Book: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Description: First book in YA post-apocalyptic series
Publishing Information: Released April 26, 2011 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
First Sentence: I am dead, but it’s not so bad.
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R is having a no-life crisis – he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. he may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.
And then he meets a girl.
First as his captive, then his reluctant guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl – although she looks delicious – he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.
“what’s the point of trying to fix a world we’re in so briefly? Where’s the meaning in all that work if it’s just going to disappear? Without any warning?”
Cover Review: The cover I have certainly isn’t my favorite edition of this cover, but it’s definitely a lot better than the movie tie-in. My copy actually glitters a little, which is cool, but I don’t know if that was supposed to happen or if somehow I spilled glitter on it. Ah, well.
I have mixed feelings on this book. It’s one of those few books that actually lives up to it’s cover blurb (described as “gruesome yet poetic” by The Seattle Times) but I also wasn’t completely blown away.
After reading the first fifty pages or so I was convinced that this was going to be a new favorite. The narrative was so beautifully hilarious, and I couldn’t wait to read more. However, it almost seems as if Marion made sure that you were in love with the book for the first few chapters, and then once he had you committed to wanting to know what happened he just stopped. It’s not the the writing style became bad after that – it still had its moments – but it was very, very different from the beautiful and somehow hysterical opening chapters.
I am dead, but it’s not so bad. I’ve learned to live with it. I’m sorry I can’t properly introduce myself, but I don’t have a name anymore. Hardly any of us do. We lose them like car keys, forget them like anniversaries. Mine might have started with an “R”, but that’s all I have now. It’s funny because back when I was alive, I was always forgetting other people’s names. My friend “M” says the irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can’t smile, because your lips have rotted off.
There were other things I really liked about the narrative throughout the entire book, though. As R is a zombie, he’s come to know a lot about the human body and a lot of times will describe things using scientific terms for body parts, which somehow just makes everything seem more beautiful and poetic. Music also ended up playing a large role in this book, and the way a song could be tied into a scene and then referenced throughout many chapters really struck me. I almost wish that this element had been used more.
I feel her cheek move against my chest, her zygomaticus major pulling her lips into a faint smile.
Getting to the “gruesome” part of The Seattle Times’s analysis, there certainly were some pretty detailed descriptions of people, well, being eaten. However, I don’t think this was too overdone, as it is a zombie novel. There were some other elements in the story, however, that were just strange and I didn’t find them necessary to include at all.
I can’t deny that this book was really interesting. It was such a quick read, and there was always something going on. I had never read a zombie book before, let alone one from a zombie’s perspective, and I found R’s thoughts to be incredibly well-written and easy to read while still being incredibly intelligent.
The dialogue frustrated me a little bit. I got used to it eventually, but when you’re reading pages of zombie conversations with three ellipses per sentence, it gets a little old. To the… point where you… want to rip your… hair out.
My next issue is kind of a pro and a con because I’m picky and indecisive like that, I guess. Nowadays when you’re reading a dystopian or post-apocalyptic book, the entire world history is spelled out pretty clear for you so that you have an understand of how terrible and messed-up the book is. This book didn’t really have much of that at all. You weren’t given a clear picture of how the world got to the point that it was being taken over by zombies and everyone is dying. In some ways, I really liked this. When you think about it, why should the book have to go into detail about the world? This book wasn’t about the world and worrying about the environment. It was a zombie who fell in love with a human, so that’s what it talked about.
In other ways, though, I really didn’t like it. I’m such a nosy person, I suppose, that I demand answers. Like, how in the world do you not have any food but you have cars that can drive around like normal and a charged iPod? And why is everyone holed up in stadiums, hiding, when zombies can be so easily killed?
The characters were pretty well-developed when you consider the fact that all we’re learning about them is told to us through the eyes of a zombie. I didn’t particularly like Julie because she just felt really indecisive to me. I could only describe her as… angrily optimistic?
There were some really great side characters, and I really wish that some of the little side plots had been more developed and involved in the book. It definitely could’ve been a lot longer and interesting if we were given more little storylines and see how this new reality affected different people, like the foster kids that seemed really sweet but were only mentioned maybe two times?
Still, this book definitely has its moments. Have I mentioned how poetic it could be?
“Hi,” she says.
“I’m new here.”
“My name’s Perry.”
She smiles. “I’m Julie.”
She smiles. Her eyes glitter. “I’m Julie.”
She smiles. I glimpse her braces. Her eyes are classic novels and poetry. “I’m Julie,” she says.
Overall, I wasn’t completely swept off my feet by this one, but it definitely was an interesting new perspective and unlike anything I’ve read before; it made for a really great Halloween-ish read! If it sounds good to you, I think it’s worth checking out. I enjoyed reading it even though I had my problems with it. I know that there is a prequel out which may clear up some of what created this terrifying world, and the sequel is coming out in 2016. I definitely plan to pick those two up at some point, although they’re not necessarily something I feel like I need to order/pre-order right now.