Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book Review: "Warm Bodies" (NO SPOILERS)

Awhile back, I saw a trailer for the upcoming film Warm Bodies, based on Warm Bodies: A Novel by Isaac Marion. It looked amusing, so I decided to request the book from the library.

Although initially it might seem to be an attempt cash in on the paranormal romance craze started by  Twilight, it's not really a romance novel per se. There is a love story, but the story is more about a zombie named R. rediscovering his humanity than the romantic relationship.

One of the things I liked about it was its creativity. For starters, it gives the zombies something resembling a culture and community, which would explain why zombies in more traditional zombie media cooperate with one another to attack humans. It also differentiates between the different types of zombies, the "Fleshies" (the ones still resembling people) and the "Boneys" (ambulatory skeletons, who seem to operate as a leadership caste). It also explains why the zombies go for brains specifically, although I won't say why to avoid spoilers. That aspect of the story is played for comedy at one point, which I found amusing, and it also provides a major reason for why the events in the story actually take place.

The book also depicts a rather realistic survivor society in the unnamed city where the story takes place. The survivors have barricaded themselves into fortified compounds, the most prominent one being an old sports stadium. When I was in college, I took a course on the archaeology of Rome's provinces and I remember learning about an old Roman arena where a town grew up after the fall of the Western Empire. Although I don't remember clearly, I'm pretty sure it was the Arles Amphitheatre. A structure of that size would have the space to house a large number of people and would extremely defensible, with only a few ways in or out. The survivors in the stadium raid the surrounding city for supplies and build walls to connect the stadium to other fortified survivor enclaves, another clever defensive measure.

It's also a very quick read. I read through it in two sittings and it was never dull.

However interesting it is, though, it's not especially memorable. It's a fun book to get from the library, but I wouldn't buy it. 7 out of 10.

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