Ah, romances between paranormal creatures and young women. There have sure been a lot of books falling into this genre over the years. Vampire romances, witch romances, werewolf romances, alien romances … and now zombie romances. I read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion because I wanted to go and see the movie (which I still haven’t seen yet) and because I was curious about how a zombie (a rotting, brain-eating, moaning corpse) could be made to be desirable. I’m not sure too many people would fantasise about this particular creature.
I was expecting some sort of angst-ridden, Twilight-style romance but instead got something that had a bit more substance. Warm Bodies tells the tale of a zombie called ‘R’. Like all zombies, he has no memory of who he was when he was alive or what his name was. All he recalls is the letter ‘R’. R is more articulate than most zombies in that he can string together a few words at a time. Most of his kind just stand around moaning at each other. He lives in an abandoned airport on the edge of a post-apocalyptic city. The airport houses a big nest of zombies and R calls a 747 his home. On the outside he likes hunting for humans and eating their brains, but on the inside he is capable of deep thought about his situation.
One day R goes on a raid in the city and eats the brain of a young man. In doing so, he finds himself seeing the young man’s memories and hearing his thoughts. Then he does something extraordinary – he saves a young woman from being eaten by the other raiding zombies. The woman, Julie, is the ex-girlfriend of the man whose brain he just ate. He takes her back to the airport and an unlikely relationship develops between them.
Julie is a tough cookie and hates zombies but she can see that R is different. As they begin an unlikely friendship, the world around them begins to alter. For if R is capable of suppressing his zombie-like tendencies, is it possible that other zombies will follow? And can they convince the humans barricaded behind the walls of the stadium that there is still hope for the world?
Warm Bodies is imaginative, funny and touching in equal parts. I can’t say I’ve ever had an interest in zombies as a subject matter, but I really liked this book. Now I have to see the movie.