Monday, December 10, 2012

Carla's Thoughts - Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Published by Atria on 26 April 2011


I detest zombie books with a passion I usually reserve for people who talk with their mouths full or people who don’t like the taste of alcohol.   There is something about wanting to eat someone’s grey matter that just doesn't appeal to me; all the oozing and decaying and poor dental hygiene. YIKES. But then Angie reviewed it and well, that girl has never steered me wrong. And she was right; this is a zombie book that isn't a zombie book.

R is a zombie. A brand spanking new zombie (well, as new as you can get when you’re dead and eating people instead of mac and cheese) if his state of decay is anything to go by. Because the thing is, R can’t actually remember. He can’t remember how long he’s been this way, unchanging. He can’t even remember his name, only that it begins with an R (well, he thinks it does).  R spends his time shuffling around an abandoned airport with a group of ‘friends’ and making regular trips into the world to find some decent leg of human or arm of child (undead, naturally) and that’s about it. His days are filled with nothing but the stench of death until one day they become filled with wonder and you know? wonder doesn't die, wonder comes in the shape of a human girl called Julie, who R decides to keep. And the world shifts.

wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did; like R, I shuffled my way through the first couple of chapters completely indifferent not thinking or feeling much. And then there was a shift, a quiet shift that took me wholly by surprise, and I was full of wonder. This tiny book about a boy who doesn't even have a name consumed my every thought. From the way that R lamented his lost humanity and the hope that Julie emanated, I was all in.

The message Marion conveys isn't all that elusive; you know from the start the metaphorical meaning of this zombie wasteland and even though at points it did feel a little too heavy handed, not once did it diminish my love for this book. Warm Bodies hit my sweet spot – prose that was hauntingly lush and beautiful. The narrative works perfectly; we get to see R’s wry observations and witness his obvious discomfort with his state of undead. He is a zombie who doesn’t want to be a zombie. Because R is different; somewhere inside his zombie brain there is a part of him that got left behind and man, if it isn't beautiful to watch unfold. Because what we are left with is hope shining bright on the horizon, lighting everything up. A beautiful debut. 

p.s. just in case you didn't know, Warm Bodies is coming to a theatre near you in 2013.



11 comments:

  1. I just picked up this book last week. I also am not a huge fan of zombie books, not that I hate them or anything. But I saw the preview for the movie, and decided to give it a try. I haven't gotten to it yet, though. Glad to hear you really enjoyed it.

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    1. you should definitely give it a try.

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  2. Unlike you, I happen to be a huge fan of zombie fiction but seeing as zombies are now the coolest things, I've gotten a bit tired of the same ol' flesh and brains plotlines. THIS, however, feels unique and fresh. And the fact that it's a loose adaptation of Romeo & Juliet makes it even better. I actually hadn't even heard of it until I saw the trailer and I was instantly in love. I'm really happy to see that Marion was able to convert you!

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    1. I am such a genre snob it's pathetic. i tend to stick to contemporary fiction so i think this was the perfect book for me because it didn't go heavy handed with the eating people thing.

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  3. Awesome review, Carla! I had this one out from the library but never got around to it. I will definitely be putting it on hold again! I'm still trying to warm up to zombies, but this one definitely sounds interesting. :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. why thank you kristilyn - definitely put it back on hold. i don't think i'll ever get as hot for zombies as i did for R

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  4. I've only read one zombie book so far and don't plan on reading anymore soon but this...this sounds interesting. It sounds like Courtney Summers' This is Not A Test (which I've yet to read but sits on my shelf) in the way that even though it is a zombie book, it's not about zombies per se. I don't really get the zombie appeal but the fact that you detest zombie books with a passion speaks VOLUMES. Will look into this one :)

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    1. i started reading this is not a test and freaked myself out and stopped reading. I AM A WIMP. this is definitely a book for people who don't like zombies - it's more about trying to get back to humanity.

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  5. I have this book! CARLA, I WANT TO READ IT. And the fact that cute Billy Joe Armstrong lookalike guy is playing Zombie R in the movie doesn't deter me from this at all. That is one cutie pie zombie. Please move here so we can see it together mmk thanks.

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    1. I WANT TO LIVE CLOSE TO YOU SO BADLY.

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  6. The reason I really want to read this is because I saw the movie trailer! I don't read very many zombie books, but this sounds interesting enough :)

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