30 in ’13: Warm Bodies

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I just want to preface this review by telling you one of my goals for 2013. My goal is to have finished thirty books. Unfortunately reading for pleasure has taken a back seat to a lot of other ‘grown up’ things, but I figured if I want to be serious about my writing, then I need to be serious about my reading. So, without further incessant droning from yours truly, let’s begin.

The first book of my literary journey is Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies and let me tell you, this book is downright marvelous. Over the years different creatures of the night have been remade and retooled. Werewolves have taken different forms, vampires have become sparkly, and Frankenstein has had a few makeovers but what about zombies? What’s really going on in those brain-crazed heads of theirs? Marion’s debut novel delves into the mind of one special member of the undead and proves that just because zombies eat your brains doesn’t mean they don’t feel bad about it.

R is having a no-life crisis – he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.

And then he meets a girl.

First as his captive, then his reluctant guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl- although she looks delicious – he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.

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What I liked most about this book was the way that Marion was able to seamlessly blend multiple genres together with fresh spins on both. So often we’re shown the ruins of civilization when the zombie apocalypse happens but never have the living been painted as the monsters. It was interesting to be given a front row seat to the apocalypse and receive the inclination that maybe these lifeless creatures aren’t as brainless as we’ve been led to believe. Marion quickly makes you empathize with R and wish upon a star that he could once again become a real boy…again.

The story itself isn’t new, especially considering the heavy inspiration from a famous couple of star-crossed lovers, but Marion brilliantly uses his characters to make some pretty bold statements on our society. R can’t help but notice how fast life passes us by and he wants nothing more than to connect with another person but his ‘condition’ keeps him at a distance. A perfect representation of how our technological advancements to bring us closer together really only distance us further from each other.  

Warm Bodies is a fun and quick read, and perfect for anyone with – or without – a pulse. All I know is that if this is what Isaac Marion can do with his debut novel, I can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeve for his next.

If you’ve indulged in this literary gem, what were your thoughts? Did you love it or hate it? Would you read another Marion book? Sound off below with your nerdy thoughts. 

-Joe D. 

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