Friday, September 02, 2011

Warm Bodies

When's the last time you actually cheered for a zombie? I mean, really cheered for him or her? You might do so if they're about to take a chunk out of a really annoying person in a story, but I suspect that making a zombie a sympathetic hero is not easy.

Well, unless you're Isaac Marion, author of Warm Bodies. And it isn't that hard to cheer for a zombie if that zombie is R.

R is different from the rest of the Dead. He lives alone in a jet at an abandoned airport. He's introspective, wondering about who he is and where he came from. And that difference leads him to do something unheard of: while out hunting, he spares a young woman named Julie.

R doesn't know why he did it. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he killed and ate Julie's boyfriend just a moment before he met her. Maybe it's something about her. Maybe there's something changing in him. But suddenly, R doesn't want to be a zombie anymore. Instead, he wants Julie. And maybe, just maybe, she wants to be with him too. But how can a Living girl and a Dead man be together when their worlds are so different?

If you're more observant than I am, you probably caught the literary underpinnings of this story (I actually feel quite stupid for not catching the "R" and "Julie" connection until about 2/3s of the way through). But don't let that throw you. This is a great book. R is an interesting, complex individual that you want to see succeed, even in the face of impossible odds. The zombie-fied world that Marion created is an interesting one too, complete with what appears to be a zombie culture that's fascinating to explore.

The ending didn't quite work for me. It was a bit too deus ex machina, although in keeping with the unheard "soundtrack" of the book (this book is big on music). But don't let that throw you. It's a fast read, and well worth your time.

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