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Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

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In anticipation of the upcoming film, I decided to read Isaac Marion’s novel Warm Bodies. I’m glad to say that I didn’t waste the ten dollars I spent purchasing it at the local Hastings.

Warm Bodies is a the delightfully gory yet romantic story told by a teenage zombie who, unfortunately, is unable to recall his own name, save for the fact that it may have begun with the letter R. “R”, though deceased, is a very lively character with a deep and engrossing vocabulary that often questions the meaning of life and also the meaning of death. But despite his colorful mind, R’s life is appropriately gray. He lives with a colony of fellow zombies in an abandoned airport, where he spends his days riding up and down the escalators, listening to Sinatra on an old phonograph, and, oh yeah, eating the brains of the living.

It’s not like he wants to eat them – he is capable of thought, after all – but he relishes the memories and feelings of life he experiences after devouring a survivor’s brains. He experiences such feelings and memories after he kills a young survivor by the name of Perry Kelvin, who, during his time alive, was in a strong relationship with the blonde, strong-willed beauty Julie.

R finds himself in love with this human girl and whisks her away on a date of all dates: hiding out in the old 747 that serves at R’s home and eating old pad Thai food while covered in zombie blood and guts. Sounds like every girl’s dream, right? Yeah. But Julie manages to look past R’s pale exterior and finds what really matters: a warm and loving heart, though without a pulse.

Mr. Marion’s novel contains some parallels to William Shakespeare’s popular romance Romeo and Juliet, including the character’s names (R and Julie), a balcony scene (in which R humorously and pitifully falls flat on his back while trying to climb it), and the undying love story of a boy and girl from two different worlds. But instead of being from two feuding families, Marion places these lovers in two warring species, the living and the dead. I applaud Marion for being able to engross me in such a clever and captivating story, but there is one thing he included in his novel that I don’t understand: a frequent use of the f-bomb. I understand that, if we were really living in a zombie apocalypse, there’s no telling what might come out of our mouths. But there are many instances in the book where cursing is used to serve no purpose whatsoever. Anyone who is easily offended by such language and sexual situations and references (which can also be found in Marion’s book) may be better off seeing the movie instead, which has a mere PG-13 rating.

I immensely enjoyed Isaac Marion’s novel Warm Bodies, and I urge anyone who loves either zombies, romance, or just plain good books to read it. (As long as you are not offended by the things I have mentioned previously). I managed to read it over the weekend, so it’s not like it’ll take a huge chunk out of your life if you do decided to read it. I’m glad I did; it has made me even more excited and anxious to see the movie version of this wonderful work of fiction when it hits theaters in February.



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