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I Belong

Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Title: Warm Bodies

Author: Isaac Marion

Genre: Dystopian

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 26, 2011

Format: Hardcover, 256 Pages

ISBN-10: 1439192316 (Atria)

ISBN-13: 978-1439192313 (Atria)


R is a young man with an existential crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. His ability to connect with the outside world is limited to a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing.

After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His choice to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world. Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies explores what happens when the cold heart of a zombie is tempted by the warmth of human love.

Quick & Dirty: The charming characters and captivating storyline deliver a dramatic tale of survival.  Warm Bodies is thought-provoking and highly original.

Opening Sentence: I am dead, but it’s not so bad.

Excerpt: Chapter 1

The Review:

R is a zombie.  He’s still struggling with his role as a zombie in a world where humanity borders on extinction.  He doesn’t know his name.  He can’t even remember what his human life was like or how long he’s been a zombie.  R assumes that he hasn’t been a zombie for a long time because his flesh hasn’t started to rot and he hasn’t lost any body parts.  R spends his time going through the motions of living, but feeling vast and absolute emptiness.  Wandering aimlessly, grunting and moaning, shrugging and nodding, shuffling, and sometimes speaking a few words, the life of a zombie isn’t all that exciting.  He lives in an abandoned airport outside a large city with his fellow zombie brethren.  Maybe out of habit or some distant memory, the zombies have created some social structure in their airport camp.  The zombies have a creepy church, weird marriage ceremonies, adoption for parentless zombie children, and school to teach zombie children how to hunt and kill among other things — useful skills for any self respecting zombie.  One day, feeling empty and dead inside, and craving brains, R decides to form a hunting party.  When R bites into the cerebrum of his latest victim, Perry, he is flooded and overwhelmed by Perry’s memories.  Driven by some uncontrollable need, R decides to save Julie, Perry’s girlfriend.  He takes her back to his zombie camp, and the beginnings of a friendship begin to form.  R and Julie set out on a journey, forging an unbreakable bond.  Will they find answers to the zombie plague?  Can humanity be saved?  Is the struggle to survive for the living and the dead worth it?

I’m pleased to say that Warm Bodies is an amazing story.  Warm Bodies easily appeals to hardcore zombie fans as well as those who are skeptical of the genre.  My approach to reading this story was quite simple – major suspension of disbelief.  Turns out, I was wrong.  I found myself believing the setup and quickly becoming invested in the story.  The synopsis had me intrigued.  Admittedly, I was skeptical myself when I read the press release included with the review request.  Can a zombie really have a relationship with a human?  How will they be able to communicate?  What about — dare I say it, SEX?  Mr. Marion did an excellent job answering these questions.  While all of my questions weren’t answered, it was okay.  It worked in the context of this compelling story told from the POV of a zombie.  I was left with a profound feeling of sadness and joy as I read the final pages.  Warm Bodies is a thought-provoking story that will challenge you to think outside the box.

For me, the story of survival was just a backdrop for the equally compelling storyline — the relationship between R and Julie.  It took some time for Julie to warm up to R and the idea that he really wanted to protect her, even if it meant getting himself killed again.  This time his death would be more fatal.  R and Julie have a beautiful and convincing relationship.  Both characters are a combination of strength and vulnerability, and are easily likable despite some of their actions.

In all its unpleasantness, Warm Bodies manages to be more than a chronicle of fetid zombies shambling about, looking for the next kill.  The concept of Warm Bodies is highly original and the opening chapters of the book are the most riveting that I’ve read in awhile.  The writing is simply beautiful and sets the tone for the rest of the story.  I’m very impressed with how this story is written.  This is a testament to Mr. Marion’s ability to make you care for R and his zombie crew.  I found myself struggling with picking a winner and loser.  You would think the easy choice would be to choose the living, but the dead simply can’t be forgotten.  R is a unique narrator and he was able to bring a humanizing element to the plight of the zombies.

Overall, Warm Bodies is an excellent entry into the zombie genre.  This dystopian world is bleak, harsh and frightening.  This story beautifully captures the struggles for identity, belonging and surviving for both the living and the dead.  Warm Bodies will keep readers on the edge of their seats asking and answering difficult questions.  Imaginative characters and quirky dialog make this a captivating read.  Mr. Marion pens a fast-paced and well written novel that readers will devour.

Notable Scene:

As we approach their level of the building, some of us start groaning loudly, and the Living hear us.  One of them shouts the alarm and I hear guns cocking, but we don’t hesitate.  We burst through a final door and rush them.  M grunts when he sees how many there are, but he lunges with me at the nearest man and grabs his arms while I rip out his throat.  The burning red taste of blood floods my mouth.  The sparkle of life sprays out of his cells like citrus mist from an orange peel, and I suck it in.

The darkness of the room is pulsing with gunfire, and by our standards we are grossly outnumbered — there are only three of us to every one of them — but something is tipping things in our favor.  Our manic speed is uncharacteristic of the Dead, and our prey are not prepared for it.  Is this all coming from me?  Creatures without desire don’t usually move quickly, but they’re following my lead, and I am an angry whirlwind.  What has come over me? Am I just having a bad day?

There is one other factor working to our advantage.  These Living are not seasoned veterans.  They are young.  Teenagers, mostly.  Boys and girls.  One of them has such gruesome acne he’s likely to get shot by mistake in this flickering light.  Their leader is a slightly older kid with a patchy beard, standing on a cubicle desk in the middle of the room and shouting panicked commands to his men.  As they fall to the floor under the weight of our hunger, as dots of blood pointilize the walls, this boy leans protectively over a small figure crouched below him on the desk.  A girl, young and blond, bracing her bird-boned shoulder against her shotgun as she fires blindly into the dark.

I lope across the room and grab the boy’s boots.  I pull his feet out from under him and he falls, cracking his head on the edge of the desk.  Without hesitation I pounce on him and bite through his neck.  Then I dig my fingers into the crack in his skull, and pry his head open like an eggshell.  His brain pulses hot and pink inside.  I take a deep, wide, ravenous bite and —

Warm Bodies:

1. Warm Bodies

You can visit Isaac around the web here: Website | Twitter

FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of Warm Bodies.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.

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Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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One Response to “Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

  1. LadybugNo Gravatar

    Great review! “I’m pleased to say that Warm Bodies is an amazing story. Warm Bodies easily appeals to hardcore zombie fans as well as those who are skeptical of the genre.” I couldn’t agree more if I tried, well put.

    I loved this book!

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