‘Warm bodies is a recent, unique take on the zombie genre. The narrating character of the novel is R; a slightly rotted zombie. He does not know his name, where he came from, what he once was and nothing of the world before he became a zombie. R’s story is told through the novel, his thoughts on the groaning companions he has and a life he is trying to make sense of. On a typical hunting trip to “eat some brains” R stumbles among a group of young humans. When these zombies eat a person’s brain they gain snippets of feelings and experiences of that person and R experiences some strong, vivid snippets of the person who loved Julie. The Julie who happens to be in the corner of the room. He is compelled to save her and does so at both their risks. Life begins to change for R and this book tells the adventure he embarks on in order to ‘change the world’.
I’m going to say straight off that I LOVED this book! When I picked it up in my local bookshop and read the back I just knew that I had to read it, and bought it straight away! The first thing that drew me to the book was purely the fact that it was written from the viewpoint of a zombie – I thought that would be cool to read. The second thing was the fact that the book seemed to be about romance between R and Julie. Again, I’ve never read a book where the zombies fall in love and was very intrigued.
From the first page I immediately appreciated the dry humor that is scattered throughout the book. Quotes such as “my friend M says the irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny but you can’t laugh because your lips have rotten off” made me laugh out loud. Along with the humor is the disgusting aspects that any zombie book or movie has to include. I mean you can’t read about brain eating zombies without a bit of gore right? I found it all to be appropriate and not overdone. Of course the main aspect of the book was the romance and this was written fantastically. There were so many touching moments in the novel and it was a change to read romantic scenes that did not have any sex in them!
Underneath the humorous undertones there is a deep-rooted message embedded in the novel. It is about life, and the value of life is shown by writing about death. Throughout the book, R tries to get in touch with humanity and it did make me appreciate life. Simple things such as the ‘absence of airplanes in the sky’ and ‘the street cluttered with one final traffic jam’ make the reader look at the life we are living. The books shows what the author feels could happen to humanity if nothing changes, the thought that we could destroy our own world. R’s fight for the girl he loves and life is so touching and I really loved his character and what he was fighting for deep down.
All the characters really ‘belonged’ in the story. I like how R evaluated and observed what happened around him and how he acted to his instincts without churning every thought over and over. Julie was a feisty character in the book, very strong and really quite fearless despite being taken care of by a zombie. She showed no issues telling them to “fuck off” when the need did arise. I liked her weaker moments showing through; the scene where they visit her mother’s empty grave really showed through the tough exterior. I like reading her character unfold and develop through the book. Another favourite character was R’s best friend M. A zombie who cared deeply about his looks and who like the lady zombies! I found him to be a great, funny character!
Marion is really an amazing author to incorporate all these genres and meanings into one short book that is primarily about zombies. I have a feeling that this world will not be returned too, but it is not one I will easily forget. I rate this book 5/5 and will most certainly check out more of Marion’s work in the future.