REVIEW: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

WARNING: NOT REALLY SPOILERS BUT A LOT OF QUOTES. THEY DON’T REALLY RUIN ANY SURPRISES.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Fiction/ Zombies, Pages: 256, Level: Easy/ Intermediate

Book Description from Barnes & Noble:

“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 house 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.”

It amazes me how there are so many different zombie novels out there and yet I can still find one that is completely different. Warm Bodies is told from the point of view of a zombie. He cannot remember his name, only that it began with an R. So that is his name- R. The book begins with R explaining how he spends his time. Then on a hunt for food, he finds more than he expected; he finds Julie. Suddenly R begins to change. R begins to feel alive again.

Why did I state the level to be Easy/ Intermediate? There is Latin in it- “Quod tu es, ego fui, quod ego sum, tu eris. What you are, I once was. What I am, you will become.” The opening quote is from Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative by Herbert Mason and sort of a quote from The Epic of Gilgamesh (I’ll let you figure this one out on your own). And the possible discussion topics… I’ll get to that later. If you are reading purely for entertainment, it is an easy read. If you enjoy a little higher meaning in your books from time to time, it can be an intermediate read.

Easy

Do zombies listen to music? Do zombies eat regular food? Does a zombie have to pee and poop? Do zombies get married? You’ll get the answers to all these and more. But I am sure all of you fellow warped people are thinking the same question but don’t want to ask it out loud. So I will do it for you. Do zombies have sex? After reading this book, not only will you know the answer to that question, you’ll probably wish you could stop mentally picturing the answer to that question. Ew. Just ew.

And there is a lot of humor in the book. Okay, most of it is dry humor, especially since you are talking about corpses, some of which have been dead and dried up for several years, but it is humor nonetheless.

For purely entertainment, the best part is probably the love story. Everybody knows that if you take any story and add zombies to it, that story only gets better. That goes double for love stories. As with the characters in the book, I found myself falling in love with R.

Intermediate

How is Warm Bodies a metaphor for modern society?

I’m not kidding, if I were a teacher and I assigned this book to read, that would be the essay question for the final exam.

Give it a technological spin-

We may appear mindless, but we aren’t. The rusty cogs of cogency still spin, just geared down and down till the outer motion is barely visible. We grunt and groan, we shrug and nod, and sometimes a few words slip out. It’s not that different from before.

How about a little more philosophical-

This curse… I think it’s from a deeper place. I think we brought it here… I think we crushed ourselves down over the centuries. Buried ourselves under greed and hate and whatever other sins we could find until our souls finally hit the rock bottom of the universe.

Man, I wish this had been one of my high school assignments. I would have aced it!

Writing

The writing is just phenomenal. This zombie novel is profound, intelligent and eloquent. I’m sure you don’t hear that often. So let’s hear profound-

Who is she, this girl? What is she? She is everything. Her body contains the history of life, remembered in chemicals. Her mind contains the history of the universe, remembered in pain, in joy and sadness, hate and hope and bad habits, every thought of God, past-present-future, remembered, felt, and hope for all at once.

Now let’s hear intelligent-

How can I possibly explain this to her in words? The slow death of Quixote. The abandoning of quests, the surrendering of desires, the settling in and settling down that is the inevitable fate of the Dead.

I love that quote because it references one of my favorite literary characters, Don Quixote de la Mancha. Finally, let’s hear eloquent and my favorite quote in the book-

In my mind I am eloquent; I can climb intricate scaffolds of words to reach the highest cathedral ceilings and paint my thoughts. But when I open my mouth, it all collapses.

That is just beautiful. And I am sure every human being has felt that way at some point in their life. But what makes that quote so exceptional to me, is that the author had to have experienced it. Then he wrote it down perfectly. Does that make sense? While I used each quote above to illustrate a specific attribute, I think we all understand they are a combination of many. That’s what makes the writing all the more spectacular.

Trust me, that is a small sample of the amazing quotes and writing. I didn’t even include the quote about the memory of a birth and I thought that one was exquisite. I read a library copy and have bookmarks all over the place marking the quotes I want to highlight.

Conclusion

I am purchasing the book in hardcover so I can mark it up and re-read it. I added it to my top ten favorite books of all time. And I am giving the book five stars. I obviously highly recommend Warm Bodies.

I’ll leave you with one last question-

Once you’ve arrived at the end of the world, it hardly matters which route you took.

Is that true?

Reviewed by Christina

UPDATE 9/10/2013: Here is another really good review- Warm Bodies Review by MegaMad4Books

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly about this book! It’s definitely one of my faves as well I think it’s beautifully written. Have you read the novella yet?

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