Series: #1 Warm Bodies
Genres: Horror Romance
Published by Atria Books
Released on April 26, 2011
I stepped well out of my comfort zone to pick this one up and read it. I know for zombie purists this one is a softball, but for me, it was a test of my fortitude. And gladly, I can report that it was a successful attempt. I loved what the author brought together here with a thought-provoking blend of horror, romance, humor, philosophy and just a poignant story at the end of the world.
I am dead, but it’s not so bad. I’ve learned to live with it.
First line from Warm Bodies
The story is told from the zombie, R’s perspective. He is existing like the other undead in a post-apocalyptic world where disaster and plague have reduced the human race to a few outposts in a world returning to its natural wild state. R is a bit of something different even amongst the zombie crowd. He has independent thought and intent of action. He has some words even if his speech is blocked up inside him. He analyzes and understands beyond instinct. He has a friend, M, and a life such as it is. He notices things like the strange ‘boney’ undead that seem to be the controlling elders of their people and he notices a beautiful girl on one of their hunger hunts.
R gains the memories of a boy when he eats his brains and that boy is the friend and lover of Julie. This sets into motion something magical and hopeful. R saves Julie from being on the menu and slowly Julie helps bring him to life. Julie is hostile and terrified, but an understanding forms. They work together, but the worlds of the living and the undead are far apart and they must fight if they want to change it all to save both their worlds.
The story is one where things don’t make sense much of the time, yet still hooks in the reader with its unique zombie lore, engaging characters, and intriguing plot. I got the feeling that there is so much more going on beyond the limited scope of R and Julie and the rest of those around them. There is no real explanation of how this world got into such a state, there is inconsistency over how R’s abilities and non-abilities work, and there is a partial and intriguing explanation about the plague. Throughout the story, R sharing memories with the other young guy was something of a curiosity for me whether their conversations were all R’s imaginings or if Perry existed inside R for real. Somehow, it all works and kept me flipping pages to the dramatic end.
I am not a blood and guts person and I get whoosy over horror books and films, but I was so taken with this story that I was able to enjoy it even while being somewhat squeamish over the flesh eating and macabre references. The humor was the fun and redemptive part. I loved R’s voice throughout this story. He comes alive and grows and his wry monologue and dialogue make it even better. Julie is a blend of sweet and hopeful with petulant though her character makes sense in a world gone crazy. It turns out that the zombies aren’t necessarily the true monsters in the story.
All in all, this was a nice start to my fall spooky reads and I would recommend it to zombie book lovers who don’t mind a bit of romance and something different.
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New to Me #123 author/series
Mt. TBR #100
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