11 March 2013

Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion

Published: 28 October 2010 by Vintage

Pages: 240 (paperback)

Genre/s: Zombie

Source: Own library

Synopsis


A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

My Thoughts

I've owned Warm Bodies for a long time, but I was always a little wary of reading it.  After all, I'm a self-confessed zombie purist - it takes a lot to convince me that a zombie doesn't need to be a shambling Romero-esque brain muncher to make a good zombie book.  But with the release of the movie I thought it was time to put aside my qualms and give Warm Bodies a try.

I thought R was fantastic - he can't remember his past, but deep down he knows that brain-slurping isn't the only way forward, and he conciously makes a decision not to eat Julie when he discovers her hiding out with some other humans - instead he takes her back to his home and keeps her safe from the other zombies that want to eat her.  Julie is my favourite kind of zombie-heroine - she's tough, brave and not afraid to speak her mind - even to a zombie.  I loved how their friendship/relationship developed gradually during the course of the book, making Julie very realistic - after all, falling in love with a zombie can't be an instant thing.

The world has obviously been changed by the zombie-apocalypse, but I loved Isaac Marion's take on the whole thing - it's different to nearly every other zombie-world that I've read, and definitely gave me food for thought, particularly in regards to HOW the world came to be, and how the humans had carved out a way of surviving.  There are so many things that I would love to talk about in terms of the world-building, but it would be pretty spoilerish, so I'm going to steer away from it, but there's a few particular scenes that really took me by surprise.  

My fears about a zombie-perspective were, as it turns out, completely unfounded.  Mr. Marion takes the idea that zombies are brain-dead, non-feeling corpses and turns that on it's head, and although there are some stereotypical zombies, there are other events that really don't fall into the typical genre ideas, and they are particularly ingenious.

Along with the perspective, the standard of the writing really wowed me - zombie books can often fall into a stereotype when it comes to the actual words and the way they can convey the story, but in Warm Bodies I found a style that I really really liked.

The only one thing that let me down a little was the ending - and now that there's another book to come, perhaps it would work better, but it did feel a little rushed and there wasn't really a satisfactory conclusion for me, although it's obvious the intent was not to tie everything up neatly.

Warm Bodies completely surpassed my expectations - an exceptional writing style, unusual and fantastic characterisation and some awesome zombie ideas.

16 comments:

  1. That's a reassuring review! I'm a zombie-purist myself, so I haven't known whether to trust everyone's positive reviews but knowing that you enjoyed it might be enough to encourage me to finally give it a go!

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    1. It was my biggest concern with this book by far. Oh and the whole icky romance bit ;) but it's not overly zombie, if you get what I mean!

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  2. I read Warm Bodies last month and then watched the movie. They are both amazing. I loved Isaac Marion's writing style and world and character building.
    The movie changed a lot of incidents in the book or eliminated them altogether.
    But it was still good
    GREAT review, Kat
    Your reader,
    Soma
    http://insomnia-of-books.blogspot.com/

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    1. I'll definitely be checking out the movie now that I've read the book :)

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  3. I enjoyed this book as well. I really liked the uniqueness of the story.

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    1. It's definitely unique, and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much.

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  4. oh wow 4.5. I'm like you and very wary of this one, making zombies thinking and feeling things is just weird to me. But after seeing the Aussie Zombie give it such a wonderful rating I am going to have to rethink my stance on it. I am definitely curious about what took you by surprise in the world building. Your review is better than a book jacket!

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    1. I want my zombies to eat brains not hug people!

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  5. I am one of the few who doesn't really enjoy this book. It's not badly written or anything but I guess I'm a Zombie purist, I just didn't find it as enjoyable as someone who might not be as into the genre as I am. I suppose this is one of the many reasons why I haven't seen the movie either...Great review though. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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    1. It's a complete borderline love/dislike book, and I can totally appreciate why you didn't enjoy it that much, but I think the world-building and the writing made up for the fact I don't think zombies should feel!

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    2. I can understand that. Like I said not a badly written book, just not particularly a fan :) Maybe some day years from now I'll reread it, that would be interesting to do.

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  6. I may not be a traditional zombie purist, though I will say, those types tend to be my favourite. The deviations Marion took from traditional zombie tropes didn't really bother me all that much in this book. Honestly, I look at Warm Bodies like it's a zombie book that isn't really a zombie book. I just thought the writing was spectacular, the story was beautiful and R was one of the most engaging characters I've seen in a very long time. Plus, as a HUGE Shakespeare fan, I have to give Marion majour props for writing the most creative Romeo & Juliet retelling the world has ever seen.

    If you haven't seen the movie, you totally should. I will say this though: it's a bit more YA than the book is in that it's super cheeky and fun. I thought the book had a bit more of a darker tone.

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  7. I just saw the movie last week and it made me want to read the book. I thought it touched on a lot of great ideas and I wondered if the book was able to explore them further.

    My DH is a zombie "purist" and he enjoyed the movie. It's funny when we both read a zombie book he's "it was great except for the romance" & I'm "It was good but I wish there was a little romance" lol

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  8. I was so against this book for the same exact reasons, but after seeing and thoroughly enjoying the movie, I need to give this one a try. It sounds like I won't be disappointed.

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  9. I haven't read this book, but I have seen the movie. I absolutely loved the movie, and thought it far exceeded my expectations. Of course, now I really want to read the book. But from everything I've heard, I can only imagine I'll love the book even more!

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  10. I really want to read this one! I've seen the movie because my boyfriend read the book and loved it (and he never reads). So I'm really hoping it lives up my expectations. I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much!

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