Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I’m not a big fan of zombies in fiction so I wasn’t initially curious about it but then I started seeing positive reviews from several of the blogs that I follow. I decided to give it a try when I was able to borrow a copy from fellow Filipino book blogger Jason of Taking a Break. Thanks Jason!

Here’s the summary from Isaac Marion’s website:

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.

A zombie love story? Pretty unusual, right? I normally think of zombies as gross but I wasn’t even worried about the ick factor because like I said, I kept hearing good things about this novel. I’m glad I picked it up because I really enjoyed Isaac Marion’s writing. I liked how introspective R is as a zombie. Even though he can’t even remember his name and he has a hard time articulating what he wants to say, there are so many complicated thoughts running in his brain. I was also pleasantly surprised at the humor that I found in the first few chapters of the book and I’m a fan of R’s friendship with fellow zombie, M. Considering how limited their speech is, R and M’s conversations still manage to be entertaining. Although I haven’t read that many zombie novels, I think it’s a different approach to be inside a zombie’s head and I feel like that’s something that sets this book apart from other zombie books out there.

Zombies are not usually the heroes of the story – they’re usually not capable of much thought and are meant to be killed off to move the story along. This book is different from the usual zombie lore because it deals with the remaining humanity of zombies. Sure, they’re dead and they physically differ from humans, but they still have feelings. In R’s case, he’s a zombie who doesn’t want to be one. He feels the zombie hunger for human flesh and brains but he doesn’t relish the feeling. And I think he welcomes the change in himself when he consumes a teenage guy’s brain and develops a connection with the guy’s girlfriend, Julie. He suddenly feels the need to protect Julie instead of eat her and that’s how a very unusual friendship starts. Readers get both points of view – from the zombies trapped in their existence to the humans struggling to survive in a world populated by creatures bent on devouring them. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that both parties aren’t happy with the current situation and both Julie and R try to find a way to change things. I think I mostly enjoyed this novel because of R’s character and how unexpectedly profound his thoughts were for a zombie. I recommend this one to fans of zombie novels or dystopian fiction. Or actually I think this is one zombie novel that can be recommended for non-zombie fans like me.

Other reviews:
Taking a Break
Book Harbinger
The Book Smugglers

22 thoughts on “Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

  1. Great review Chachic. Glad you enjoyed it even as a non-zombie fan. I’ve heard good things about it, and it seems that most people are pleasantly surprised with it. Hopefully I’ll read it before the movie comes out!

    • Lucy, I hope you get to read it soon. It’s really something that even non-zombie fans would enjoy reading. I heard about the movie and I’m hoping that it will live up to the book.

  2. I was wondering how you’d like this one, Chachic. I’m glad it worked for you. R really made it. And Marion’s writing. I’m looking forward to his next book because of that. Just loved his ruminations.

    • Angie, I heard good things about this book from you, Holly, Thea and other bloggers so I gladly read it when I got the chance. Now I’m trying to decide if I should read more zombie novels. I did love Sabriel and that book has zombies, right? πŸ™‚

    • Hey, you’re the second person to leave a comment about Sarah Rees Brennan’s short story in one of my reviews! πŸ˜› My friend Chris told me about it in my Nightspell review so I’ve read it. Now that you mentioned it, it can come off as either a zombie or ghost love story.

      Hope you get to read this one soon! πŸ™‚

    • I’m pretty sure you’ll like it too, Tina! I’m sure Jason will let you borrow his copy. The hardcover is kind of expensive at around P900. And Aaron won a copy from Janice’s giveaway, right? You can probably borrow that too.

  3. You read it! And liked it. R is memorable character. His voice and the writing (like you said) are what made this book such a great read. I can’t wait to see what Isaac Marion writes next.

    I should l probably read that SRB short story sometime, too.

    I’m curious, what other zombie-related books have you read?

    • Thank you for pushing me to read this, Holly! I think your lovely review convinced me to pick this up even though I’m not usually a fan of zombie literature. Same here, I look forward to seeing what Isaac Marion writes next.

      You should! It’s a great short story. I enjoyed it even though I’m not much of a short story reader.

      LOL it’s funny that you asked because people are convincing me on Goodreads to read more zombie novels. Aside from this one, I’ve only read the Abhorsen trilogy (can those be counted as zombie books?) so yeah, maybe I should read more of them.

  4. I’m really drawn by that cover…! I’m glad you recommended this one, Chachic — I’ve been looking for something to read for a horror challenge. This one looks refreshing in the sense that it presents stuff from a zombie’s perspective. It should be able to explore things not commonly tackled by the genre. Thanks talaga.

    • Chris, the cover is indeed beautiful and fits the contents of the novel. There were also anatomy illustrations included in every chapter heading, too bad I wasn’t able to take pictures of those. I finished this book as soon as I could so I can give it back to Jason during the ReaderCon. I hope you get to read this for your horror challenge, copies are available in Fully Booked. πŸ™‚ As always, would love to know what you think of this.

      • Tried looking for it at the new Fully Booked at Katipunan (can I just say how I LOOOVE having a bookstore right around the corner?!?) but they didn’t have it yet. I immediately shared your link to the others in our book club haha. πŸ˜›

      • I’ve been to Fully Booked Katipunan and it’s a small branch! It’s only as big as the Trinoma branch, I think? Hope they get more stocks soon though. The shelves weren’t that full when I dropped by. And you can always have copies transferred if you want, ask them where a copy is available and then have it transferred to Katipunan. They’ll text you when the book arrives (after 3-5 days). Aww thanks for sharing my review to your book club friends!

  5. Every time I see Warm Bodies pop up in Google Reader I’m curious to see what the blogger thought about it. This was actually my first zombie read, even though I absolutely LOVE The Walking Dead TV series. I think I loved Marion’s writing more than his characters, mostly because I kept drawing the whole Romeo and Juliet parallels throughout the book. R – Romeo? Julie – Juliet? M – Mercutio? And the balcony scene? Am I crazy, here?

    I am stupid excited about the movie, though. I’m curious (and a little scared) to see how R is going to be portrayed — there’s so much internalization going on throughout the novel. It makes me nervous. I hope they do the book justice.

    • I’ve heard about The Walking Dead TV series and I believe some of my friends are fans. Hey, you have a point there! I didn’t even think of all those little details adding up to Romeo and Juliet. So funny that I missed seeing that because that balcony scene was so obvious. Thanks for pointing that out, I think you’re the only one who has noticed that.

      I’m excited about the movie as well. I tweeted Jason, Tina and Aaron when I found out about it and said that maybe we can all go see it when the movie comes out. πŸ˜› You’re right though, there’s so much internal stuff in the book and I wonder how they’ll translate that to the screen.

  6. Pingback: Warm Bodies Movie Trailer | Chachic's Book Nook

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