Sunday, April 24, 2011

Warm Bodies by Issac Marion

Publisher: Atria
Age: Young Adult and Adult
Speices: Zombies, Humans, Boneyes
Rating: 5/5
Interest: Zombies/200 in 2011
Date Published: April 26th 2011

"R" is an existentially tormented zombie shuffling through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, or the plague of the Dead—he isn't sure which. He remembers nothing from before, and although he has a deep inner life full of wonder and longing, his ability to connect with the outside world is limited to a few grunted syllables. After experiencing a young man’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice to rescue the boy’s girlfriend, beginning a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship that will transform R, his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

I think this is hands down the best book I have ever read in my life.

I never pick favorites when it comes to books, since I love and enjoy almost every one I get my hands on. However, Warm Bodies will stand out in my mind as one of the most beautifully written, moving and simply phenomenal books I have ever had the privilege of reading, even if it is about zombies.

This is basically the zombie book to make people like zombies. It's just so good and completely different from almost anything I've read before. I mean a story from the point of view of a zombie is so unique. No author that I'm aware of has ever tried to get into that particular mind set before.

"R", the main zombie.... I just fell in love with him from the first page. He did not have delusions about what he had become, and while he was remorseful for his actions as a zombie, he did not make excuses. I believe he only apologizes twice in the entire book. The most captivating part of him was witnessing him change. R went from a being whose only thrills were hunting and riding elevators to a dynamic, thoughtful, world-changing person. He was so well-written and so... alive on paper that I am entirely disappointed he is not real. I want more people like him in the world, which is strange to say about a zombie, but true.

Julie was awesome. As the main woman, she was a volatile combination of tough, fiery, kick-ass, strong, vulnerable, sweet and smart. They do not make girls like that anymore. I was also utterly proud when she and R did not develop insta-romance. She may have opened to him a little quickly, but she kept up her physical and mental guard until she was sure she could trust him. Admittedly, there is a Wall-E type scene in the book, but it simply fits so well that I did not mind.

One sort of interesting component is that Issac Marion (the author) does not explain what happened to the world to infect it with zombies. There is a hazy outline from R about what happens, but he cannot remember very much. In fact no one else talks about or goes into detail about how zombies came to be, they are simply there. Somehow, there isn't room for an explanation of how the world went to shit. I like Warm Bodies better this way. Reading five or ten pages about the end of the world is boring to me, I much rather prefer the mystery.

There was some fighting action, but the book didn't really focus on it. The same goes for all the gore and actual eating of people. It is gross if I really think about it, but the book does not go into a huge amount of detail on it. Unless the person reading it has a very weak stomach, Warm Bodies will most likely not make them sick. I barely even remember the violent parts of the book, they are not what I focused on, R's transformation was.

Everything felt so real to me. I felt R's stagnation in his life. I understood Julie's sorrow over losing her friend, but acceptance that he'd gone too far for her help. I even, to a point, understood her father's fear and bigotry with zombies. I relished the tiny sparks of want and need. I celebrated every step R took to become something new, the ones he was conscious of and the ones he wasn't. It was like finding an entirely new way to view and approach life and death. It was just amazing. Not to mention the novel is written beautifully. Marion's writing is eloquent and rich. I sincerely wish I could write the way he does, with so much impact and feeling. In Warm Bodies he captures passion, love, and zest for life. It is stunning, there are no other words for it.

Warm Bodies is simply phenomenal. I want everyone I know to read this book and love it as much as I do. I cannot wait to get my hands on a real copy of this book. Don't delay, get a copy this Tuesday! (Note: This title was previously released in the UK under the same name.)

Two Teasers this time!

Teaser line #1: "I guess that's the tricky part. The past is made of facts and history... I guess the future is just hope."
"Or Fear."
"No." She shakes her head firmly and sticks the leaf into my hair.
"Hope."

Teaser line #2: "No countries, no cultures, no wars but still no peace. What's at our core then? What's still squirming in our bones when everything else is stripped?"

Happy Reading,

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