Zombie Week! Guest Review with Emma Butler and Giveaway: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.
After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.
Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.
Some of you might remember me from last year’s Zombie Week. I argued for the inclusion of Zombies amongst the cool undead, alongside the Vampires and angry puppy dogs. In my opinion, Zombies are definitely the disadvantaged social group – you can just imagine them stood aside at a party, quietly dropping decaying limbs onto the buffet table.
So I’m stoked when I see events like Zombie Week & books like Isaac Marion’s ‘Warm Bodies’ because it means that my vitally challenged friends are getting the recognition they deserve. Especially when it’s written like Marion writes ‘Warm Bodies’ Then we hear it straight from the Zombie’s dismembered jaw.
‘Warm Bodies’ is brilliant. I promise my review is longer than one sentence, but it is. If you don’t believe me, it’s selling in almost every country and is even being made into a movie – which I will definitely be going to see! Particularly if you cast Ed Westwick as R. Just putting it out there Hollywood.
‘Warm Bodies’ features the best kind of dystopia – one we could all be heading for. In the middle of this broken down, abandoned cityscape the main character lurches into the page. Lurches, naturally, because he’s a zombie. A zombie called R, which works. A little way into the book R explains he can’t remember what his name is and it adds a spooky touch of realism to the book. These same touches keep happening all the way through. If you die & are then reanimated as one of the Living Dead, do you keep memories from your living life? Or does the trauma of Death block them out? R is a brilliantly fleshed out character that shows both sides of this coin. Its easy to love him and not just because he wears his heart on his sleeve. Literally. The synopsis reads R has ‘no name, no memories and no pulse’ which sounds like a perfect hook to me.
He’s a member of the Dead – the zombies that have been reanimated for a reason not yet explained. He roams around the abandoned city Marion makes his setting and finds a girl, Julie. I love the way the author portrays Julie and the way R sees her, because it’s not your typical way. R sees her as warm and bright and almost falls in love with her on the spot – except his zombie heart hasn’t yet worked that one out. Just the depiction of her being warm and bright rather than clichéd descriptions of being ravishing or gorgeous makes me warm to her. And to R for noticing what was important instead of what was on display. Maybe zombies make better boyfriends? Anyways, as a Zombie, R’s task is obviously to munch on her brains. Think that Simpsons’ episode where Flanders gets turned into a zombie; he’s clawing at the door & yelling, “Use your delicious brains to help us!” That’s the reaction R should have upon seeing the warm, bright meat wandering about the place.
Instead, he goes hungry. Relieved at not being lunch, Julie embarks on a relationship with R that is just perfect in the way it’s depicted. I was wary it would be a love at first sight thing but no, the girl is pretty wary about getting involved with one of the Undead. Bet if it was a vampire she wouldn’t think twice. R breaks out of the grave he’s been stuck in & engages in a battle that has the potential to tip their world on its head. Kind of in the same way that Divergent paints a breaking dystopia but not exactly the same line.
This is a debut novel, which of course led to some gritting teeth envy from me as I submit my manuscript. But its one of those debut novels that just explodes and you can understand why it’s garnered the success it has. I am a huge fan of dystopias and this one is so scarily real that you find yourself wondering if it could happen. Human remnants and zombies living (or not living) together in a world that died long ago. I also like the way Marion has kept to the integrity of a zombie. Internally, R has a great brain. Externally, he just wants brains.
The book focuses on R and Julie as the main storyline but also introduces rival zombie factions. There’s such potential for the story to carry on from this. It also proves my point that Zombies are so much cooler than we give them credit for. Just look at R!
About Emma Butler: http://www.emmabutler.net/
the confessions of a shopaholic, Beretta carrying writer with one stiletto in the ring
Dystopian romance author & writer of the Black Rose series. I have a mind home to a sociopath, an ice queen & a whole lot of sugar. My muses are Jeffrey Dean Morgan (call me) & Javier Bardem. What can I say? I take only the best. I love dystopias, paranormal romance & urban fantasy. You can catch me co-authoring on Bluestockings or guest-spotting on Paperback Dolls, an international book lovers site or on Goodreads.
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