Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion Book Review

I know I’m not giving this a full four stars, but it’s been years and years since I’ve read a book that delivers character progression of the soul so beautifully. There are stories out there of people whose minds slowly change, and we need more like that. People can grow into heroes, but growing from a thoughtless zombie to someone who would die to protect those they love is a much more challenging feat. Thank you to my uncle for gifting me this book!

Most of the time the points of view of apocalypse stories are the survivors. Actually, it seems like except from this, that’s always the point of view. But this time it’s the viewpoint of someone thoughtless, cold, dead, a zombie. He has no problem being part of a raid and devouring the living. They don’t technically need to eat to survive, but consuming brains is like a dopamine surge, because you get a bit of a window into what humanity was like. Well, this zombie, who only goes by “R” because he’s certain his name started with that letter before he died, has a bit more of a curiosity side to him than the other zombies, and has built himself a little hut with music and nicknacks in a plane at the airport his buds have long since overtaken, but he then insists with some acquaintances to go for a feed.

They do so.

And R ends up killing one of the young men who were trying to defend themselves, and upon his first bite, he learns the name of this boy; Perry Kelvin, and he gets flashbacks of the life he once lived, and his girlfriend Julie, who’s there with them. R is taken aback completely by how happy the two of them were and how much of a kind person Julie is, and something within him refrains him from also devouring her. In fact, he protects her from the other zombies. He takes her with him, as pretty much a hostage, to his place. The little he can say (he can only stutter a few words at a time just like the other zombies) is she’s safe with him. But this isn’t a story of R keeping a living girl hostage. It’s about how he’s somehow changing…becoming more living.

I watched the movie after finishing the book and I did enjoy seeing the story on screen but I found the book superior because reading R’s thoughts from the mind is so much more atmospheric than hearing him casually blurt them when he’s full zombie. Though Isaac Marion sometimes narrates R’s viewpoints with a little more spunk than a corpse derived (mostly) of emotions should have, for the most part he maintains a blend of voided humanity and a desire to learn the ways of a human again.

The more R manages to talk, and the more guilt he feels at his prior actions, and how he begins feeling unexplainable things a zombie shouldn’t, like heartbreak, and warmth, are perfectly paced. It feels like just a little bit at a time like a bad wound naturally healing. And Marion implements a great idea about the Boneys (which are masterfully rendered in the movie.) The Boneys are corpses that don’t look like humans anymore and have no second thoughts about having scrumptious live bait, and we then learn they are the only ones beyond humanity, and when we learn about the reason the zombies are beginning to get somewhat better, it makes sense for the Boneys to not. Some few people in this world are too far gone in their hearts, as sad as it is to think about.

Isaac Marion hasn’t found success after releasing Warm Bodies, and I have no idea why that would be the case. He deserves to have a new publisher pay attention to him. Warm Bodies is a book with a fabulous message and a plot that by the end makes you genuinely feel good.

If you like this, I’d try The Black Witch by Laurie Forest and Reboot by Amy Tintera

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