I cannot tell a lie. The cover is what drew me in first. It’s not the most colorful cover. Or even the most beautiful, but it certainly stands out and it caught my eye immediately. I hungrily read the synopsis and as soon as I did, I was so intrigued that I knew I had to buy it as soon as it released. I mean, zombies? A post-apocalyptic world? A romance of unusual proportions? And zombies?! Wait, did I already say? Oops. Yes, I was all over this book. With all the books that I read last year, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion was my absolute favorite read of 2011.
Warm Bodies is definitely a unique creation. While romance stories are a dime a dozen, how many of them feature a somewhat freshly turned zombie as their romantic lead? Not many, that’s for sure. Post-apocalyptic or dystopian novels are hugely popular and zombies seem to be in rather large demand nowadays. But a Twilight-esque novel featuring zombies, this is not. Marion’s debut work is thought-provoking, filled with striking and memorable quotes as well as several very humorous moments, and features one of the most unique, and surprising, romantic leads that I’ve ever read about.
R was a refreshing change from your typical, plasticine, Harlequin-esque Lotharios. And not just because he’s a brain-munching zombie. While outwardly he may be monosyllabic, his mind is filled with witty ruminations, lyrical descriptions and flowing verse. He dislikes his need for human brains, his want to kill, but accepts it as his nature. R is so genuine and likeable that it is hard to fault him for his killings when it’s what must be done for survival. R knows that he is different from his zombie brethren. While the rest of the zombie clan is content to wander aimlessly for hours, grunting and drooling, R listens to records, saves relics from his human life and sits in cars trying to remember how to drive.
It is when R kills, and eats the brains of, a human named Perry that he starts to actually relive parts of Perry’s life in his own mind and first sees a glimpse of Julie, the dead boy’s girlfriend. When R actually meets her in person, she is about to be killed and eaten by his fellow zombies, and for reasons that R does not understand, he saves Julie’s life and hides her in the airport that he calls home.
The relationship between R and Julie isn’t the steamy, torrid affair that most romances are made out to be. Julie is at first appalled by what R is and R is mostly intrigued by this girl that represents the life he once knew. The two form a timid friendship that slowly blossoms into a deep and heartfelt connection as they fight against both, a terrifying, rotting army of cruel skeletons and what is left of the military hellbent on destroying all zombies.
Warm Bodies is not simply a story of the bleak future of the world to come. It’s a story of tentative love and of having hope during a time when it seems like there is none to be had. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It’s a quick read and one that will stay with you for quite some time afterwards. Warm Bodies will make you appreciate what you have in the world and will make you think and even laugh. Yes, there are descriptions of blood, gore and brain-eating but quite honestly, if you have watched a bloody horror film, you’ll be able to handle the “gore” in this book.(less)