Lollygagger’s #CBR5 Review #43: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I know it might be blasphemy to admit this on a site frequented by so many Pajibans, but here goes: I’m not really into zombies. I have no desire to watch The Walking Dead (and have muted all related hashtags on Twitter); no interest in World War Z. I did see Shawn of the Dead about two years ago and I recall laughing very loudly at Zombieland. But that’s it for me.

I say this all because the reason I ended up reading Warm Bodies is because I saw the movie. It was available on Redbox, my husband and I wanted to watch something, and we both thought we’d remembered someone saying it was cute and different from standard zombie fare. And that generic someone was correct: the movie was adorable. So adorable that we ended up watching all the extras, including one where they speak with the author of the book. If I’m remembering correctly, the book was actually written to fulfill an option placed on a short story Mr. Marion had written, and which a film director had picked up. That sounded kind of interesting, so I decided to read the book.

The book is a quick read – it’s not short, but the action moves at a nice clip. If you’re familiar with the film, you’ll recognize most of what’s in the book, although there are some differences. Based loosely on Romeo and Juliet, Warm Bodies follows the life (or “life”) of R., a zombie who has a very rich inner monologue. He lives in an airplane at the airport (flight has stopped long ago), goes out hunting with his fellow zombies, and even has a zombie wife. Until he runs into Julie and her friends, regular humans out on a scavenging mission from their home, an old sports stadium. Julie gets caught up with the zombies in R.’s hunting group, and R. saves her, taking her back with him to the airport and hiding her from the other zombies who just smell the life in her.

While the book certainly has some connection to the star-crossed lovers concept of Romeo and Juliet (I mean, how much more star-crossed can you get when one of you is, you know, dead), I enjoyed it more for its exploration of what being a zombie means. Why DO they eat brains? What happens when they do? Do they have any feelings? Can they be helped? What does that mean for the regular, living humans? As I said, I’ve never really cared for zombies once they are seen as this threat to the humans, but the back story? The view from their eyes? That’s pretty cool indeed.

loulamac’s #CBRV review #37: ZOM-B by Darren Shan


ZOM-B is the first book in a series of twelve charting the zombie apocalypse. Because I love all zombie-related stuff, I will be reading all twelve, even though the book isn’t that great. It’s silly, but I liked it.

The main character is B, a teenager who living with an abusive dad and doormat mum. Like any teenager, B is dealing with the usual pressures of growing up and finding a place in the world – school, the dynamics of friendship groups, and clashes with parents. What B isn’t prepared for is a zombie attack. When reports from Ireland start to surface of the dead coming back to life and eating the brains of the living, B’s community, including parents, friends and teachers, writes it off as a hoax. It’s not, and before long B is battling zombies in the corridors at school.

It reads like The Walking Dead meets Grange Hill. Every bit as gruesome and gory as you’d expect from a zombie story, but the setting of the world of teenagers, with their angst, bravado and issues with their parents is incongruous. This incongruity is charming, because of course kids would be affected by a zombie attack every bit as much as the adults these stories usually focus on. So that makes it refreshing. It’s not very well written, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s disposable, short and fun.  My only gripe is that when humans become zombies they grow long sharp bone protuberances from their fingertips, all the better to crack skulls and scoop out brains. What can I say? I’m a zombie purist.

Caitlin’s #CBR5 #35: The End Games by T. Michael Martin

I really loved this book. It seems like a lot of the zombie books I have read include necromancers or angry rage people instead of the normal flesh-eating zombies. The End Games is more of a traditional zombie story. It’s about two brothers, older Michael and his young brother Patrick. Michael makes up a game out of surviving in order to protect Patrick. There’s tons of action and the relationship between the brothers is really sweet.

You can read my full review at my blog here.

Even Stevens’s #CBR5 review #9: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion


R is a zombie. He can’t remember his full name, what he did or who was when he was alive, or even how he died.  The only sounds he can make are grunts and groans, but inside his head is swimming with thought and emotion. Yes, he eats people, but it’s only logistical, he needs to continue existing. And what is this existence anyway? Well, he finds his reason when he and a group of other zombies attack a group of humans and he sees Julie. He helps Julie escape the ordeal alive, and helps her blend in and protects her.  He and Julie forge a strange, tentative bond that is tested once they get out into the real world.  R doesn’t want to go back to normal zombie life, and he feels like maybe, just maybe he’s learning to be human again.

I love supernatural stories, vampires, demons, ghosts, I love em all. Zombies fall under that category, but they’re toward the bottom of my list and quite frankly with zombie craze spawning a ton of books, I was a little tired out. I had seen the premise of Warm Bodies and thought “Eh, not for me. Just another attempt to wring the last idea out of a tired genre.” However, the positive buzz for this book lasted a lot longer than most others and it stayed on my radar. And then the movie came out and it looked charming and funny, so I finally broke down and read it. Sometimes, friends, I am an idiot. I was an idiot to wait that long to read this book because it is great. It was absolutely wonderful and fun to read from start to finish.

First of all, R is a very likable narrator. There is a lot of dry humor, and wry observations about human nature and not-so-human nature.  His relationship with his best friend “M” (and M himself) is probably my favorite part of the book.  The set up is a simple one, but Marion makes sly observations about our nature and how we identify ourselves and those around us through the zombie apocalypse.  There are some bittersweet moments (for instance, the thought that they may never see a plane in the sky again) that remind us that even if the story has a happy ending, there is much that has been sacrificed, many that have been lost.

There are quite a few opportunities for clichés to rear their ugly head, and indeed I often expected them, but Marion deftly steers clear of any sappiness or unnecessary theatrics.  This book is funny, thoughtful, and likeable and I found myself rooting for M and Julie the entire time.  There was a subplot with the “Boneys” that I wish had been fleshed out a bit more, but it’s really a very minor complaint about what is otherwise an excellent story. I recommend this to anyone looking for a fresh, fun take on the zombie apocalypse.