Review by: The Fictionista

Warm Bodies
by Isaac Marion

Published April 26, 2011 by Atria Books

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.

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R is a zombie. He stumbles around all day, moaning and grunting and, yes, he eats people’s brains. Not exactly a great opening description of a romantic hero, but don’t give up on him yet… You see, R is not like other zombies. He thinks about his place in the world, and at times he feels emotions. He longs to remember his life before he became a zombie but he can’t even remember his name. R feels like an outsider in the world and occasionally tries to connect with other zombies around him, without much luck. R even collects souvenirs from humans as a way to remind himself of life before he became a zombie.

R’s life takes a dramatic turn the day he and some of his zombie friends go on a hunt for humans. During an attack on a bunch of teenagers, R spots a teenage girl who is about to be eaten by another zombie. He instantly feels a connection to her and saves her from being killed, much to the surprise and frustration of himself, and his zombie friends.
After saving Julie, R takes her back to his home, an abandoned airport he shares with other zombies. From there, we are taken on a heartwarming, emotional journey as R rediscovers his humanity. As R and Julie become closer, Julie helps R to find pieces of his former self. Julie is a very real and likeable character, who is initially disgusted and afraid of R but gradually begins to see him for the person he is underneath his exterior. The bond that R and Julie form is unique and strong. Their bond causes small and substantial shifts in those around them and those shifts become stronger as the story leads up to its powerful climax.

Warm Bodies was a surprisingly insightful and heartfelt read. The reader instantly connects with R and is charmed by his existential musings about his place in the world around him. R is funny and sarcastic while at the same time extremely lovable. Some of the questions R poses are highly relatable and make the reader think about their beliefs regarding humanity and their relationships with others.

I loved this book. It was the kind of book that I didn’t want to end. The kind of book that I wish had a sequel. The kind of book I kept thinking about, long after it was over. Even if you think Zombies aren’t your thing (like I did), give this funny, touching, and intelligent book a try. You won’t be disappointed!

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