Wednesday 13 February 2013

Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

In One Line:  Romeo and Juliet, if Romeo were dead to begin with.

Genre: zom-rom-com!

The Gist:

Our narrator, who only remembers the first letter of his name (which is R, probably to be pronounced Rrrrrr) is dead. Walking dead. He lopes about his airport home, moans and grunts to his best mate M (Mmmmm), and sometimes just sits for hours at a time on baggage conveyor belts. Oh, and he eats people, just like all good zombies do. One particular brain gorge leads him to the memories of Perry, and along with it the memories of Perry’s girlfriend Julie, who is apparently next on the zombie menu. Fuelled not only with Perry’s memories but also with his own feelings, R saves Julie instead of eating her, and then takes her back home with him. What follows is the story of an unconventional awakening, and burgeoning love. 

The Cover:

First things first, we’re talking about the real cover here, not the film cover. I generally have an aversion to film covers, just so you know. This is a very classy grown-up affair, which is all very well seeing as this book rightfully sits in adult horror sections rather than YA. The problem with this cover is that it just doesn’t convey how funny this book is. Because it is funny. Really funny. 

The Good Points
  • Shining through the horror and the brutal grotesque of this book is a beautiful sweetness that really takes you by surprise. It’s really the best way to sell this book: “yes it’s a zombie romance, but it’s actually really clever and sweet!” You just end up caring So Much, and that’s a marvellously unique thing when you’re dealing with the undead.
  • A story that could so easily be silly and frankly ridiculous is told with a remarkable intelligence. It is sincere and wonderful, and it is this that makes it so much more than a book with zombies in it. 
  • There is something rather nicely parable-like about the story. It doesn’t get thrown in your face at any point (thank goodness) but I saw a message of awakening from the baggage conveyor belt of life and breaking through to a more present state of being. Or something like that.
  • Julie is brilliant. She’s spunky, sensitive, and damaged, but only in the way that all girls basically are. It’s refreshing to have a female love interest character who isn’t perfect, who is loved for her flaws instead of in spite of them. Go Julie, you rock! 
The Not-So-Good Points
  • You will probably end up having The Feels for a zombie, and some of you may not be entirely comfortable with that. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it. I was all like “what does it say about my self esteem if I’m falling for a guy that isn’t even alive?!” but then I realised that what I was actually in love with was the idea of a guy giving up his compulsion to eat brains just for me. Because shucks, that’s kinda romantic. Essentially it’s the Edward Cullen effect: this weird supernatural stalkery guy loves me so much that he’s going to give up EVERYTHING for me. And yes, it’s not real, and yes it’s a silly fantasy, but isn’t that what these kind of books are for after all?
  • So this book has a bit of a Romeo and Juliet thing going on, except that this completely passed me by at first, despite our main characters being called R and Julie. But if this passes you by too no worries, because the writer basically hits you across the head with a plank by giving you a proper balcony scene. Honestly, this bit stood out like the punchline in a bad joke. I hated it. I mean, I get it, it’s the balcony scene, but the lack of subtlety just made me want to hurl the book across the room (which wouldn’t have been wise as I read it on my kindle). This scene was basically the reason I gave the book four stars instead of five on Goodreads. 
  • The ending is a bit to and fro (don't worry, no spoilers!!!) - as in, first they leave the stadium, and then they go back, and then they leave again, and then they go back once more. If this was done in a funny way then this would have been fine, but it’s not really that funny. It’s just a bit confused really.
The Hypersomnia Test:

I inhaled this book. The warmth, and the humour and the unexpected sweetness just made me want it to never end. There was basically no hope of me falling asleep whilst all this was going on. 

Final Verdict:

I swear to you this book was actually written for me. I absolutely loved it (apart from that one scene I may have mentioned above). I want all books to be like this. Heck, I probably wouldn’t mind if my next boyfriend has a fetish for grey matter because of this book. I just hope that the film does it justice, because it really is an intelligent and engaging read. Our zombie narrator has a level of brevity and pathos that is as engaging as his wit and I truly hope that this isn’t lost on the silver screen, as it's this that makes the romance so believable. 

Further Reading:

World War Z by Max Brooks
Horns by Joe Hill
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan


  1. I've been reading such good things about this book. I really must pick it up.

  2. I just saw the film at the weekend and started reading the book, and the R+J stuff is really annoying me (I completely thought that it was going to end up with his name being Romeo and that would've ruined everything for me), but I'm really enjoying the book so far :) I'm excited about getting properly into it now! Thanks :)