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.
PUBLISHER: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Let me start this review by admitting that I did watch the movie first. GAH! The HORROR! This has been on my TBR list for forever and, apparently, I bought it awhile ago and have never read it. So, when I was stuck on a four hour plane ride… Let’s just say that I had no problem deciding what to read. Plus, I know that I am REALLY late to the Warm Bodies party. But, if you haven’t read this one yet – read it. Some may think, “Oh, another zombie book. Let me go bang my head into the wall repeatedly because there’s another zombie book.” Okay, okay, calm down there. This one is a keeper. I may be a little prejudiced because Isaac Marion is from Seattle, too. But, nonetheless, you should pick this one up (if you haven’t already).
R doesn’t breathe, bleed, or speak well because… he’s a zombie. He doesn’t even remember his full name – just the first initial. He and his zombie buddies live in an abandoned airport where they amble around and pretty much do nothing with their lives all day. That being said, they don’t have much of a life with being dead and all. That all changes when R goes on a feeding expedition and meets Julie. After consuming Julie’s ex’s brain (his name is Perry), he experiences Perry’s emotions and memories like they are his own. He starts to genuinely care for Julie and wants to “keep… her safe” even though it goes against everything he is. This triggers a crazy turn of events as R, Julie, the zombies, and the humans realize that love may be the cure. It also resembles Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in a few ways!
PG-13/R: I have to give it this rating because of many, many uses of the f-word, s-word, etc. and sexual innuendo/brief sexual scene
Hmm. Where to start? Like the movie, I really loved R’s narration. He’s darkly sarcastic and humorous about his whole situation and you can’t help but be intrigued with him as a character. Marion also did a remarkable job of portraying his gradual change from zombie into something definitely less-zombie. It was a believable character arc and I think that’s one of the elements that really made this book special. I also love R’s desire to keep Julie safe. She doesn’t take crap from anyone and one might argue that she doesn’t need any help, but R is still hugely protective of her. That right there – that’s ADORABLE. Plus, I enjoyed the way that Marion didn’t just talk about romantic love and the way that it changed the zombies, but the other forms of love, too. It was a really creative concept: love can bring the dead back to life. I mean – if you really want me to go all profound on you – this concept has real life truth to it.
I keep going back and forth about the ending. Part of me thinks that some concluding events were sudden (involving the dad) and the other part of me feels fine with how it all played out. A lot of the cuss words also seemed unnecessary at times. I’m all for justified cuss words, but sometimes it seemed overly cuss-y (is that a word?). I don’t know much about zombies (having never met one) and I don’t read much zombie literature (sorry), but I felt like R’s thinking was very advanced for a zombie. It’s all from his point of view (except for certain scenes involving flashbacks of Perry’s memories) and I felt like he was pretty intelligent to begin with. That being said, Marion did write in uncharted territory with this one. Maybe zombies are smart, but they crave brains constantly and lack the ability to articulate? It’s possible. 🙂
Overall, I’d give this one a 3/5! It was a quick read, well-written and had a unique attention-grabbing plot.