R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead. (Goodreads)
R is a zombie. He has been for a while but not that long because his skin hasn’t rotted off yet. He’s not your run of the mill zombie either. He feels bad when he eats the brains he moans about (“Braaaaiiiinnnsss”), he listens to Frank Sinatra records and he generally doesn’t like being dead. R doesn’t remember his name, just that it started with an R. His daily activities consist of shuffling around the airport where the zombies live and riding the escalators. Every so often him, his best friend M and some others go into the city to get a bite to eat.
One day, when they eat a group of kids, R gets hold of Perry’s brain. When zombies ingest a brain, they get to see parts of the life of the person who belonged to the brain. When R eats Perry’s brain, he sees bits and pieces about Perry’s relationship with a girl. Julie. The same girl that is about to get eaten by M but R saves her and gets her back to the airport to keep her safe.
Little by little, R feels that he’s changing. He can feel again, he can walk more fluently, he can talk better, he can even dream. He is curing himself.
//Warning: Contains Spoilers even though there’s not much to spoil//
When I first heard about this book I thought that it was going to be Twilight with Zombies. But then, I read a lot of reviews that basically said that Warm Bodies was not the zombie version of Twilight but was much better. Because of this, I started reading it. My conclusion: I don’t agree with these people. Maybe it’s not exactly the same as Twilight but it’s definitely in the same category. Let me tell you why:
First of all, R is a zombie with a conscience. He feels guilty about the people he eats and he doesn’t like it. He rather want a normal life, like the one he had when he was still alive. Does that sound familiar, anyone?
Julie is a girl who gets kidnapped by a zombie but seems strangely cool with it. Sure, she’s a bit scared but when he claims that he will “keep.. you.. safe..”, she doesn’t fight or run or whatever. She’s happy as a clam sitting in his ‘house’, eating canned thai food and listening to Frank Sinatra. Only difference between her and Bella is that she kicks ass when she has to. When she does decide to leave, she decapitates 4 zombies when they try to eat her.
There’s not as much psychological fuckery in Warm Bodies as there is in Twilight but there’s definitely enough of it. For example; there’s the fact that Julie becomes attatched to a freaking zombie and asks about kissing him several times. Also, apparently Julie is completely OK with R killing Perry.
“Anyway,” she says, “whoever killed Perry… I just want you to know I don’t blame them for it.”
I tense again. “You… don’t?”
“No. I mean, I think I get it. You don’t have a choice, right? And tot be honest… I’d never say this to anyone, but…” She stirs her food. “It’s kind of a relief that it finally happened.”
Her reasoning for this is that she can finally stop dreading the inevitable. This get elaborated later by Julie’s friend Nora who says that they have decided that they weren’t going to hold grudges for things they can’t control. R is a zombie, zombies eat people, Perry was kinda suicidal thus inevitable. It’s cool, bro. No hard feelings. Wait, what?
“R, come on,” Nora says, mock-slapping the side of my head. “You’re a zombie. You have the plague. Or at least you did when you killed Perry. Maybe you’re different now – I sure hope you are – but back then you didn’t know you had choices. This isn’t ‘crime’, it’s not ‘murder’, it’s something way deeper and more inevitable.” She taps her temple. “Me and Julie get that, okay? There’s a Zen saying, ‘No praise, no blame, just so.’ We don’t care about assigning blame for the human condition, we just want to cure it.”
Psychological fuckery, boys and girls. Doesn’t matter that my long term boyfriend is dead and that you killed him and ate his brain. You couldn’t help it so I’m just going to go ahead and fall in love with you now if that’s okay. *bangs head against wall*
The baseline of this book is that R is a zombie who meets this girl and apparently, together, they are special. R begins to change and cure himself and by him and Julie being together, this cure spreads to the other zombies. The cure is complete when R and Julie finally kiss. Instead of R’s venom infecting Julie, they fight it down and R becomes human again. Also, Julie’s eyes turn yellow.
Why? We don’t know. We’re never told what makes R and Julie so special, we don’t get to know what it is that cures zombieism, we don’t even get to know what made the zombies in the first place. There’s some talk about a ‘plague’ but that could just as easily be the name that they have given it, not the cause. It’s the most random thing in the world.
Basically, this story is about ‘the healing power of love, man’. It has some glaring plot holes, it doesn’t have a lot of depth and the end leaves you with a feeling of “ehm.. okay”. Some things in the book are just weird. For example, the zombies don’t remember anything about their lives, what they did, who they were, nothing. But, somehow, they do seem to remember what Wasabi was, how to operate a record player, who Frank Sinatra is. They also have sex (or some basic version of it), marriage, adoption and schools. It’s just.. how does that fit in with being a zombie?! Also, throughout the book it’s made pretty obvious that zombies have some physical issues. They get bits and pieces blown off by shotguns, flesh rots away etc. Even R falls down sometime in the story and seemingly breaks his back. Shouldn’t these injuries kill the zombies right after they are cured? Seeing as R started bleeding from a wound Julie gave him when they first met, thus implying that the wounds and injuries don’t heal with being ‘cured’. Watch out for infinite plot holes.
When I was reading other reviews about this book (namely the ones that weren’t raving about this book) is that the comparison to Romeo and Juliet is even more glaring in this book than it was in Twilight and let’s face it, it was pretty damn obvious in Twilight so that’s saying something. I didn’t notice this while reading because I don’t think about these things and to be honest, I wasn’t paying that much attention to the book anyways.
Anyway there’s R(omeo), Julie(t), M(ercutio) and Julie’s best friend Nora who is studying to, wait for it.., be a nurse. Only difference is that they didn’t kill themselves to be with each other, they ‘bring themselves back to live’ by doing something that should have killed them. Joy.
In conclusion: It’s not a badly written book. It’s very YA and I can see how it can appeal to this age group. It’s very Twilight-y with it’s shallow, romantic story but it’s somehow still kinda entertaining. But not that much. I probably won’t read it again. If there had been ANY plot development or explanation or SOMETHING AT ALL that would explain the ‘why’, it would have been a whole lot more interesting. Who knows, maybe Isaac Marion is planning a second instalment.