on November 17, 2010
WARM BODIES is a witty, original, beautiful, unexpected and entertaining book with tremendous heart, about a Zombie, "R" in a ruined world, who falls in love with Julie, a living girl who is one of the few remaining people, and the daughter of a harsh security minded General in charge of the city where most of the living reside. R meets Julie when he eats the brain of her long time boyfriend Perry, and appropriates his memories of this wonderful girl. In the middle of the feed, R sees her in the room, and manages to keep himself and the other zombies from attacking her and then brings her back to the airport where they live. The story has so many things going for it, it's hard to know where to begin. The character of R, a kind of Edward Scissorhands like saintly child, who begins to grow and learn from his newfound relationship with Julie. And Julie is pretty terrific too, assertive, tough but honest about what she needs and wants. I could go on and on about the intricacies and nuances of the novel, but I wouldnt want to ruin anyone's read of this beautiful book. It is really worth the time to get to know these characters.
on April 17, 2014
What an entertaining delight! I first heard of this book through the movie trailer. I was very skeptical about this, yet oddly curious at the same time. A zombie who falls in love.... I did not know what to expect getting into this. What I ended up experiencing was a story like no other.
'R' is a zombie with personality. Not very common, right? Even the other zombies think he is odd. He longs for memories...for life. When he eats the brain of a young man named Perry and saving a human girl, things begin to change for him. He gets flashbacks of Perry's life, giving him a familiarity to the girl, Julie, he saved. He learns of Perry's relationship to Julie and his own feelings toward her begin to manifest themselves.
The writing is very well done. There is a certain eloquence to the artistic imaging Isaac Marion has set up for us. The story is all told from R's perspective. While his spoken words may be few, his thoughts are many. He has am amusing, dry sense of humor that keeps the reader engaged in what is happening around him. We see his life at the airport, including a marriage, adopting kids, and even zombie "sex." Let me tell you, never have I heard of such things working the was they do in a zombie society. Then again, I never read of a zombie society. So this was a very unique experience.
The only downside for this was that while the first half to two-thirds of the books were well written and is almost poetic in nature, the rest seems more rushed. The world seems to lose its aspect, the writing style itself even seems to shift. Maybe it was because r didn't know what to think of his own thoughts by this point. Personally though, I wish the story was drawn out a bit more to give the same attention to the ending that the beginning received.
So, overall, I was quite happy with this one. If you have seen the movie, yet never read the book: Go read the book. Much better than the movie. The humor and personality portrayed is beautiful here. Very creative storytelling.
on June 4, 2011
Every now and then, there's a book so prolifically amazing that you ignore the fact that its subject matter is something that you absolutely detest. For me, that book was Warm Bodies. Despite the fact that I love zombie movies, I have an extreme dislike for zombie books (save a few)... until now. Perhaps I was reading the wrong type of zombie books? Or maybe I just gave up too soon when I read a few bad ones in a row? Either way, Isaac Marion's novel has completely changed my mind about the matter and I am now more open to the world of zombies in modern literature.
One of the things that sticks out so profoundly about this novel is the fact that R - the main character, a zombie - actually still holds on to some human attributes and there's more going on than just "Mmm... braaaiiiinnnnsss" in his thought process. On top of that, there's still feelings involved... which is something we don't see much of when it comes to the living dead. R wants to be more than what he is. He craves to feel, love and have more than just a normal zombie life. He's a character that will surprise you at how easily you can relate to and empathize with.
It would be against all crimes of this blog not to point out that I did creep out a little with the romantic interest in the novel. It was just something I couldn't wholeheartedly get behind. However, as disturbing as it was for me, it was also very beautiful and seemed to fit naturally into the story as a whole.
The story was amazingly written. R's perspective was completely enthralling and the story as a whole was nothing short of incredible. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop reading... even at the parts that made me cringe! The world building in Warm Bodies wasn't much different from present-day society... only, you know, it has zombies and stuff - which is something I am almost certain does not exist. Yet.
If zombie romances are your thing, then you absolutely MUST pick up a copy of Warm Bodies. Right now. If they're not your thing, then I would recommend picking up a copy of Warm Bodies. Right now. I have a feeling Marion will change your mind and steal your heart with this novel.
on December 13, 2010
An arresting and occasionally disquietening book above love, life, and eating brains! Yes, the life of a zombie is somewhat mundane, but overlooking the occasional chow down on fellow humans, and how a cerebellum can be tasty pocket snack, I found this book really compelling and interesting to read. A different and intriguing approach, and I couldn't put it down. I could describe it as Twilight with Zombies, but it would be an injustice to the book, which was certainly one of my best reads this year. Recommended highly! A sensitively handled relationship between avowed enemies, it builds to a satisfying climax, and resolution.
on January 12, 2012
I was reluctant to read this book, honestly, after reading that Stephanie Meyer recommended it. I expected it to be directed towards the younger crowd,, and to not have any real substance, so at first I just had the free sample sent to me...
I was HOOKED. If you only read 1 zombie book, let this be the one. This is DEFINATELY worth the 9.99 price! Most zombie books I read once and forget, as they blend in with every other one I have ever read. I can't imagine forgetting this book! I will be reading it again in the future...
I will definately be looking for more from this author. Writers like this are rare... I get excited whenever I run across one of them!
on November 23, 2012
After seeing the movie trailer I thought it looked cool so I researched into to it.(this is the boring part) I decided to buy it after the reviews and the storyline. I admit I was a little skeptical cause there is is so many movies and books and I didn't need another "Walking Dead" (I like that show don't get me wrong) but I decided lets do it, I mean ZOMBIE LOVE PEOPLE! I ordered it on the kindle because I was so excited. The cover art drew me in, and after downloading it, I went in for the kill (pun intended).
I was up from 9:00 PM to 4:00 AM and 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM. I read more than half the book in one night/ morning. Don't be fooled by the humor of the movie trailer, there is humor but so much depth and interest. It pulled me in. If someone asked me if I would read it again, I would look them in the eyes tell them yes and beg them to read it themselves. The personality of R and Julie complement each other so well. I also enjoyed that the zombies had the own kinda (I meant to say kinda) society. I also like that they can think and have memories through the brains they eat. That's where Perry comes in. Even after eating the brain they share a connection that guides R to understand humans and especially Julie. I couldn't believe The amount of love I felt for the characters and this book. I hate that every paranormal romance is compared to Twilight. THIS IS NOT TWILIGHT. This amazing love and connection is something more and also a lesson that humanity did this to ourselves. That we dug our souls so deep the world couldn't take it but the love could save us all.
on March 6, 2012
There's a part of me that can't believe I actually purchased this book. Someone must have HIGHLY recommended it to me as it's a bit out of my usual reading tastes. It's a post- apocalyptic story. The world has been destroyed by floods, wars, corruption, and disease. The last of humanity lives huddled in old sports stadiums to stay safe from the wandering, flesh-eating, brain-sucking zombies.
The protagonist is one of the zombies. And it's written in first-person.
But right from the opening words ("I am dead, but it's not so bad.") his voice works. I LIKE this zombie. He's interesting and charismatic - even as his actual life if boring mixed with extreme violence.
I like the world (the zombies live at an abandoned airport, wander aimlessly (shambling really), and spend large quantities of time staring at walls). I like the zombie's dialogue (they speak in grunts and pauses with an occasional word thrown in (for those that can remember words)). I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our zombie hero and his world and his early changes. Because this Zombie isn't like the others, he's got the barest flicker of emotions.
And he is a `deep' zombie. He can't articulate his thoughts, but there is tons going on in his brain. He philosophizes internally about just about everything. Then he meets a human girl (after eating her boyfriend's brains) and begins to change.
The writing was lovely and precise. I highlighted a couple places just because the sentences were so wonderful.
And yet I found myself somewhat disappointed by the second half of the story.
The book felt like it was trying to be a hugely meaningful, deep exploration of the human condition. But this fell flat for me. If I take away the zombie's internal musings and just look at the movement of the story, there is no meaningful, deep plot. And really, I'd rather have a message be imbedded in the story than just to be `told' to me through the protags thoughts. I like an emotional punch to the gut that I feel first and then have to think through to understand the genesis.
Second, I don't agree with the premise trying to be proved by the meaningful, deep exploration. I found the world as presented as rather depressing (war, greed, etc. led to the current mess). And the conclusions drawn from this blame reliance on conventional wisdom for the decline (We should have been more progressive!). And that to me has political overtones (of conservative vs. liberal). I hate being preached politics in novels. Yuck.
It's also just wrong. I don't believe the problems in our society are because we aren't progressive enough. I think it's because we don't bother to learn from our mistakes (aka History, those with experience - the opposite of what the author was saying).
Also, the story's foreshadowing all pointed to a specific ending. It was really clear to me, and I was looking forward to it as the Zombie's ultimate trial (his cross - as the cross is used symbolically (and the cross line is one of my favorites - so cleverly done)). But the story unfolded a totally different direction and the ending was disappointing - too perfect and kind of silly.
So at the end of the day, I don't know what to make of this book. It was close to being utterly fantastic, but so far from being close that I am left wanting.
Content warning for language, etc.
on February 2, 2013
Truth: I picked up this book because the previews for the movie looked rather hilarious, and up until the previews started airing, I hadn't even known there was a book. As the movie looked like something fun I'd like to see, I did a little research and found out it's another book-turned-movie that has become so popular these past few years. So, I scooped up the novel and read it, hoping for a humorous zombie tale. But, that's not really what I got (reader beware, there are a few spoilers below).
First of all, this is not an original story, in my opinion. It's actually a spinoff of Romeo and Juliet. Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but to call Warm Bodies an original debut, well... that it is not. It's true that it took me until halfway through the book to begin making the connections between the novel and the classic tragedy, but the balcony scene itself, when Julie is recording her thoughts and R is below her unbeknownst, gave it away, especially when Julie made the famous statement about names, which comes directly from Shakespeare.
Here's my breakdown of our cast of characters:
Julie, the only daughter of a well known, high status general=Juliet
Perry, Julie's boyfriend who is killed by R=Paris
Nora, Julie's best friend and confidant=Nurse
R, a moping, depressed zombie looking for the meaning of "life" and who falls instantly for Julie=Romeo
M, R's best friend=Mercutio
Random unlucky guard, who is also killed by R=Tybalt
General, father to Juliet unable to see past his own beliefs=Lord Capulet
Aside from our characters, the two feuding houses from the classic work out to be the humans vs. the zombies. And, as I've already mentioned, there is a balcony scene that follows Shakespeare's scene to a tee. There is instant love, at least in R's case, as well as distant parents, big housing complexes that are dangerous to both Julie and R should they enter the other's housing area and, the list goes on. Hence, this is a spinoff of Romeo and Juliet, with the needed vast changes to make it a spinoff and not a retelling: the weird zombie marriage (Rosaline?) and child adoption, skeleton priests or something of that nature, weird out of body experiences, or, the dead talking to R in his mind, and the lack of "death" at the end.
Now, I said earlier that I went in to this novel thinking it would be funny, and while some aspects did cause me to crack a smile, the novel itself takes on a more serious note than I was expecting. I also found some of it a bit disturbing, and am glad the movie came out with a rating of PG 13 because, in all honesty, I think this book is rated R, what will all the blood and gore and the eating of brains (not what I pictured for a funny zombie tale). Likewise, we don't know how old R is, but right away, he is married to another zombie, and they adopt kids, which is sort of a strange set up. I don't know if this was meant to invoke humor, but it certainly didn't with me. Neither did the talk of zombies trying to have sex with one another. They knew enough to get naked, but their lack of cognitive thought had them naked and slapping their parts together, unable to figure out exactly how to do the deed. That actually made me a bit ill. I mean, there isn't anything humorous in dead, rotting corpses trying to have sex. Not to me.
It is interesting to be inside R's head, though, and he makes some great observations, but overall, the book just didn't do it for me. It's not what I expected, and I think that was half the problem on my end. I expected an almost "make-fun of zombies" type book, not blood, gore, and lengthy out of body experiences that I had trouble following. I also didn't really follow the logic of the zombies turning more human after R's consumption of Perry's brain, or how that consumption allowed the other zombies to begin to transform, either. Therefore, while I think the book had a lot of potential, it fell a bit flat for me, whereas teenagers may find this type of book very funny, indeed--at least, I was trying to explain the grossness of a scene to a teenager and she thought it was absolutely hilarious, so.
Now, when it comes to the movie, I have to say the director actually was fairly spot on with his interpretation. I was thinking that the movie, at least, would be funnier and probably less serious than the book ended up being, but I was wrong on that account, too. The book and movie parallel each other quite nicely; they're very similar, and I think the acting was decent (though I do think the zombies moved a little too fast and fluidly in the very beginning, but that's beside the point). Levine did a great job following the book, though a few changes were implemented here and there, such as the removal of much of the blood and gore, as well as doing away with most of the Perry/R conversations, the zombie marriage, and the sex, to name a few. Kudos to Levine for that, because I think I would have walked out of the theater, otherwise. Gross. But, as I didn't really care for the book all that much, and the movie and book are basically the same, I have to say I didn't really care for either, in all honesty.
on February 2, 2013
I guess I was just expecting a lot out of this book from the beginning.
Most of the book was very slow for me. Some parts were even painful to
read, and I really just wanted to skip pages. But I absolutely love the
characters which made me REALLY want to love this book, but I just couldn't.
If it weren't for the realness of the characters, I know I wouldn't of
been able to finish this book.
on April 23, 2013
I'll be honest, I wanted to read this book because I watched the movie, liked it a lot, and wanted to know more things about the male lead, R. For those who haven't seen the movie nor read the book, the story is about this friendly zombie, R, who falls in love with a girl, Julie, and tries to keep her by his side, safe and sound, at all costs. He starts changing from the moment he meets her, and that change progresses along the story until he's alive again.
I really enjoyed R's fascination with Julie, even if she is a damaged character and has her faults, but R couldn't care less, he is mesmerized by her, by everything she does and says from the very beginning, and this is the catalyst for his change from a human flesh eating corpse to an alive and kicking human being again---which can be seen as romantic in a totally morbid and creepy way.
As for Julie, I was extremely surprised to find a quite different version of the character in the book after seeing the movie, book-Julie is a lot more... distant, harsh, and like I said before, damaged, she clearly has been through a lot, and some of her past actions made my jaw drop.
In a way I got what I wanted, because the book told me new things about R, and about the whole process of becoming alive, but I have to confess, and I can't believe I'm going to say this, but for me the movie was actually better than the book. There, I said it. Feel free to slap me across the face, I'm sure I deserve it.
The thing is, in the movie the story is pretty much all there, and as I see it, improved by the changes made in some characters, not just with Julie, but with Marcus too---he's quite the pervert in the book, and I'd rather remember him as the movie-version.
Slap me again but I say, if you just watch the movie, you're good.
(I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley. Thanks, guys!)