Book Review - WARM BODIES by Isaac Marion
I am dead, but it's not so bad. I've learned to live with it.
I mentioned in my last review how a few writers are getting noticed through self publishing, by either posting their novels on blogs or using the free e-book service on digital readers. The industry seems to be finding some gems with this method: Amanda Hocking being one example and the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY trilogy being another. Now Isaac Marion can add his name to the list with his debut zombie tale, WARM BODIES.
A ploy on Shakespeare's ROMEO & JULIET, R is a zombie who can't remember his name, just the first initial. When he's not hunting for food with his "best friend" he knows as M, R hangs around the 747 he's made home or riding the escalator in the airport where the zombies have made their main base. By no means is R your typical reanimated corpse. He strives to remember his previous life with little luck and merely goes through the motions as a zombie. He doesn’t really want to keep doing what he’s doing, but he also doesn’t want to fully die either. It's only through the collectibles he takes from trips into the city that allows him to recall any semblance of a life before death.
During a routine hunt, R and M's horde come across a group of survivors salvaging supplies. R eats a young man and doesn't think much of it until he bites the brain and is thrown into the kid’s memories. His name is Perry and he’s had a troubled life with the exception of one shining light: Julie, his girlfriend. When R sees Julie among the group, he rescues her, actually speaking her name, and manages to keep her alive until they return to the airport where he brings her to his “home.” With R swearing to protect her, he and Julie form an odd friendship, one that pushes R to think beyond what he knows. Can he truly break away from his zombie instincts and reintegrate into society or will his lust for Julie lead him to devour her as he did her boyfriend?
Marion originally self published WARM BODIES and sold it on his website until Simon & Schuster acquired the rights in 2010. I cannot say it enough: Why is real talent so often found hidden behind the same stories published day in and day out? Marion’s writing is amazing. It’s such a simple declaration, but it’s true. I found myself really falling into R’s mind as well as Perry’s since the dead teen just won’t seem to leave R alone. He wants him to look into his memories and through them R continues to learn there’s definitely more to the afterlife than what he thought. Suspenseful, bloody, funny, and romantic, WARM BODIES is at best a story for the horror fan who likes odd, quirky relationships throw into the mix. Aside from Julie, R and M have their own classic exchanges. And some of Perry’s inner conscious remarks to R are the perfect blend of comical and thought-provoking.
While some may be turned off by the idea of another zombie novel, I beg of you to give WARM BODIES a try. Not only does Marion throw in an interesting twist on the term “zombie,” but he also manages to create a unique, and at times weird, romance that works. Some may argue the connection between R and Julie is gross, yet for me the real beauty in their relationship was how they help each other grow. During certain moments you almost forget R is a zombie and that the world around them is falling apart. You fall in love right alongside them and root for them in the end. And now you’ll be able to root for them on screen for a movie adaption of WARM BODIES is planned for a February 2013 release. Aw, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, Dave Franco, Analeigh Tiption, and John Malkovich, the film is being directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50).