16 March 2013

Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion

The film has been plastered everywhere, but how does the book compare? That's where I come in.

So for those of you who aren't that into YA fiction, or Zomromcoms, or Nicholas Hoult (who was great, by the way), Warm Bodies is Romeo and Juliet with a twist. Ever wondered what it would be like if Romeo was already dead and Juliet was the daughter of the human leader? Well, wonder no more.

The book opens nicely, with a nice description of how the zombies live, how they act, and why R (that's our Romeo) is a little different to the rest of them. Kind of like the film, but in a slightly less amusing way, we are put directly into R's mind. The first person narrative from his point of view is lovely. His thoughts and descriptions are vivid and produce wonderful images for us. The reason for his lack of words as a zombie is also nicely explained.

As always, there is more to the book than there is to the film, but here we see this in a very different way. R has a little zombie family, and the rest of the zombies are not quite as gormless and unthinking as the film suggests. They have classes for the children (macabre ones, but still, classes) and even (loosely speaking) a church. Thankfully, the Boneys were not made up, but there is a little more to them too. They are almost otherworldly beings with a faint, menacing hum emanating from them.

So, anyway, on with the book. The plot is good, it never stutters and never stops. It keeps you reading on, wondering what is going to happen. The relationship between R and Julie is not quite as obvious as it could be. I like that, as it does keep you guessing. Perry (Julie's boyfriend, who is killed by R at the start), keeps making appearances that are really interesting to read and give you more to think about. In fact, this book really makes you wonder about what happens when you die. It leaves you with philosophical questions about what happens to your soul if you were to become a zombie, or a Boney. Even the most high-brow of adults can get a kick out of this YA book.

I do feel that the ending was quite predictable in terms of what happens to R. Even the names of the parts in the book do their best in giving it away. However, it is a drastic change from the film. I don't want to give too much away, but in a way, it was a slight let-down for me about what happens to the Boneys. The climax was there, and someone dies who doesn't in the film (this part is actually really cool) but then it all kind of peters out.

Discard your preconceptions of zombies, folks. This a good read and really makes you think. Read this first, then see the film.

Three stars I'm afraid. The film just flowed better for me.

The prequel, The New Hunger, is out on Kindle now.