Warm bodies is the story of R. Who's R? R is a zombie living in a dilapidated airport in a post-apocalyptic world. His main activities include groaning and riding the escalators up and down until the power goes out again. He's a pretty normal zombie with a wife and kids, and a best friend he likes to exchange a few syllables with. However, all that changes the day he meets Julie, a very alive girl, whose boyfriend's brain he devours before saving her life. From that moment on, his life (death?) is never the same.
I was never a big fan of zombies (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies made me want to bitch slap the author with his own creation) but when I saw the preview for the movie I was intrigued and decided to read the book first. I found the idea original and the concept interesting; that is probably what made me fly through the first hundred pages. Things changed a bit after that and although I kept reading at a good pace, I grew discontent with the story. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
R, the main character, is a very lovable zombie. I liked him from the start with all his undead clumsiness and strange thoughts. Marion has managed to make him into a very believable zombie and the evolution of the character is brought about skillfully. Although I have to give him props for creating a heroine who actually has a personality (not an empty shell like Twilight's Bella), I have to say that she is a very cliche one. She's the I-still-see-hope-in-this-forsaken-world girl who not only is gorgeous but also knows how to swear, drink and drive manual. She appears almost flawless and was a constant source of annoyance to me. I didn't believe in her like I did in R. Actually, her friend Nora was more credible.
At first when I saw that Stephenie Meyers had given the book good critic I was a bit skeptic but as I read, I came to understand why. The connection that happens between Julie's boyfriend Perry and R is very similar to what happens in Meyers' so-called adult novel The host. While not being as insipid as Twilight, it's not exactly the best book in history. The idea wasn't bad but I think it was overused in Warm bodies and many of the memories didn't really help the plot.
Lastly, the miraculous ending was a real let down. Marion builds a tension all through the book and then lets it fall flat, a bit like Meyers did at the end of Breaking Dawn (Yes, I've read them all. I believe that to have an opinion about them, one should have least tried to read them.) Nothing is explained, magical stuff starts to happen and we're in for a happy ending.
Setting the story aside, I must say that Marion's prose is delectable and very enjoyable. His similes are very appropriate to the theme and made me smile many times. His use of adjectives is also always dead on (rank ranks, mildewed fairytale, etc) - no pun intended. All in all, he has a great style and I would definitely like to read more of his work.
In the end, this really falls under the teen literature although it wasn't marketed as so in Chapters. It's something light, junk food literature as one of my friends would put it. I will probably go see the movie anyway, just because I'm curious to see the adaptation.
Atua's rating: Meh.