I have been known to whinge about "kissable zombie" books. Zoms are bitey. Zoms are monsters. That's the way they should stay. Well, Marion didn't exactly turn his zombies into dream dates, but he did go a long way towards...humanising them. And I loved the result.
R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.
After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.
Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.
I came to care for R in a way I never thought would be possible. I was convinced I knew what the ending would be before I was very far into it--I read it in New York and I would say to my friend, shaking my head, this is not going to end well.
But Warm Bodies is as unexpected as it is warm. It follows an unusual trajectory for an apocalyptic novel, one that I've only seen explored once before (in Children of the Dust). I really loved this book.