Meet R. R can’t remember his first name, only the first initial. He hangs out with his best friend, M, in their airport home, listens to music, and wonders about what his life used to be like. R likes to leave home on occasion, taking trips into the city to get some food. His food of course is brains, because R is a zombie.
On one such jaunt, R and his buddies come across a salvage party of the Living. He kills and eats the brain of a young man named Perry Kelvin and is immediately taken through Perry’s life. Each bite of brain earns him more of Perry’s history. On a whim, R decides to take a Living girl named Julie – Perry’s girlfriend – back to the zombie hive, claiming he wants to keep her safe. But as he gets to know Julie, he realizes he’s changing, and maybe his life as a zombie doesn’t have to be the way it is.
Warm Bodies is Isaac Marion’s first novel. It’s not your typical zombie story, as it’s told from R’s point of view, and the reader quickly comes to care about R. It’s a beautifully written and at times humorous take on the zombie phenomenon. The cause of the conversion to the Dead is never fully explained, but the references to war, greed and the state of the world make it pretty obvious that humankind did it to themselves. But all hope is not lost, as more of the Dead join R in his quest to rejoin the Living.
The comparisons between the Dead the Living show they both really want one thing – to survive. The Dead teach their kids how to eat and kill a Living, and the Living teach their kids how to defend themselves from the Dead. The Dead need brains to keep living – so to speak – but they soon wonder if this is really true, or if they just need brains to remember what it was like to be alive.
Marion adds a third layer of complexity to the battle between the Living and the Dead – Boneys. Boneys are zombies who have reached full skeleton status, all of their flesh having completely rotted away. There’s something even more sinister to the Boneys than the Fleshies, who seem to be pretty ok people, as far as zombies go. The Boneys don’t want the Dead to rejoin the Living and do whatever possible to stop them.
Warm Bodies could be described as a zombie love story, but it’s really so much more than that. Anyone who has enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or the movie Shaun of the Dead should check out Warm Bodies.
Nancy often feels like a zombie after not getting enough sleep. She writes about her 2 boys and life in Colorado at Life With My Boys.