Hey, sweet readers!
I'm super lucky that, as part of my day job, I get to have amazing conversations with college students about what interests and moves them, and that sometimes includes books. I was having lunch with Zoara a couple of weeks ago and she could not stop freaking out over how amazing WARM BODIES, a not-your-average-zombie novel by Isaac Marion, was.
So I asked her to write a review, so we could hopefully sell some more copies for the esteemed Mr. Marion AND let Zoara showcase her mad reviewing abilities in a warm, enthusiastic environment.
So read, interact, and encourage her, won't you? And then follow her on Twitter at @zoaralou. She's pretty fabulous.
Drop Everything and Read Warm Bodies Now
I got on the Warm Bodies wagon relatively late, only hearing of the film and the novel after seeing the trailer for the adaptation in a showing of Breaking Dawn: Part II. (I realize this might lower my credibility to some the readers of this review, but what if I said I was taken as a hostage?) Anyway, after seeing the trailer-- which looked quirky and cool-- I waited 115 squirmy minutes for the closing credits to roll so I could pull out my phone and buy the Kindle edition of the Warm Bodies novel. Truthfully, I wanted to see if it was anything like the "saga" haunting the sides of movie theater cups since 2008.
When I read a few other reviews of WARM BODIES, the general consensus seemed to be that it is a "zombie-romance." This put me off because of the recent "supernatural romance" fad which has come about in the past decade or so. And although there are some nicely written stories out there, many supernatural romances seem to use the genre as a way to attract more buyers, not a way to illustrate a point made in the novels. I began reading Marion's piece with anything but an open mind. However, after the four Starbucks-soaked hours I spent hunched over my screen and another four hours rereading, I was as dazed and slack-jawed as... well, you know.
What immediately struck me about this work from Marion is that most of the story is narrated from the perspective of R., a likeable member of the Dead whose terse inner-monologue grows to be more descriptive as he forms relationships with Julie and other members of the Living. Marion takes his readers from a world that reads like it should be black and white to a descriptive and emotional world filled with color, passion, and music. In addition to his skilled development of the protagonist, Marion also plays with the different perspectives of Perry, the victim of R. and Julie's late boyfriend. In one excerpt, Marion even writes from the perspective of a newborn version of Perry.
Another thing I loved about reading this is Marion's use of the animosity between the Living and the Dead to illustrate overarching themes in his novel. Rather than plugging it into the story and appealing to the fad, the non-living characters are used to draw attention to the fact that without hope and love we put ourselves in danger of becoming shells, skeletons of what was human before a fever of hate burned away humanity. And even with the morbid notes that appear in this novel, the writing in Warm Bodies seems to enforce a notion that people who want to hope, or have hope, even while they are being swallowed by surrounding chaos, can not only claw themselves out, but recue others as well.
I would like to press that this review is brief. In my opinion, the novel has layers upon layers of juicy meaning. My best advice as a book lover and reviewer is just read this. This novel is funny, beautifully written, and well thought out. It appeals to lovers of humor, romance, literature (the whole text is a Where's Waldo of Romeo and Juliet references), music, and horror. Creative, daring, and inspirational, Warm Bodiesmakes an unfairly dismissed genre not only worth reading, but reading not to be missed.
And finally, I will express my one critique: Marion's novel leaves me with enormous expectations for the film adaptation. Good luck, Summit Entertainment, I'll see you February 1st.
And! Buy WARM BODIES here!