Monday, October 10, 2016

WARM BODIES // I Promise, It Only LOOKS Like Necrophilia

Rating: Five Stars—ajklsdflk (when words fail to describe how wonderful a book is)

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the UK cover for WARM BODIES? It’s simultaneously morbid and elegant, which was why I had to buy this edition. (Also, the fun part of the physical book is that the brain stem and veins on the cover are raised like mountains on a topographical map, so you can stroke them, if you’re into being super creepy like that. *whistles casually*) 

Okay, okay, moving on. 

I have a confession to make. 

I am zombie trash. 

If you’ve been my friend on Goodreads for any amount of time, then you probably already know that. (You also probably know that I’m vampire trash, but we’re not going to talk about that. Shhh.) 

I almost broke with my typical Monday/Wednesday schedule and made this a full on zombie-themed week, since I have enough material to review a zombie novel EVERY DAY, plus a fun zombie-related thing on Wednesday. If I wasn’t trying to get all my posts through to the end of November edited before October 15th, I wouldn’t hold myself back. But as it is, I already have enough on my plate without adding extra. *sad face* 

Okay, time for another confession: With WARM BODIES, I watched the movie before reading the book. *hangs head* I’d been planning to borrow the audiobook from the library, but when I saw the movie was on VidAngel, I went ahead and watched it. And I absofreakinglutely loved it. Naturally I went ahead and bought the book so I could eat the author’s brain. I mean read it…with my eyes…

*clears throat* 

Side Note: Normally I do try to read the book before watching the movie, as I am a loyal bookworm, but I also tend to be more forgiving of the movie version if I watch it ahead of time. That way I’m not distracted and annoyed by all the differences. And if I love the movie, I am more likely to be forgiving of weaknesses in the book (as with THE MAZE RUNNER, which I felt was good, but not particularly well-written). 

So lets talk a bit about WARM BODIES. 

The Writing. The first thing you need to know about this book is that it is really well-written. I kept wanting to jump up and share random quotes with my sister, even though I’m normally not the type to do that. 

The Tone. While R’s narration is primarily funny in the movie, his narration in the book is not only humorous, but surprisingly introspective and wise. 

The Main Theme. As can be expected from a zombie story, WARM BODIES deals with what it means to be human and what it means to be alive. But we’re getting this from a unique view-point, since R is a zombie. 

The Story. When R encounters Julie on a hunt, instead of eating her, he rescues her and bring her back to the airport where he lives with a collection of other zombies. As R comes to know Julie, and even care about her, he begins to realize that he is not content as a corpse—he wants to be alive. 

And honestly, as weird—and wrong—as it sounds to contemplate a zombie/human romance (because necrophilia is messed-up), I really, really advise you not to judge this book by its premise. I’ve heard a people say harsh things about WARM BODIES without even knowing what the story is really about. (The rest of this section contains spoilers, so just highlight the blank part to read the text if you don’t mind being spoiled. Also, just so you know, I'm totally stealing TT's method of hiding spoilers.) [SPOILER] If you assume WARM BODIES is about necrophilia, you’re missing the point. It’s not about falling in love with a dead body. It’s not about sex. It’s not a twisted novel about twisted peopled doing twisted things. It’s about recognizing worth and value in a mind that can’t fully express itself. It’s about dying and then coming to life, because that’s what falling in love is like. The whole point of the story is that the zombie apocalypse wasn’t started by a virus or a curse. It was started because people simply stopped living. It started because people became dead inside, and the next step was to start devouring each other and decomposing. 

As R says:

“I think we crushed ourselves down over the centuries. Buried ourselves under greed and hate and whatever other sins we could find until our souls finally hit the rock bottom of the universe. And then they scraped a hole through it, into some…darker place."

The whole point of R and Julie’s relationship is that, when R falls in love, he begins to come to life. If you get all hung up on the idea of a human falling for a zombie, you miss the whole point that this whole shocking set up was set up to make. At its core, it’s not about a human falling for a zombie or a zombie falling for a human—it’s about a zombie falling for life. [END SPOILER]

The Characters. R is one of my favorite narrators of all time. He’s a packrat, romantic zombie with a conscience. I’m not sure how much better it can get than that. 

I also really love Julie. She is smart and strong and brave and refreshingly different. She’s very much alive in her own sharp, wistful, angry way. Normally I don’t find the potential romantic interests particularly well-matched to other each other, so it’s always nice to fall for both sides of a ship. 

Then there’s M, and he’s just perfect. He’s the perfect sidekick, the perfect comic relief, and the perfect second-in-command (of sorts) to R. 

Nora is great too. She is subversive and independent, hardened yet vulnerable. Perhaps my only problem with the movie version is that, while Nora is a POC in the book, they used a white actress. Because apparently it’s impossible to find a black actress for the role. *angrily punches zombie in the face* 

The Parallel. [SPOILER] We need to talk about the whole Romeo and Juliet set up, right down to the balcony scene and the feuding families (alive people vs. zombies). Even the ending parallels ROMEO AND JULIET, since R is already dead (though coming alive) and Juliet’s brief eye color change after the kiss indicates a temporary transition to zombie status. I don't think it's meant to be a retelling of ROMEO AND JULIET, per se, but the elements are there, and I love it. [END SPOILER]

In Conclusion. I have nothing else to say. I feel like R. I have all these happy thoughts about WARM BODIES stuck in my head, but all I can do is bang the keyboard a couple hundred times in an attempt convince you of this story’s amazingness. Dlfkajsdf asdlfkjasfdk as;lfjasldfkj

As you might have gathered, it's one of my new all-time favorite books. 

Go forth. Read.

What about you, my little coffee beans? Have you read WARM BODIES? Have you seen the movie? Which do you prefer? What are some of your favorite zombie novels?


  1. Hey, I could go for a zombie story. :) Thanks for sharing, Liz!

    1. :) You're welcome! I hope you enjoy it!

      Thank you for commenting! :)