January 16, 2013

Review: Warm Bodies by Issac Marion

Title: Warm Bodies

Series: Stand Alone

Author: Issac Marion

Published: 2011

Edition Read: Nook 

Pages:  256

Level Recommended: Adult Fiction

Overall: I wanted to like this novel. I really, really did. Alas I didn't. 

Summary (From Barnes and Noble) : 

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 house 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.

My Thoughts: I made a huge mistake when I initially started to read this novel. My huge mistake was that I read this book because the movie trailer had peaked my interest. It's my fault, really, for expecting this novel to be at least somewhat close to the movie trailer. Because of the trailer I expected the book to funny and a bit silly. I really expected to throughly enjoy a comedic story about a teenaged zombie who falls in love, quite inexplicably, with a live human girl. While almost all of that sentence is true--R, the main character, doesn't really know his actual age--the book was not a funny one. Not even a little bit, and sadly I don't think it ever really was meant to be. But, this first impression of the book that I got from the movie trailer, really colored how I approached this book. 

I kept expecting comedy, and I kept getting a seriously, muse-y story that tried to make me think of the existentialism of zombie life. R is introduced in the book as a zombie who thinks quite a bit about his life and asks himself almost constantly where he came from. He has no idea who he is because his memory of his past life has been wiped from his mind completely. He doesn't even know his whole name. All he has is R. 

R lives in an airport with several hundred other zombies and Boneys. Boneys are the leaders of the fleshy zombies. It's assumed that, since they are almost completely bone, that these Boneys have lived longer then any of the flesh zombies. However, R doesn't know how long even he has been dead since the zombie rate of decomposition is different for all of them. Some slowly decompose and could have been dead for years. Some decompose very quickly and have been dead only a short time. 

Although, how does R even know this since time seems to have no meaning for him considering that he doesn't even know how long HE'S been dead. Right? 

As the introduction progresses R meets another zombie, falls for her, and is 'married' to her by the Boneys. They are even given zombie children to raise and teach about zombie life. Eventually R and several other zombies go on a hunting trip, and find a small group of teens. R knows that once he eats even a bite of a live human's brian he'll instantly be treated to that human's memories. Those memories are like a drug to R and all other zombies. This time R looks up from his meal to realize that the teenager's delicious memories make him fall in love with the teenager's girlfriend, Julie. As soon as R looks at Julie he knows that he has to protect her no matter what the cost. This need to protect Julie is what pushes R throughout the rest of the novel, and what eventually causes all of the zombies to start to change back into living humans. 

As sweet as the premise of this book is (I mean the premise is what really pushed to me get the book in the first place, right?)  I just found myself not enjoying this book. I wanted to root Julie and R on in their road to falling in love, but I just couldn't seem to get behind their romance at all. I don't know if it's because R's initial and continuing motivator are the memories that he takes from Julie's now-dead boyfriend. Or if it's because Marion gives R the easiest way out of being hated by Julie when she tells him off-handedly she really can't blame whichever zombie ate her boyfriend. OR if it's because the poor eaten kid gets his memory trashed a bit by Julie and her friends when they remember how annoying he was towards the end of his life. 

Maybe it was just a bit of all of that, but I really just couldn't get behind Julie and R as a couple. In fact I finished the book, and every time I talked about it with someone else all I could say was "Ehh, it's alright." No gushing. No "OMG I can't wait to finish this book!" feelings at all. At the very end all I said was "Finally, I finished the thing." 

There were plenty of book bloggers that I usually agree with that loved the book. Like:

Angie from Angieville loved it.

But, I just didn't. 

Then I read the Bookish Brunette's review and found someone who felt just about the same way as I did. This zombie book, even though we love zombie books, was too much "feelings", which zombies? Yeah, zombies are not what I think of when it comes to having introspection and feelings and thinking so darn much about life. This book wasn't bad, but it was just "eh" for me. 

Recommended For: Adult or Older Teens

Side Note: I also read and loved an article published on the blog Read Now Sleep Later about some apparent ranting that Marion did when he realized his book was being sold as Young Adult rather then the Adult grouping he expected it to be in. I really couldn't say any of what was written on Read Now Sleep Later any better. I highly suggest reading the article for yourself. 

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