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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Book Review of Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Back in September I finally got to read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. I'd heard rave reviews about it, a lot of people had been discussing it and talking about the issues raised within the books pages. Not long after reading it, I discovered it was being made into a film - which is out at the cinema now. So if you haven't heard of the book the chances are you've probably heard about or watched the film! The film is actually a rom-com, whereas the book is a lot more darker and thought provoking, and I hope to see and review the film too. I'm interested to see how it compares to the book, although I would have loved to see the film being made within that darker genre as I feel being a rom-com it may not do the book as much justice.

The blurb reads -

'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a burst of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight...

It took me a good few weeks to read this book which is actually kind of odd for me as normally I'll read a book within days or a week. It wasn't that I didn't like it - I actually really enjoyed this book - but it was more the fact that it was so deep and dark that it was something I found I had to take a break from every so often. I found it was the type of book that needed your full attention - I couldn't read it whilst on the bus on the way to work for example or whilst half watching TV. It was very heavy if that makes sense.

I generally thought the idea behind the storyline was fantastic. I've not really seen a book (or many other things for that matter) covering the idea/issues both after a zombie apocaylpse or by focusing on the zombie. This book focuses on R who is a zombie and is written from his point of view which is so interesting simply because it's so different. I imagine the author would have struggled with this quite a bit, but honestly massive props to him for not only attempting it but managing to do it very well!

Despite the fact that R is a zombie, it's very easy to sympathize with him and feel sorry for him. I doubt many people have actually imagined what it must be like to be a zombie from a more neutral point of view - the fact that zombies need to eat human flesh to survive and that it's not really their choice to become monsters. None the less, a lot of the issues raised in this book are thought provoking.

I thought it was oddly romantic too, in a very weird sense. The blurb reads that Julie is a 'burst of colour in a dreary grey landscape' - and at the end of the day, isn't that love exactly? When the world is okay, not amazing but not horrible either, but when you meet someone special it just becomes that little bit better and brighter?

I found some parts of this book actually quite depressing, especially when it forced me to think about the lifestyle and purpose of a zombie and things from their point of view. When I stopped to think about the fact that these zombies were once actual people and now didn't even live properly - both in the sense that they didn't 'live' their live and in the sense that they're technically 'undead' - well it was quite sad. The idea that they had no purpose whatsoever and just...wandered absolutely terrified me to no end. No memories. No names. No persona. They just...are.

There isn't much I can say about this book without ruining the plot line apart from the fact I'd definitely suggest reading it. It's not for everyone, but it is very different, and the type of story I could re-read a few times over even though I know how it ends. I'm very intrigued to see how the film compares to it and I have a lot of respect for the book, simply for how tough it must have been to write and just how interesting it is to see Isaac Marion push the boundaries and write about this type of subject.

P.S Check out the Book Reviews tag for more book reviews! Also, please do visit Hanging On Every Word - another blog I'm part of. It's a collaborative book review blog between myself and some other bloggers and there are some great reviews on there! Please do check it out!

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