Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Review Time: Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies

A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving

I have to admit I decided to read Warm Bodies after I saw the trailer for the movie. As a rule I tend to avoid Zombie stuff like the plague. But from the first page this book was different. It grabbed me and drew me in with it's originality and it's raw honesty. For a debut novel it was fantastic. For a zombie novel, it was spectacular. 

The book is told in first person (admittedly my favorite POV) and centers around R. R is a zombie with a conscious. Not only a conscious, but a yearning to be something more than he is.  Through him we learn the ins and outs of the zombie race and it's conflicting place in the world. He doesn't claim to know  the reasons, but he wants to know the results. And this is where Issac Morton shines. He creates a zombie you want to like, one you want to see succeed. 

Through the act of eating it's victim's brain the zombies are able to relive, for a fleeting time, all the human's emotions and feelings. When the zombies attack a group of young adults on a scavenger mission R makes an unlikely connection with the girlfriend of one of his victims. Through the emotions he steals from the human, he develops remorse and a protective feeling for this girl.  A feeling that develops into his own and drives him to question all he has seen since he awoke as a zombie. He starts to think, he starts to speak, and he starts to feel.

Even more intriguing to me is the post apocalyptic society Morton creates. His vision of society rebuilding and  thriving within the concrete confines of a mega stadium is eerily possible and real. The humans have created self contained societies and self government. Even though their system is far from perfect,  they have managed to create order in the face of chaos.  Taking a surreal scenario and making it seem plausible is something Morton has succeeded at with great success. 

The gore factor, always something to consider with zombie novels, is pretty toned down. There is no violence for shock value.  I wasn't grossed out at the descriptions, and he broke form the usual zombie stereotypes that are easy to fall into. While the trailer for the movie seems to emphasize the humor aspect of the material, the book is far more serious. I found myself actually liking a zombie book.  

All in all, I was glad I gave Warm Bodies a chance. I enjoyed the book and really do recommend it for anyone wanting to venture into the zombie craze, or for anyone who likes a good dystopian novel in general. Although I do think this is one book that was probably better left as a book. (I'll have to wait to see the movie to really form that opinion.) But as a book it was original, witty, well written, and a good choice to round out 2012.  

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