Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies
By Isaac Marion
241 Pages
Published by Atria

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.

The first thing I noticed is that Warm Bodies is a nice looking book. I really liked the cover a lot and the anatomical drawings at the beginnings of the chapters are a nice touch. While it doesn’t really do anything to change the content of the book itself I always like these little fancypants extra things that just make things look cool.

I loved R. Like, seriously. He’s my favorite zombie since Bram from Dearly, Departed. I do not think that zombies should be appealing or dashing, but meh. It is what is is and they are what they are. R does not take any pleasure in killing or eating people, he does it only on natural instinct and to survive. He doesn’t understand why it has to happen. And he doesn’t understand why he retains the memories of the people whose yummy brains he consumes. He tries to retain his humanity. He wishes he could remember his name (and I felt so sorry for him that he couldn’t!). He tries to remember how to speak. He really wants to not be a zombie and he tries hard.

R is just so, so endearing. Watching him fall in love with Julie through Perry’s memories is really sweet, and it’s interesting that Julie is better off with a zombie than she is in her own world. To give too many details about what happens would be perilously dangerous in terms of spoilers so I will just say that it’s interesting watching Julie and Perry see how the other half lives and it’s interesting to see what kind of decisions the two of them ultimately make and how it affects the world around them, both the human world and the zombie world.

As far as I know this is a standalone novel and I’m pretty sure it’s the only one Isaac Marion has written. I will definitely be interested to read more of his stuff in the future. Warm Bodies has been made into a movie scheduled to be released in 2013. I will definitely be interested in seeing it! Here’s a still shot of the guy who is playing R:

Not crazy impressed without seeing more, but he looks pretty close to what I imagined and I’m glad they didn’t go batshit nuts on the zombie make-up.

I believe this one is a promo image but I don’t know if it’s a real one or if some rando on the internet created it:

I hope so much that it’s not real because that is waaaaaay too Twilight for me. He even looks Edwardy and she sort of resembles pouty-mouth Kristin Stewart. I’m not making fun of Twilight because even though I didn’t care much for the series I’m a total believer in ‘to each his/her own’ but man…this book is nothing like Twilight and to give it that vibe is to do it a disservice. But whatever. I’ll hold off on my opinions on a movie that isn’t even due to be released until next year. But read the book now, do it!

4.5/5 Stars

Leave a comment


  1. If I were to read another zombie book, this would be it. You & I felt the same about DD, so if this gets your approval, I’m on board.

    I can’t believe that guy playing R is the same kid from About a Boy. Whoa.

  2. I have this beauty sitting on my shelf. Planning to read it before the movie for sure. I was unsure of really how the book would be. I hear great things. I’m worried about the whole dead zombie love thing. I mean, doesn’t he smell? he’s dead? he can’t smell good. hmmm. just a thought. Oh and a friend of mine refuses to read it because she thinks they might do it.

    Agreed on that promo pic. it screams twilight. not cool. not cool at all.

    I really need to get to this one though. I’m having zombie withdrawls since walking dead stopped.

    • I was worried about the zombie thing too, but he’s pretty well preserved as far as zombies go. I believe that’s actually addressed at one point in the book IIRC. There is definitely some zombie kissing but I don’t recall any zombie whoopie. You’d think it would have to happen at some point, maybe. And I’ll be honest – a zombie would probably be more hygienic than some of the guys I dated in college so I was kind of like “meh, ok.”

      I still have the last three eps of Walking Dead on my DVR. I want to watch them but I also don’t want to watch them, because then it will be over and I won’t have any new episodes for like a year.

  3. chimneywriter

     /  April 29, 2012

    Warm Bodies has been on my TBR list for awhile now, maybe it’s time to move it up.


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