R is a zombie. He exists in a slow-paced, endlessly repetitive world broken only by short bursts of feeding until he meets Julie, a normal human. Rather than feeding on her, R decides on impulse to capture her and protect her. But being around a living human for such a long period of time starts to have unusual effects and R finds himself changing, becoming different from all of the zombies around him. Can a relationship between a human and a zombie ever work?
My first read for RIP! Sadly it was less than stellar but it was still exciting to get my participation in the event under-way. I never had massively high hopes for Warm Bodies, but it did come recommended from someone who isn't normally a paranormal romance fan, so I was hoping that it would be fun and enjoyable. And to a certain extent, it was. I liked the tongue in cheek tone of the novel and the moments of dry humour Marion sprinkles throughout the story. Warm Bodies doesn't take itself too seriously and I liked that.
The romance itself was surprisingly sweet and believable too. I'm still not quite sure how Marion pulled it off, but R falling in love felt sweet in a non-tacky way. There was no insta-love and the interactions between the two leads were sensitively written, with just enough humour to keep them from being sappy. I was most definitely rooting for them.
The issue I had with Warm Bodies wasn't the romance, but rather the way the zombie issue itself was dealt with. Now I'm not an expert on zombies, but I know the basics and I wasn't cool with the zombie mythology in the book. There was no explanation of how the zombies came to exist in such large populations across the world and as soon as I could predict where the ending was going with R, it felt like a cop out. I don't want to spoil it for anyone but the whole zombie idea was altered too much for my liking. It felt like the easy way out.
And that wasn't the only easy way out. R initially meets Julie on a feeding/hunting trip with other zombies and Julie's boyfriend is killed. This could have been an interesting source of conflict/tension between them and could have led to some real-life complications, but everything was brushed aside by Marion in order to make the romance 'easy'. This didn't sit well with me.
On the whole, Warm Bodies was a short, fun read full of dry humour but it required just too much suspension of belief when it came to the zombies themselves.
Source: Personal copy
First Published: 2010
My Edition: Vintage, 2013
Score: 3 out of 5