As the movie previews suggest, Warm Bodies is a remarkably similar premise: Zombie “R” spends his days meandering around an airport with his fellow undead—including best friend “M”—but during a routine search for food he stumbles across Julie, a human who we later discover just so happens to be the daughter of the military general in charge of preserving whatever semblance of humanity is left. R doesn’t fall in love with Julie so much as feel something, which, when you’re dead, is enough to provoke a bit of curiosity. Over the course of the novel, R and Julie become friends, and through said friendship (plus all to-be-expected romancing) R finds himself becoming more and more human, a development that not only spells good things for the prospect of Julie not committing necrophilia, but also for the fate of those millions upon millions of other zombies in this post-apocalyptic world. After all, if one can start feeling again, couldn’t they all?
Although zombies are one of the happening supernatural creatures of 2013—thank you, The Walking Dead—Marion does a great job of creating a zombie world that adopts all the typical fixings of the undead, plus some extras. The zombies in Warm Bodies have the capacity for limited speech and thought; they’ve formed semi-communities whose perks include bizarre religious ceremonies and a zombie training school for undead kids. They have friendships, sort of, and get “married,” sort of. Generally speaking, they seem less removed from not only humanity, but mere human-ness, than we are perhaps used to in books/movies/TV shows of this ilk.
Overall, I really really enjoyed Warm Bodies, and am excited to see the movie (because really, who knew that weird-looking kid from About a Boy would turn out decently attractive?) As zombie stories go, it’s fun and quirky, but still speaks to that greater question that accompanies all plague or plague-esque end-of-world scenarios: Why did this happen?