All You Need Is Love… And Warm Bodies (by Isaac Marion)

April 18, 2013 Coming of Age, Frightening, Humor, Romance, Supernatural, Zombies 26

Braaaaaaaaains… I mean, Bookworms.

Sorry about that, guys. I just finished reading Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion and I’m still recovering. It’s an uplifting zombie novel with heart (beating and otherwise…) It’s not often I get to use the word “uplifting” in conjunction with “zombie,” but Warm Bodies is a rare novel.

warm bodies

We start off in an airport that is no longer functioning. It’s home to “R” and countless other zombies. R is a bit of an enigma. He cannot remember his former life, and all he can recall about his name is that it began with an R.  Oh yes, he also lusts after human brains. BUT. He can hold conversations. As long as they’re in sentences of 4 syllables or less. His best friend “M” retains an echo of his former life, and something approaching a sense of humor. R amuses himself by riding the escalators up and down when the generators periodically kick on. One day he grunts to a lady zombie. They make a pilgrimage to another portion of the airport and are married, zombie style.

WHAT?! I know, right? Not only is this book written from the perspective of a zombie, the zombies in question are ORGANIZED. They have something approaching a religion, which is manned by skeleton priests. They bring food back from hunting trips for the child zombies. They hold “school” during which they teach the zombie children how to go for the jugular. Big departure from traditional zombie lore! However, they fact that THEY WANT TO EAT YOU ALIVE remains. They TOTALLY want to eat you alive. Your brain especially, because they can relive bits an pieces of your life by digesting your brain… Like a little movie montage…


I love how the clip art brain has “thinking” lines. Zombies are particularly fond of the little zaps.

One day, R and his compadres go on a hunting trip. They set upon a group of unsuspecting teenagers on a salvage expedition. While R is devouring a particularly tasty brain, he starts to FEEL his victims feelings more intensely than he ever has before. R notices a girl he recognizes as “Julie” (thanks to his delicious snack) and has an uncontrollable urge to protect her. He smears her with stinky dead blood and hauls her back to his home sweet home- his own personal 747. How’s THAT for creepy? Kidnapped by a zombie?!

Julie has a peculiar effect on R. He is suddenly capable of speaking in longer sentences. He resists the urge to gnaw human flesh. He begins to feel and care and be more aware than he can ever recall being. Julie does a remarkable job of not freaking the frick out. I guess that comes from living in a cramped stadium with what’s left of humanity while fighting off things that want to eat you. Julie and R bond over music, of all things. Julie loves the Beatles (and while “All You Need Is Love” isn’t specifically referenced in the book, it’s clear to ME that’s our theme song here) while R prefers the soothing sounds of vintage Frank Sinatra on vinyl.

John, Paul, George, and Ringo may just have saved the world.

John, Paul, George, and Ringo may just have saved the world.

R’s zombiness thaws the more time he spends with Julie. Needless to say, much like the Capulets and Montagues, neither the zombies or the humans are too keen on this little romance. I won’t be the queen of spoilers… Who are we kidding? Yes I will. Let’s just say this has a much happier ending than Romeo & Juliet. HA!!!!! I just got that! “R” as in Romeo and Julie, like Juliet! You are one clever fellow, Isaac Marion. Ahhh good times. It’s a refreshing departure from the doom and gloom of the zombie genre. The message of hope is one we could use more of these days.

I have NOT seen the movie version of this, but I’ve heard great things. I don’t think I’d be too disappointed by major plot changes- the girl-meets-zombie-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks premise is enough to keep me entertained! What do you think, Bookworms? Anybody read this? Seen the movie? What do you think?

26 Responses to “All You Need Is Love… And Warm Bodies (by Isaac Marion)”

  1. Zen A.

    I read this recently too and it became an insta-favourite. Actually, I only picked it up after seeing the trailers, and as it’s in my policy to read the book before watching its movie adaptation, I dove in and never regretted it once. It’s an awesome book, and my only gripe is that Isaac Marion could’ve done so much more with the book. He had a pretty unique setting but I felt he didn’t take full advantage of it.

    Still, pretty good book, and I’m planning to grab a DVD for the movie soon. 🙂

  2. Bex Hagan

    I vaguely remember seeing trailers for the movie version (it’s kind of difficult to keep up with the latest cinema releases with a 1yr old, ha!) but probably dismissed it as my zombie obsession is limited to The Walking Dead. Unlike my husband who is positive that the apocalypse is imminent. This actually sounds like something I might enjoy. Thanks for the review..if I ever get a spare moment I’ll be sure to pick up a copy on my next trip to the book store to pick up more board books 🙂

  3. Megan M.

    I’ve done neither, but the story hooked me the second I saw the trailer. It’s a very clever idea.

  4. Christi

    Usually I go out of my way to read the book before seeing the movie, but for whatever reason, it didn’t work out that way this time; I’ve only seen the movie. The movie is cute and fun in a way that most zombie plotlines aren’t. It sounds like the book goes into a lot more depth about the zombie culture — I’ll have to pick it up sometime. 🙂

  5. Lyssapants

    I need to read this book more than I need to eat ice cream.
    And that’s a big need.
    You’re hilarious with your Oprah ah-ha moment, btw.

  6. Sarah Says Read

    Hooooray you liked it! Dude you are SOOO awesome at book summaries. I don’t even care that they’re a teeny bit spoiler-y, becuse you’re the best at it.

    The movie was really good too – a little funnier, and less of the whole zombie-hierarchy-lifestyle thing. Oh and less of zombies trying to get it on with each other, which I thought was just really, really strange…

    • Words for Worms

      Awww Sarah! Thank you! You know I can’t help the spoilers- it’s a sickness. And yeah, the weird zombie bump and grind? That didn’t need to be committed to film :).

  7. didibooksenglish

    I’m sorry I absolutely hated this book. It annoyed me and the ending was cheesy to say the least. Isaac Marion was trying to write for adults but it seems as if his book as attracted the YA crowd. Apparently he wasn’t happy at all about that. Didn’t see the movie but heard many things were changed like the age of R. Not my cup of tea but Isaac Marion would probably be thrilled to hear that you liked it. 🙂

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