Friday, September 16, 2011

"Warm Bodies" by Isaac Marion

241 pages

What is left of us? the ghosts moan, drifting back into the shadows of my subconscious. No countries, no cultures, no wars but still no peace. What’s at our core, then? What’s still squirming in our bones when everything else is stripped? (p 148)

Zombies have taken over pretty much everything and the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. R lives with many of his fellow Undead in what used to be an airport. However, he's not like the others. He'd rather be listening to Sinatra and riding the elevators (when the electricity sporadically kicks on) than. He wants to remember his previous life, but all he gets are flashbacks here and there. As for his name, he just knows it started with "R." Although he craves human flesh, something about feeding on it seems wrong to him. He feels that he has no other choice, though, so he goes along with the zombie hordes. During one attack, R devours a young man and experiences some of the victim's memories as he eats the brain. This gives him a glimpse into the life of Julie, the young man's girlfriend. In a rash moment R decides to protect Julie instead of eating her. Then some pretty weird stuff starts happening (weird even for a post-zombie-apocalypse world). What results from R's decision might just change not only his own life (using the term "life" loosely) but also the world.

This is not your typical zombie book, and I loved every minute of it. At first it seems like it will be just a more manly than usual tale of paranormal romance, but it turns out to be much more. Ultimately, this is a story about what makes a human being human, the line between being alive and being dead, and having hope. The writing is beautiful without being cheesy, and the story is meaningful but not without moments of (dark) humor. There's enough gore to keep it interesting but it's not so over-the-top that the weak of stomach can't handle it. It gave me my zombie fix but also made me pause and think. Fantastic! This is Marion's first published novel, and I am anxious for more.

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