Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

16 August, 2013 Reviews 17 comments

Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac MarionWarm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Series: Warm Bodies #1
Published by Vintage on 28th October 2010
Pages: 240
Genres: Horror, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

Now a major motion picture from Summit Entertainment, the studio behind the blockbuster Twilight series and the upcoming movie Divergent, starring Academy Award Nominee John Malkovich, Nicholas Hoult, and Teresa Palmer and directed by Jonathan Levine.

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 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.

This is not a young adult novel.

I mean, it is about a young adultish human and zombie who fall in love and set about to change the world with love.  But this is not a young adult novel.

It has themes of young love and disaffected youth and hopeful new beginnings but this is not a young adult novel, people!

Regardless of what it is, it’s a pretty good novel, but I have a confession.  This is going to translate in people’s minds as me being simplistic and unable to handle the deeper, more complicated themes of this book – but I don’t care.

I liked the movie better.

Major fans of the book are going to virulently disagree with me – but I thought it actually managed to streamline the story highly effectively, keeping the spirit of the novel without deviating from anything important. In fact, the way it restructured some events, I actually thought, created a more emotional impact.

But the book itself is still pretty good, though I wonder at some of the weird turns it takes.  Like zombie sex.  Lots of zombie sex.  Nice to know that even zombie women experience objectification.  Comforting.  Guess some things never change. Objectification and unsatisfying sex straight into the un-life.

R is adorkable, and if I never have to type the word again, it will be too soon.  But he is. In the midst of his mid-death crisis with an unfulfilling zombie-marriage and two little tykes to drag him down, life seems empty and unfulfilling.  R wants to be alive again.  He even gets a sports car and kidnaps a young girlfriend.  Luckily, unlike reality, this is fantasy so it’s all okay.  As opposed to the time I kidnapped my own young girlfriend and got a sports car.  That turned out to be a big mistake.

I love Julie.  I mean, she’s a total idiot, a dreamer and so far removed from reality that it might as well be the third nipple she never had.  But she was a wonderful character nonetheless, who I completely adored.  I adored everyone, almost as much as I adored the writing.  Which was pretty evocative, raw, kind of gross – but in a good way.

The only thing I struggled with in this book was that I felt the pacing and overall narrative flow of the movie made so much more sense and was a lot tighter, stronger and more powerful.  Otherwise, if you like zombies, existential crises, stories of young people improbably overcoming impossible circumstances and weird zombie sex, then this is the book for you!

Just don’t call it a young adult novel, okay?

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

17 Responses to “Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion”

  1. Laurens Loquacious Lit

    I actually found the book pretty disappointing, but I LOVED the movie and I completely agree with what you said about it.

  2. foiltheplot

    While I loved both the book AND the movie, I sort of see them as two separate entities. You’re absolutely right in that this is not strictly a YA book. I’d say the movie was more Y than A and the book, vice versa. Also, the book had a much darker tone to it (which I’m particularly drawn to) than did the movie.
    Either way, I thought the concept was fantastic and superbly well-execution on and off screen. It’s pretty awesome that he used Shakespeare as the underlying basis for the story too. But that’s just the nerd in me coming out now.

  3. Stephanie Arevalo

    wasn’t this originally titled R or something like that? i may be confused.

  4. Fangs4Fantasy

    “I liked the movie better.”
    Get my pitchforks and torches! This is my virulent disagreement expressed with lotsa fire and pointy things! I think it had a very different theme and message and point that the film completely missed, so I do prefer the book 
    I suppose even awesome people can disagree *reluctantly puts the pitchfork down*

  5. Christianna

    I have to agree that I also liked the movie better, but that being said I also loved the book!  I thought the dead guy (I can’t remember his name right now) was really cool in the book.  And Julie, I liked her and R in both.  Though who am I kidding, I liked R better in the movie.  Great review, odd zombie sex and all!

  6. Kate C.

    I love how you allude to the author’s own comments about the intended audience of this book.  hahahah
    I’ve never read the movie, so I can’t make any comment about it being better or not.  I can say that I listened to this on audiobook and I thought it was amazing!  Maybe that’s the difference for me.
    I won’t judge you for not thinking about “deeper meanings” and stuff, because I usually never think about theme or whatever.  This book just grabbed me for whatever reason.  Maybe because I’m old now. haha

  7. Blee78

    I liked the book and the movie equally. This is big coming from a book snob like me 🙂  I too really felt that the script writers did a great job of highlighting almost all of the main points of the book and made it enjoyable. I almost never like the movie version even half as much as the book but this one was just so good. Enjoyed your review too 🙂

  8. AnimeJune

    I’m with you, actually. I enjoyed the movie more.
    I read the book and found it pretty pretentious – another author piggybacking on a sci-fi/fantasy trope to tell a literary message without, you know, actually developing or explaining this fantasy trope or making it consistent in any way. People became zombies … um, because they were jerks and lost their love of the simpler things? I guess? Maybe? It’s symbolic? And then zombieism is cured – WITH THE POWER OF LOVE! Hooray! 
    The book had some good points. I appreciated how it demonstrated that the humans who’d given up art and self-expression in their desperation to survive had forgotten how to live, and were a nice symbolic parallel to the zombies (a point the movie soft-pedals). But a lot of plot points were sort of hand-waved with “It’s magic! Whooo! I don’t need to develop or explain this! Just soak in the SYMBOLISM” stuff.
    The movie had similar points, but I suppose the “It’s Hollywood” aspect of popular films makes the “saved with the power of love” thing easier to swallow in a more potent, visual format than in a long-format novel that has time to explain these things in more detail. Plus the movie was just funnier and more optimistic and entertaining – although it loses MAJOR points for whitewashing one of the second characters.

  9. Jennifer Cahill

    I really liked the movie. Haven’t read the book, but it sounds…interesting. I don’t understand why Marion is so anti-YA since most young people are the ones buying his book/movie but whatever. Great review. Will have to read soon.

  10. Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

    No idea. Goodreads lists the original title as just “Warm Bodies.”

  11. Laureen

    I have yet to watch the movie, but I have heard a lot of good things about it.I really enjoyed the book though. It was a unique zombie book, and the first one I’d read where the zombie gets the girl. I like your review, though. It’s been a while since I read the book, but the zombie sex was definitely… something.

  12. theladybugreads

    I don’t remember a ton of zombie sex in the book.  What was there was sort of humorous… and kind of pathetic.  I guess it was supposed to be.  (It’s definitely not a young adult novel, though.  I’m not sure why people think it is, other than the fact that the movie made R younger.  Didn’t the girls guess that he was in his 20s or 30s in the book?  That’s hardly YA.)

    I read the book first, and I loved it so much that I rented the movie.  I agree that the movie has an emotional impact that the book just didn’t have… though it’s a trade-off, because I thought the writing in the book was wonderful and some of the themes seemed to be articulated a little better in prose.
    Both the book and the movie have their strong points.  I don’t think I’d recommend one over the other, though.  I’d recommend both!

  13. kimmmyberley

    I absolutely agree with you, I liked the movie better! I loved the movie so I wanted to read the book but I found that it didn’t add anything more to the story that I liked. And the zombie sex part was just gross.

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