
Warm Bodies is an extremely surprising book. As I said, I saw the trailer before I read the book, so I was expecting comical. Comical I got, R has a unique voice, and although he has trouble speaking out loud, he thinks just like anyone else would, and narrates his story with a comical tone, showing the ridiculousness of a zombie's life. However, Warm Bodies is also extremely poignant. Upon meeting Julie, he starts to question his life, his existence, and develops more of a conscience, and as his feelings for Julie grows, the impossibility of his situation dawns on him, and can be really heartbreaking.
It's also kind of sad because not one person has a great life. Julie has been through, and is still going through, some serious issues herself. Nora, Julie's friend, hasn't had an easy life either. And we also get the story of Perry, a boy R kills and eats. When a zombie eats a human's brain, they get flashes of memories from that person's life. But with Perry, it's like R relives moments of his life, and Perry won't "stay" dead. He keeps coming back to R in his mind to show more of his tragic story. And through Perry's memories, R gets to find out more about who Julie is, and falls not just for present Julie, but past Julie too.
I wasn't expecting Warm Bodies to be as much of a post-apocalyptic novel as it was. There are zombies, yes, and they're killing off the population, but they aren't the only problem. Civilisation as we know it had already collapsed; governments fell, the need to survive at all costs came about, and violent disputes broke out. The whole purpose of life was to survive, not live. And life is difficult.
Despite all this, there moments of light and beauty. There is the comical tone, and there's the moments between R and Julie that are just lovely. Being inside R's head as he discovers he has feelings for Julie is just beautiful, as you watch him metaphorically melt. He's such a sweetie! Such a good, good guy, and I wanted to give him such a hug! There are also moments where something will be said by one of the characters, or thought by R, that I was just bowled over by, moments that really spoke to me, which were just amazing!
At 239 pages, it's a super quick read, but so much happens! There's comedy, romance, action, excitement and some graphic violence! It's a thrilling, exciting and beautiful read, and one I highly recommend! I am more than excited to get my hands on the prequel to Warm Bodies, The New Hunger, which will be published by Vintage sometime in the foreseeable future, and on Warm Bodies #2 once Marion has written it. Seriously, Warm Bodies is now right up there with my favourites!
Thank you to Vintage for the review copy.
Published: 31st January 2013
Publisher: Vintage Books
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