Thursday, June 23, 2011

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Published by Atria Books on April 26, 2011

I finished this book awhile ago, but I've been avoiding writing my review. The only reason I can think of is that I really don't want my first read glow to go away. You know that time after you read a really spectacular book when you're just sitting around, thinking about how wonderful it was and going over passages you loved? I think I've been doing that for two weeks now. Every time I think about Warm Bodies, I wonder at how good it was.

Warm Bodies follows R, a zombie unlike those we normally read about. R thinks, deeply, about things, speaks five syllables in a row, and has real dreams. He can't remember his life, but has a fascination with life; longing to know who he was and what he did. When R eats the brain of a teenage boy, he experiences flashbacks into the boy's life, mostly featuring his first love, Julie. R becomes enthralled with Julie and they begin a tenuous relationship unlike any in this barren world before. As Julie and R become closer, both experience impossible changes; changes that could possibly affect the entire world.

Words cannot explain how much I loved R and his voice. From the first page, I knew his narration was different. Because he can't speak but a word or two at a time, most of his narration comes straight from his thoughts. There are pages filled with R simply talking about what he does all day, and it's riveting stuff. My favorite descriptions come when he talks about groaning:
 "Focused thought is a rare occurrence here...Otherwise we'd just be standing around and groaning all day. We do a lot of standing around and groaning. Years pass this way."
 R is also genuine and eager. Perhaps this is because he's dead, and things can't really get much worse? Whatever reason, it makes him endearing and utterly likeable, despite being a zombie. It's hard to believe I would ever feel anything but disgust for a zombie, but it happened with this book.

I also liked Julie. A lot. She's a kick-butt kind of girl, the kind we don't get to read about much in books where the protagonist is male. The girl can take care of herself. She's also got a sense of humor, something that many authors would be tempted to eliminate when writing a serious zombie novel.

Can I also point out that I love that it's a standalone book? Don't get me wrong, I'm a major series lover. But I also love to see a book written towards young adults that isn't a series. I like the way it ended; it was open in a way the reader can interpret for themselves, but in a slightly leading way.

Isaac Marion is taking a different approach to the zombie novel, one that could have been disastrous. Warm Bodies is anything but. It is well-written, poignant, funny, and memorable. Easily my favorite read this year.

Risk a paper cut? ANY INJURY INFLICTED DURING THE READING OF THIS BOOK IS ABSOLUTELY AND UTTERLY WORTH IT. Do not let the idea of a book narrated by a zombie fool you; this book is excellent.

To buy:  Amazon
             Barnes & Noble

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