Sunday 3 March 2013

#CBR5 Book 23. "Warm Bodies" by Isaac Marion

Page count: 356 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Meet R. He's a zombie. He can't remember the rest of his name, or even who he used to be, but it was someone who died wearing a suit and tie. He spends his days, along with countless other zombies, shuffling along in an abandoned airport. Every so often, he and his fellow zombies will shuffle into the city to find food, eating some of the desperate survivors hiding out in boarded up buildings. They eat the flesh, but the brains are the best part, as they allow the zombies a brief moment to relive the memories of the person whose brain it is.

R is a bit different from the other zombies at the airport. He keeps collecting things he finds when they're out hunting for food. Little trinkets he brings back to the 747 he's made his home. He likes to listen to music. He prefers vinyl because the sound is purer. One day, when he, his friend M, and a bunch of others are out hunting for food, R eats the brain of a young man called Perry, and when M tries to kill Perry's girlfriend Julie, R stops him. He finds himself inexplicably drawn to Julie, and takes her home with him to the airport.

Julie is understandably terrified, but quickly discovers that R really is different from the zombies she's been taught to fear. He promises to keep her safe, and saves her life more than once. He also seems to get more articulate the more time they spend together. Is it possible that zombies can be cured. Can they reclaim their humanity and give up their grisly diet of human flesh and brains? Will Julie be able to convince her father, the zombie-hating General Grigio, that R is not just a mindless killing machine?

This is my second attempt at reading a book featuring zombie romance. I'm still rather uncomfortable with the idea. I really loved the movie Warm Bodies, and Nicholas Hoult's (I'm still baffled by how handsome the funny-looking kid from About a Boy turned out) excellent performance as R the zombie mostly made me forget that he was an undead putrefying corpse who survived by consuming brains, and that he was falling in love with the girl whose boyfriend he KILLED and ATE. At least Angel in My Life as a White Trash Zombie only ate the brains of already dead people she found in the morgue. R actually kills and eats people. It's not his fault, he has to, to survive - but it's not particularly attractive in a guy. And no, I don't know why I can forgive and find Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries so attractive, when he's a blood-thirsty vampire. I'm suspect it's the rotting flesh aspect that makes me more prejudiced against zombies.

 I also suspect I would have liked the book more if I hadn't seen the film version first. All through the book, I kept comparing the film and the book, and the book kept coming up short, every time. The book isn't bad, at all, and I really like the idea that there is no explanation as to why the zombie plague started in the first place, or any deus ex machina that triggers the cure in some of the zombies. I guess I just thought the film was funnier, and a bit more romantic, and took the potential that was in the book and turned it into something even better.

Disclaimer - I recieved a free copy of this book from Random House, via NetGalley.

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