In my final trot through the zombie novel pumpkin patch, I finished “Warm Bodies,” a relatively new novel by Isaac Marion. In six months, it will be released as a movie of the same name. Here is my book review:
First off, as both of my readers know, I don’t give synopses of books I read. If you want to know what HAPPENS in a book, read the damn book. My reviews only tell what was good, what was bad, and if you should read the novel in the first place.
Marion’s portrait of zombies is not new. They are dead, or undead. They feed off humans, eat brains, and are generally pretty stupid beings that hunt in packs. The first person angle is not entirely new to this genre any longer either. I refer you to Joan Frances Turner’s “Dust“. Since “Warm Bodies” came out but a year later, I hold no negative here for Marion. Frankly, the first person zombie thing is still avant garde enough to be highly entertaining when done correctly, which it is here.
“Warm Bodies” is much closer to a typical zombie story. The main zombie character is a twenty (or thirty)-something lazy guy who just shuffles through life until he eats the brain (thereby gaining the memories of) a young man in love. Enter love interest Stage Right.
I have a terrible feeling that the movie that debuts February of 2013 will be very much like “Twilight” with teenage puppy love and an angry dad leading to a Romeo and Juliet meets Shawn of the Dead plot. If so, I’ll be disappointed, but the vast majority of readers of this book won’t be.
The end concept (which I won’t spoil) is interesting. Given the direction the rest of the book, however, it was both predicable yet disappointingly necessary. For those seeking a Happily Ever After zombie story, this is your book. For those wanting a dreary apocalyptic world, move on.
Marion clearly understands both the zombie genre itself and the present obsession with paranormal love and sex. Part of me wants to hate this book for that very reason. Yet, when in Rome. Once he is discovered by the masses, Marion will explode onto the scene much the same way Meyer did with Twilight. This will be especially true if he has sequels in mind.
All his characters are very well fleshed out. It was a fast-paced read that does provide much for many a reader. If you want true zombie death and gore, it’s here. Of course, I might read “Dust” if that was your soul purpose. If you want something new to the zombie genre, you get love, first person goodness, and a Day of the Dead concept well done here. If you just want a good read irrespective of genre, this is also a great start. If you want another book like Twilight without the disturbing tween sex scenes, this again is your book.
Overall, I would read another book by Isaac Marion. It is clear we should expect great things from him in the future.