Sunday, May 19, 2013
Warm Bodies Sticks To You Like Zombie Goo!,
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion ~ book review by Dee Marie
When it comes to devouring novels, I have a very eclectic palette. Even so, I was never a huge fan of the supernatural (aside from hobbits, fairies, and wizards). That is until I stumbled into the fairytale-world of novelist Martin Millar. His fetish for Buffy the Vampire Slayer spread through me like a virus. Once infected with stories of vampires and werewolves, I was hopelessly cursed with no cure in sight.
Yet, there was still a part of me that resisted the urge to delve into the dark waters of any media (books, television, movies) dealing with zombies. My prejudice dissolved after watching the movie, Warm Bodies. Instead of being repulsed, I found myself laughing one moment, moved to tears the next (not tears brought on by terror but instead heart-tugging teardrops, the kind that seeps out unexpectedly).
Movies that are based on novels, especially good movies, always pique my curiosity. Yet, exiting the theater left me with a yearning that I had not expected. On my drive home, I found myself missing the characters. Maybe it was just the journalist (or perhaps the romantic) in me; but I had to fill the plot holes; mend the unhealed zombie lesions the movie adaptation left gaping within my imagination.
Although I downloaded the book version of Warm Bodies that evening, life (as it often does) got in the way of my reading schedule. Soon the answers that I so urgently craved became a distant memory only to be reignited last night, as I idly thumbed through my Kindle library. Turning the first page of Warm Bodies, I became hopelessly transported into author Isaac Marion’s post-apocalyptic world. It wasn’t until the first rays of daylight seeped through my bedroom curtains, that I realized I had spent a sleepless night nested in a hive of zombies.
If pressed to describe Warm Bodies, in a single word, it would have to be thought-provoking! Yes, I know technically that’s two words hyphenated perhaps: brilliant or innovative would do? Thankfully this is not a Twitter book-review, because when an author tugs at my emotions, my reviews tend to be loquacious. Isaac Marion shredded my essence. His words shattered my heart with despair; gently gluing the pieces back together with a glimmer of hope.
At first glance, Warm Bodies is an expected tale of horror. Mindless zombies, driven by an insatiable hunger, seek the only food source that can sustain them: living humans. The author juxtaposes graphic details with the reader’s imagination, as he describes the carnage of flesh being torn from screaming victims, brains suckled, and limbs ripped from the not yet dead. At the same time he skillfully implies, that it’s not malice within a zombie’s heart that drives them to feed after all, zombies don’t have hearts at least not beating ones. They are simply doing what comes naturally, they eat to survive.
In the middle of the feasting frenzy, one zombie, whose name is simply R, suddenly resists the overpowering urge to devour the source that spawned his kind. Like a knee bone is connected to a thigh bone; R has a vision that is connected to a name. In turn, the name is connected to a female survivor. A spark of humanity is ignited within the zombie by a single word Julie.
From that moment, Warm Bodies transformed from a typical horror story into an uncategorized genre. The novel teeters on the cusp of romance, interwoven with political intrigue, splattered with unanswerable spiritual queries. It is a study of utopia versus dystopia. It is a story that not only entertains, but dares readers to explore what motivates their political, environmental, and religious beliefs to reflect upon both immortality, as well as modern morality.
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion book review by Dee Marie
Told from R’s point-of-view, the anti-hero explores the three distinct levels of his universe: The Living (humans), The Fleshies (zombies), and the Boneys (beyond-zombies). In disturbingly parallel scenes, R explores the differences, as well as the similarities, between humans and zombies. In a non-preachy manner, Warm Bodies, cautions readers to question the direction our society is headed: warning of the ramifications of our current path, at the same time giving an optimistic outcome for a better tomorrow.
The author scatters the storyline about like newly unboxed puzzle pieces, allowing readers to decide which society is truly uncivilized. At the same time, he prods readers to ponder what makes a civilized society civil; does a perfect formula exist that combines right-versus-might? Within the serious undertones of the subplots, dashes of humor are smattered about, with the cunning perfection of a novelist who knows his craft and understands his readers.
Like Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Isaac Marion’s provocative novel is destined to become a classic, not because of the monsters, but despite them love, after all is the epicenter to both stories. Warm Bodies is not just a tale of young forbidden lovers; but a love-story of humanity; a love-story of life with hope for the future. Like the movie, the novel moved me to tears and laughter; it tugged at my heart and soul. Unlike the movie, the novel made me ponder and question the world I live in.
Long after you have read the last page; Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion, is a novel that will stick to you like zombie goo which is surprisingly A Good Thing!
[Be sure to check out Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies prequel: The New Hunger]