I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.
After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.
Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between. (source)
Books like this are the reason why I love being a part of my tumblr book club. I never in a million years would have picked this up on my own. I've always thought the whole zombie thing was super over-rated and I never understood why so many people seem to be fascinated with them. Prior to reading this book, I thought it would be pointless for a person to try to write a story about zombies in which they're anything more than mindless corpses trying to eat people. And this is why I am not a writer - people like Isaac Marion who have better developed imaginations than me can see the potential in zombies. Marion has created a zombie story that is not only entertaining to read, but is also thoughtful and clever - something that I had thought was impossible.
The protagonist of Marion's story, R, is a zombie - and he's a much better narrator than I expected. I do have to admit that this seems a bit incongruous, especially at the beginning of the novel. We're expected to believe that R can barely speak, that he can't even remember his name - and yet his thought process seems to be pretty sophisticated. Of course, if his narration were as choppy and incoherent as his speech is at first, the book probably wouldn't be very easy or enjoyable to read, so I think this inconsistency is necessary. But it was something that I felt didn't quite fit. All that aside, it was fascinating to watch R transform from little more than a walking corpse to the thoughtful and intelligent creature that he becomes, with Julie's help. Marion did a fantastic job of demonstrating R's gradual transformation, showing how his speech slowly improved and he became less and less brutal. I loved R's sense of humor and reading about his experiences was fascinating.
I really appreciated the ultimate message of Warm Bodies: that even in the midst of catastrophe, it's crucial to hold on to what makes us human. Marion shows that, while basic survival is, of course, necessary, survival means nothing if life itself lacks meaning, whether its meaning comes from heroic deeds or the simple creation of a poem. This is a lesson that Julie's father never learns, but it's one that, once learned, has the ability to change the world for the better. I also thought that the connection that developed between Perry and R was super cool - what an original idea! I thought that the ending of the book was also very well-done and it left me satisfied, but still eager to find out what could potentially happen in a sequel. Would the attempt to bring the zombies back to humanity actually succeed? Or would it backfire horribly? It all seems to be going well, but there's definitely room for a sequel, which is great.
This book was so much better than I expected it to be. While I admittedly have not read very many zombie books (none, other than this one), it came off as very original and creative. I loved Marion's explanations of various zombie activities and depiction of what it's actually like to be a zombie, which was something that I had never even thought about. After having read this, I'm now definitely more interested in reading more zombie books and I'm even thinking of trying to watch Walking Dead, if I can somehow look past how gruesome it's sure to be. If you're looking for a creepy but cute book, I definitely would recommend giving Warm Bodies a try.