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.
Warm Bodies is, in essence, an unabashed love story…told through the eyes of a zombie. This is a book that could have, should have, gone terribly wrong. Only it didn’t.
What initially sparked my interest in this novel wasn’t the premise. And no, it wasn’t the movie trailers (though come on, it looks awesome). It was a few raving, glowing reviews I’d seen on GR, promising poetic prose and minimal cheese factor. Sometimes I go by reviews over gut instinct and synopsis. Sometimes I just have to see for myself what all the hype is about. Sometimes this bites me in the ass……and other times, I find books like Warm Bodies. Book so right-off-the-bat engrossing, books whose prose will have me lying awake at night with envy, that I can only thank social networking extending to include a large community of readers who can find these kinds of gems for me.
The best part of Warm Bodies is the beginning. First meeting R, feeling lost with him, hopelessly wistful, desiring all the human things his rotting corpse-like body can barely remember experiencing. He doesn’t remember anything but the first “R” syllable of his name, doesn’t remember his age or his family or his pre-zombie life. You wouldn’t expect to be drawn in by the beauty of a zombie’s thoughts, but that’s exactly what happens in these first pages of Warm Bodies. Isaac Marion’s prose is so elegant and beautiful and eloquent without being hard to read or verbose, and it just captures you. More than the originality of the story or the creepy sweetness of the romance, the prose is what you shouldn’t miss. And though I’m sure it’s amazing and engrossing, you just won’t get that from the movie.
Now, though I clearly loved this book, I didn’t rate it 5 stars, and there is a reason for that. Though the broad picture and plot is one of poetic originality, there were a few qualms I had with it. First, despite everything else, despite Marion’s amazing writing or the fact that these pages weren’t weighed down in Twilight-esque mushy goo, it’s still about a zombie who falls in love with a human, and begins to regain his humanity because of this love. Dress it up as fancy as you want, but that’s still going to be a bit cheesy. Second, the entire novel just couldn’t hold the magnificence of the first quarter; it kind of goes from amazing to great, with maybe even a few scenes of just good here and there. There were a few instances where R felt less like a zombie, and more like…just a sick dude who couldn’t talk all that well. And lastly, Julie’s reaction to finding out the man-corpse she’s falling for killed and ate the brains of her lover was decidedly anti-climactic; I don’t care how understanding or forgiving you are, that’s going to take a minute to get over.
But really, those problems were me nit-picking, because overall this novel shines. If you had any interest at all in reading it, read it. I’m an admitted zombie-hater who is sick of all these cheesy paranormal romances, and I loved Warm Bodies. That in itself should say something.
Warm Bodies - 4 out of 5 stars