Saturday 1 December 2012

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Zombies are everywhere. From ‘The Walking Dead’ to ‘Left 4 Dead’, from ‘Rec’ to ’World War Z’, the last ten years have seen zombies infect the public consciousness through a mix of popular films, comics and computer games. The difficulty recently has been in keeping this crowded sub-genre still fresh and exciting without treading over the same ground. ‘Shaun of the Dead’ mixed things up by bringing an element of romance into the proceedings, (becoming the first ‘rom-zom-com’) but no one’s ever seen a zombie falling in love with a human before. Until now. We’ve seen zombies sprinting, shuffling and moaning but Isaac Marions’ debut novel reaches far deeper than this, daring to ask the question ‘Can a zombie think and feel… and even fall in love?’

‘Warm Bodies’ is the story of a zombie called ‘R’ who doesn’t exactly fit in with the other zombies. While the rest of the faceless undead hordes just shuffle around him in search of brains, R begins to develop emotions, aspiring to become something better, something more. The novel takes its time to establish its lead, describing the reality of living an undead life from day to day while providing unexpected and sometimes graphic descriptions of the typical zombie day. From the beginning though, the philosophical implications of what it is to be a human are a central conceit of the book. We often see R and the other zombies relive aspects of their former lives, attending a type of ‘church’, adopting children as their own and even trying to have sex.

At the aforementioned church, we also get our first glimpse of the ‘Boneys’. These undead creatures are more skeleton than human and they are as freaky as f**k! It was clever of Marion to create a new adversary for a book that humanises the normally horrific zombie monster. Saying that though, the zombies aren’t exactly fluffy kittens either.

It’s during a hunt for humans in the city that R first encounters Julie. After eating her boyfriend, R suddenly feels a connection with Julie and decides to spare her, saving her from the other zombies. The rest of the book then explores the sweet yet awkward relationship that develops between the two and how the other humans and zombies react to their growing love.

Usually, when a book has a premise as fantastic and innovative as this, it’s hard for the story to live up to expectations but ‘Warm Bodies’ is truly an amazing read. The main relationship is beautiful and yet strangely believable and there are some great supporting characters amongst the rest of the living and undead cast. Marion has created something special here with this unique yet surprisingly deep take on zombie mythology and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is bored of reading or seeing the typical ‘Romero’ zombie stories which have become slightly over-used in recent years.

‘Warm Bodies’ isn’t perfect however. While I was completely gripped by the first half, I do have some issues with the pacing in the last quarter of the book and the ending is slightly unsatisfactory. There are also some characters who are less rounded than the others and so they suffer in comparison to the charismatic protagonists. Don’t let these minor flaws put you off however. ‘Warm Bodies’ is a thrilling read which I think will be regarded as a horror classic in years to come. And if you’re still not convinced, then check out the trailer to the film adaptation that’s out in 2013.

Nicholas Hoult is perfect casting for R and the ‘Boney’s’ look even scarier than I imagined. I literally cannot wait to see this film and I just hope they do it justice. Judging by what we’ve seen so far though, I think Jonathan Levine (director of indie hit 50/50) will do a great job with it.

What do you think of the poster? Is Nicholas Hoult right for the role of R? And what’s your favourite moment in the book? Let me know what you think by commenting, liking and sharing below. And read the book now before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon! Thanks!




  1. I love a good zombie book and I love the idea. This looks really good I can't wait to read it.

  2. now looking forward to the film

    1. Looks amazing! Just jope its as good as the book.