Lucy's Reviews > Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
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's review
Apr 08, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: sci-fi, recommended-by-an-author, paranormal, young-adult, wasn-t-for-me, zombies
Read from April 27 to 30, 2011

** spoiler alert ** The protagonist of Warm Bodies is R, a zombie who cannot remember his name beyond that single letter. He is verbose compared to other zombies, although his main recreation is still riding escalators around the airport in which he lives. I kind of felt like the escalator riding was a shout out to Dawn of the Dead and it made me happy. The first few chapters of the book are the strongest parts of the book. I think they must have been polished over and over again and they contrast the rest of the book so sharply that it can only suffer in comparison. Still, R's thoughts are a little too well-connected for a zombie, which made me feel like it was a mistake to tell this first person. The book would have been more of a success with me if his evolution from man eater to Romeo was a little more gradual instead of part way there. Given the number of pages we go through before we meet R's love interest and the catalyst for all the changes he goes through, I think he ought to have been more... zombie-ish.

The zombies didn't feel much like zombies to me. They had the ability to form relationships, albeit very basic ones, and to have a somewhat structured community. There was a church in which R is married and there is a school that his adopted children attend to learn how to be better zombies. The logic behind this is that children lack the instincts to be good zombies, to know how to kill and where to bite. Ummm I didn't really buy that too much. If next to none of their personality and memories are retained wouldn't a child zombie just be so many infected cells directed by the virus? This is one of those books where I had to buckle up and stop asking questions because I wasn't going to get any decent answers.

After the intial zombie world establishing is out of the way the story is just a weird retelling of Romeo and Juliet. If Bella constantly comparing herself to Juliet in New Moon annoyed you then this book will probably give you a rage blackout. You'd think after New Moon a book couldn't be more in your face about retelling that story, but you'd be wrong. Sure, Bella and Edward watch the movie all cuddled up together and he repeats the play line for line in her ear at the beginning of New Moon, but at least Stephanie Meyer didn't give Bella the middle name Juliet to like seal the freaking deal.

R(omeo) kills (and eats) Perry (Paris) who is trying to protect his girlfriend Julie(t). In Isaac Marion's world zombies enjoy brains because it gives them brief flashes of human memory. R gets Perry's memories of Julie. Essentially all he knows about Julie beyond that she's warm and delicious is from Perry. Perry's memories and feelings for Julie motivate R to save her, even attacking his bestest zombie buddy M(ercutio). And since I want to get my effing Romeo and Juliet references out of the way now, I'm just going to let you know Julie's best friend is named Nora. Nora wants to be a nurse. I thought all the Romeo and Juliet crap was done by the time I got to Nora and I almost had a seizure when I realized there was more. Believe me, I'm sparing you by telling you in advance.

There are more Romeo and Juliet references sprinkled throughout the book with all the finesse of a two-year-old flower girl throwing balled up, crumpled hunks of flower petals on the floor as she stomps her little way toward the alter, but none of them bothered me as much as the repetitive transparency of the names.

So, back to R and Julie. He saves her from M (who Julie calls a 'fat fuck' for the rest of the book), smears dead blood all over her face to hide her from the zombies and takes her back to zombie HQ at the airport. Julie goes along with this because her options are kind of limited to R or being devoured by a pack of zombies. I don't really know how she managed it without hysterics, the story is told more or less from R's POV, but she was a little too levelheaded about the whole experience given that her boyfriend and most of her friends just became chow.

R shoves Julie inside the airplane he lives in to keep her safe from the other zombies. He goes off to hang out with M. Together they eat the brain of another teenage boy who had been in the group with Julie and Perry. The experience isn't anything extremely altering for R, but luckily he's still got some of Perry to gnaw on. You see, he didn't eat all of Perry's brain in one sitting. No, he carries the rest around with him to much on slowly so he can, um, savor the experience? Sorry, bad Lucy.

Again, R experiences Perry's memories of Julie and this is where the author fumbles. I can forgive the cheesy quality of retelling Romeo and Juliet. I can forgive a zombie society that actually is a society, but there comes a point when as an author you have to man up and deal with the circumstances of the story you're writing. R is a zombie. Zombies are monsters. R is a monster. He ate a teenage boy who loved Julie and he is IMMEDIATELY and CONSTANTLY absolved of any guilt.

Perry's life force was either so vibrant that it changed R or his love for Julie such a unique experience that it changed R, who has eaten hundreds of other brains. Something about Perry was that catalyst, but Perry and Julie's relationship is downplayed forever after as being 'almost over' and his life as something he was pretty much ready to forfeit. This is all done to forgive R. I would have preferred R's story be about finding redemption for what he'd done and learning to fight the virus and change his nature.

By eating Perry's brain, R gets to steal his memories and experiences -- the grief after his mother's death, the world's upheaval, and most importantly meeting and falling in love with Julie. He even experiences the first time Perry and Julie make love. It was creepy and sad and if the author had owned it then the whole thing could have been awesome, but instead we got the constant downplaying and reduction of Perry's life and value as a person. By downplaying Perry's love for Julie and Perry's death all the author did was downplay the catalyst for R's change and the story absolutely, without a fucking doubt, suffered for it.

R is forgiven for Perry's death four or five times throughout this 239 page novel. Oh yeah, I'm quoting some of it baby.

Page 55:
"Anyway," she says, "whoever killed Perry... I just want you to know I don't blame them for it."

I tense again. "You... don't?"

"No. I mean, I think I get it. You don't have a choice, right? And tot be honest... I'd never say this to anyone, but..." She stirs her food. "It's kind of a relief that it finally happened."

I frown. "What?"

"To be able to finally stop dreading it."

Yep, don't worrying about eating the first boy she loved. It's better to rip that bandaid off. *rips out hair* Icing for that cake is that it's not long after he's dead. Later in the memories/dreams stirred by consuming Perry's brain the ghost/lingering memory of the dead kid forgives him saying he was ready to go. Later Nora echoes Julie's sentiments about it not really being R's fault since it's the virus. Sometime after Nora absolves him of guilt he finally confesses to Julie and she forgives him for a second time. You can't tell, but I'm rolling my eyes.

Look, Suzanne Collins owned the dark world of The Hunger Games when she brutally killed off (view spoiler) right in front of us. J.K. Rowling pulled no punches when she threw (view spoiler) off that tower. R was a monster and Marion should have owned it. If he had let R evolve from being a monster he would have found redemption instead of being handed it on page 55.

Beyond those complaints. R and Julie's romance meant absolutely nothing to me. You can ask what romance when you read it. Julie, all in all, was a bad romantic lead. (view spoiler) she should have been more Helen of Troy and less blah. (view spoiler) For me this book failed as a zombie novel and it failed as a romance, which is what it's being marketed as.

There were a few technical problems with the grammar. They weren't rampant problems, but my eye is untrained and I did notice them. Also, Isaac Marion portrays stilted zombie speech with ellipsis so get prepared to never want to see three dots in a row ever again.

Warm Bodies is an amazing looking book. The cover is stunning and inside there are black and white anatomy shots beneath the start of each new chapter. These small inked drawings of various bits of the human body are what you'd find in a biology book, but for some reason they're all the more interesting inside a zombie book. It's a pretty book, but it's also kind of thin to be marked up to $24.00 USD. Most hardcover YA novels are marked on cover as $17.99 or $19.99 so that was a bit of a price jump for a book that is thinner than average.

One star for me, but I can see how other people might like some of it, especially if you're a watered down monsters and classic romance retellings.
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Reading Progress

04/27/2011 page 2
04/28/2011 page 89
37.0% "I don't know how I feel about this book. Some of this plot is way too 'and everything works out' like having your cake and eating it too... I can't really discuss it outside of a spoiler marker. *sighs* Also, I noticed some grammar issues that really should've been cleaned up in editing."
04/28/2011 page 103
43.0% "I am so incredibly annoyed with the girl being all 'it's fine you ate my boyfriend. I was dealing it with until the author upped the ante by having the ghost/memory of the dead kid say the following: "Forget it, corpse. I understand. Seems by that point I wanted out anyway." Even if you're ready to die being EATEN ALIVE is not 'that's fine, dude.'" 1 comment
04/29/2011 page 170
71.0% "Why, oh why is this book not over yet?" 3 comments
04/30/2011 page 172
72.0% "Ah now the dead kid's friends are justifying his death to the zombie who ate him. I am going to buy a hamster when I'm done reading so that I can shred this book and let the little critter take a leak on it." 1 comment
04/30/2011 page 173
72.0% "Now the zombie is staring at his penis having a revelation about life and death... No, it's not meant to be ironic."
01/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 81) (81 new)

message 1: by Cory (new)

Cory After your last status update, I'm wondering just how bad this really is.

message 2: by Lucy (new) - rated it 1 star

Lucy I didn't like it at all, Cory, not one bit -- and I love zombies. I feel cheated and slightly scammed. Authors are blurbing and quoting this book left and right. I preordered the hardcover from amazon because of my long standing love of all that is zombie, but when I went to fix the edition on goodreads it looks like there was a paperback of it out last year. For a second I thought it must've been a foreign release, but this book is by an American author set in the United States so that doesn't equal out in my head. My guess is when it was released it didn't do well and then they re-marketed it hardcover. Great. Make me pay more for what wasn't selling in paperback, fuck you

message 3: by Vinaya (new)

Vinaya Lucy, you should definitely try Aftertime, it's one of the best zombie apocalypse books I've read in a while! But this book sounds like it's rant-worthy! I hope you're planning to go postal on it, I gotta admit I love it when you hate a book! :-)

message 4: by Cory (new)

Cory At least the cover art is cool. That's all I'm saying.

What really sucks is that there are other books that could be re-packaged that really deserve the attention.

At least your the enjoyment I'll get from your review will be worth the pain you went through reading the book.

message 5: by Lucy (new) - rated it 1 star

Lucy Vinaya, I have listed Aftertime as TBR. I have a stack of books I bought that I have to read, but I think I'm going to bump that one ahead. I need a proper zombie novel to make up for this one.

Cory, the cover art is cool, but it is all a seductive lie. Stay strong. The cool ends on the dust jacket. Inside is a very clumsy retelling of Romeo and Juliet that could destroy the love of zombies for someone who was not as passionate about them as me.

message 6: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana I wonder how this book got a blurb from Meyer. Another friend of hers?

message 7: by Eve (last edited Apr 30, 2011 09:34AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Davids Oh Lucy, I'm so sorry you didnt like it.
I know the author. The book was released in England first, but this is the first USA release. It wasnt repackaged.
They are making a movie out of this, they have the cast and everything, maybe that might turn out better and have a bigger appeal.
I really loved every weird bit of this unfortunately. I think some people wont, because it's just that type of book. True on some of the errors you pointed out too.

Katie(babs) Ah, I heard great things about this book that I have it one hold at the library.

message 9: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Davids Tatiana wrote: "I wonder how this book got a blurb from Meyer. Another friend of hers?"

Lol, actually he has never met her or even read any of her books. The blurb freaked him out to no end.

message 10: by Steph (new) - added it

Steph Sinclair I can't wait for your review. Zombies scare me, but I have a strange fascination with them.

Katie(babs) TheDuchess wrote: "Tatiana wrote: "I wonder how this book got a blurb from Meyer. Another friend of hers?"

Lol, actually he has never met her or even read any of her books. The blurb freaked him out to no end."

Then why was his book sent to Meyer for a blurb if the author never read her books? Doesn't make sense to me. I think back to Becca going off on that author whose agent asked for a blurb from her after finding out the author bashed Hush, Hush.

message 12: by Steph (new) - added it

Steph Sinclair Money.

message 13: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Davids Katie(babs) wrote: "TheDuchess wrote: "Tatiana wrote: "I wonder how this book got a blurb from Meyer. Another friend of hers?"

Lol, actually he has never met her or even read any of her books. The blurb freaked him o..."

Hi Katie,

Authors dont always send books to other authors for blurbs. Sometimes, their editors and agents do on their own.

In Becca's post, I'm almost positive it wasnt the author that specifically sent the book to her. It was the author's editor.

Of course if you are good friends with an author, then of course you can ask them to blurb you book. Not saying it doesnt happen, but it's more formal if you go through your editor or agent for an author you dont know.

Katie(babs) TheDuchess wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "TheDuchess wrote: "Tatiana wrote: "I wonder how this book got a blurb from Meyer. Another friend of hers?"

Lol, actually he has never met her or even read any of her books. The..."

And if Meyer blurbs anything, it's safe to say readers will buy your book. If I ever sell my YA's I would ask her for a blurb.

message 15: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Davids Katie(babs) wrote: "TheDuchess wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "TheDuchess wrote: "Tatiana wrote: "I wonder how this book got a blurb from Meyer. Another friend of hers?"

Lol, actually he has never met her or even read an..."

Hmm, personally I dont really think blurbs make people buy books you know. Why? Take this book for instance, with all the blurbs it has, it isnt exactly flying off the shelves.
I think its because there is no huge promo around this book.
I guess what I am trying to say is if you get the promo from your publishers, and then authors like Meyer blurb it, then yes, you will sell a lot.
But just getting a blurb from Meyer without promo might not be as helpful as people think it is.
I know as for this book, once the movie starts shooting and big name magazines start writing about it, the book will get to the best seller list since the director is critically acclaimed. Then, I think Meyer's blurb will start doing its magic, but not at the moment.

Katie(babs) TheDuchess wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "TheDuchess wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "TheDuchess wrote: "Tatiana wrote: "I wonder how this book got a blurb from Meyer. Another friend of hers?"

Lol, actually he has never met..."

I think word of mouth is big versus the author blurbs and publisher promo.

This book has been sold to Hollywood?

message 17: by Eve (last edited Apr 30, 2011 09:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Davids Katie(babs) wrote: "TheDuchess wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "TheDuchess wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "TheDuchess wrote: "Tatiana wrote: "I wonder how this book got a blurb from Meyer. Another friend of hers?"

Lol, actual..."

True, cant argue with you at all. Word of mouth is the best promo out there. I think it's also the hardest.
Yes, sold, cast, and their doing script revisions already. Should start shooting by the end of the year.
He originally self published it as a short story, then when so many bloggers encouraged him to turn into a full book, he did that. I think he only made a hundred copies of the book at first. A movie producer stumbled on it online, and the rest is history.

message 18: by Lucy (new) - rated it 1 star

Lucy I don't think there's ever any reason to turn down a movie deal. It's basically an hour and a half long book trailer. In the worst case scenario it's free advertising... That being said it still always feels a little slimy to me when the movie deal comes before the book release. Maybe it's an I Am Number Four flashback, but it makes me question whether the book is there to promote the movie.

Katie(babs) Lucy wrote: "I don't think there's ever any reason to turn down a movie deal. It's basically an hour and a half long book trailer. In the worst case scenario it's free advertising... That being said it still al..."

If you sell your idea to Hollywood, most likely you'll get at least 500k-1 mil from the deal. And Hollywood is running out of ideas. That is why there is a new thing called the YA franchise where studios are searching for the next big money maker ala Twilight, Harry Potter and hopefully Hunger Games.

Plus, zombies in movies are big time.

message 20: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana This convo reminded me of another Hollywood project I tried reading not so long ago - Robopocalypse. It was an awful read but I can see how it would translate well onto the screen. What I am saying is, early Hollywood involvement doesn't mean the source material is necessarily good.

message 21: by Eve (last edited Apr 30, 2011 10:10AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Davids Lucy, Ha! I AM NUMBER FOUR, flashback.
I read an interview where Mr. Frey talked about how he changed things in the book according to what the movie studio was planning to do with the movie. He said that although the writing community might frown on that he didnt give a rat's ass.

I was like, alright, no wonder I couldnt get through the book.
I feel what you are saying about the movie deal coming before the book release but that seems to be the norm these days. Everything from Divergent, to Shatter Me, to Under the Never Sky, to Pure. (All YA books that publishers paid over 500,000 grand for, seem to be getting movie deals a year before the book even comes out.)
I guess its the "it" thing in publishing now.

message 22: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Davids Tatiana wrote: "This convo reminded me of another Hollywood project I tried reading not so long ago - Robopocalypse. It was an awful read but I can see how it would translate well onto the screen. W..."

Completely agree. Angelology by Danielle Trussoni(?) is a book that I think will be brilliant as a movie (Will Smith's production company optioned it), but as a book, it was pure fail.

message 23: by Lucy (new) - rated it 1 star

Lucy I am, apparently, not too capable of keeping my reviews under 500 words like I want to.

message 24: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana A zombie romance is a concept I find it hard to buy into. The only time it worked for me was in one of the Zombies vs. Unicorns's stories.

message 25: by Lucy (new) - rated it 1 star

Lucy I find it hard too. Most of what I like about the zombie genre is the survivalist world for the humans, not so much thinking zombies.

Juushika Oh bless you you are fantastic.

message 27: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey I think I just have issues with ZOMBIE love stories, given that they are ZOMBIES and idk dead and want to eat people's brains. I guess it's "possible," but you have to be very creative and clever to make it work.

message 28: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (Worries A Lot) This break down of the book was fantastic. I haven't read the book myself, but you might have just saved me from a headache if I had picked it up.

Rachel Wow! I can't believe I missed all the R&J references. It's so obvious now that you pointed it out. (And yuck, the romance was the worst thing about this book.) Great review.

Rogier sad it was horrdid for you
ppl differ

Marlenne Oh shut up I do not care, as long as I like it, it's all that matters. Thanx for the references by the way, would of never notice if it wasn't for you god damn long ass review, geez. It's supposed to be review dude not a fully detailed summary of the book.

Jeanette I so agree with all of your comments. Its everything i wanted to say but found i couldn't even be bothered to spend the time reviewing it. I ave it three stars cos it made me laugh in parts and i liked the basic concept. But yes, v disappointed

Richard I agree with a lot of the points you have made in this review. But from reading some of your reactions i think these issues bothered you A LOT more than they did for me. i just felt the book was very rushed at times and characters didnt get the right closure they deserved. i still managed to thoroughly enjoy the book though.

message 34: by Lola (last edited Jan 07, 2013 09:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lola You're only assuming the common perception of zombie. In reality the author created their own version. That's why the zombie didn't seem to be so zombie. I mean honestly you're criticizing a fantasy creature for not being real enough in the sense that it's not what you imagined it to be. And sometimes miracles and changes just doesn't need to be justified with a reason, a cause and effect. What changed the zombie? Love? memories? Last, giving it a 1 star isn't doing the book justice. You said it yourself the first half of the book was polished and well done and the later chapters were not so. But you shouldn't just subtract points and go "oh well, I guess you loose the points you got from the previous chapters because the later chapters suck.". -.- What deserve a 1 star? This review of yours.

Scott-robert Shenkman I hate zombies. I detest The Walking Dead - gives mne nightmares. But I've been looking forward to the movie for a while and didn't know it was a book, so I grabbed it. I despise Twilight and The Hunger Games, so all references are lost on me. You can say it isn't his fault because of the virus, right? I don't know, all the quotes from this book make it look like a fun read. I'll review it when I'm done.

message 36: by Tria (new) - added it

Tria Comments about this were a while ago now, but I have to say it: if a book has a blurb from Stephenie Meyer I am *highly* unlikely ever to read it unless I'm already a fan of the author. I don't trust her taste as far as I could throw her (and I'm a wheelchair user whose shoulders dislocate holding *newborns*).

message 37: by Tria (new) - added it

Tria Also, ignore the whining idiots - your review was great. Very informative and enlightening. :)

Scott-robert Shenkman Is it polite to say I find that comment funny?:) I have never read anything by Stephanie Meyer and I never will. I was forced by my son to see the first Twilight and I almost hung myself from the theater balcony. It was worse than The English Patient, and I never thought that would be possible.

Like I said, zombies scare the crap out of me. But I've always wanted to read a humorous zombie book, so I'll try with this. I'm really looking forward to the movie. The only other zombie movie I haven't fled from is Shawn of the Dead, and that was a comedy also.

Scott-robert Shenkman Yes, let me also add: even though the review was negative, I really enjoyed it. I hate to tell you, but it's what convinced me to buy the book!

Anna  (Bananas!) Meyer has nothing to do with this book...silly reason to avoid it. It's actually a very funny, ironic book.

Scott-robert Shenkman I'm currently reading a romance about a high powered lawyer who falls in love with a younger guy suffering from brain damage due to his own drunk driving (how's that for a plot?. I'll finish it tomorrow, and start this right after. It looks like a quick read. Then I'm on to a YA story about a girl who dies for 42 seconds whileon the operating table and is probably reincarnated - while she's still alive!

Anna  (Bananas!) Lol, interesting reads you've got there. What are the titles? Esp the quirky m/m, I'd read that in a heartbeat.

Scott-robert Shenkman Well, the lawyer/young guy book is actually M/F. It's called "New Life" by Bonnie Dee. The reincarnated girl book is "Replay" by Bonnie Brande. If you want a M/M book that's not quirky but very heart warming, try "The Nothingness of Ben". I'll say this: I really enjoy some M/M books, because the relationship dynamics are so different from M/F, and I have no experience with this. One problem though is there is too much explicit sex. If the authors left the sex out,a lot of those books would be YA and really good books for gay teens to read (I have a feeling there isn't a lot out there for them).

Anna  (Bananas!) Oh, I just read two excellent gay young adult romance books! Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz. Very funny, sweet, and touching. Also Battle for Jericho by Gene Gant was almost as good. Both recommended by a friend with great taste.
I will def check out Ben, as well as the other two. The explicit stuff is great but I like the YA too. Even some m/f occasionally. :)

Scott-robert Shenkman I checked those two out - too much 9/11 mentioned in the first, too much angst in the second. Not what I'm in the mood for, but thanks!

Anna  (Bananas!) Oh they are angsty teenagery stuff but still very good. No worries.

Scott-robert Shenkman Got to tell you - I loved this review, but I LOVED this book. I thought it was amazing. As for R and Perry and being absolved...Perry wanted to die. Julie saw it coming for a long time. She knew he would do something to end it all. And they all grew up in a world were death was a constant. R had to choice - he was still infected/cursed. He didn't even know who he was. But when he ate Perry's brain, I think that's what gave him a conscience. Anyway, movie opens in 6 days and my son and I are first in line. And I will still never wat watch The Walking Dead ever again!

message 48: by LauraJ (new) - added it

LauraJ I thought they wrote this so that they could make fun of the Twilight series. I think the first preview I saw for the movie was "Did you like when that girl fell in love with the clinically dead vampire? Well then you're going to love falling for a zombie!" and "Zombies need love too!"

I was under the impression that they were really just mocking stephanie meyer's lack of story line and character development. Even down to the first few chapters being pretty decent then PLUNGING into the horrible "plot".

With this in mind, do you think the book is more light hearted? Do the holes in plot make a bit more sense? (i'm kind of excited to go see the movie and i wanted to read the book first)

- Hopeful for comedic nonsense.

Scott-robert Shenkman The book is far, far different from Twilight and definitely not light-hearted. It's actually pretty serious. The movie, however, looks like it may play down the darker side (though it can't be avoided totally) and reach for the comedic.

message 50: by LauraJ (new) - added it

LauraJ Ah, alrighty. I'll probably just watch the movie then. In this genre specifically I'm just more of a fan of comedy. Thanks!

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