Book Review: Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies Book 1) by Isaac Marion

R is a zombie, living in an airport in the post-apocalyptic world with a whole bunch of other zombies, spending his days groaning and hunting and attempting to hold onto what little humanity he still can. But when he eats the brain of teenage boy Perry during a hunt and experiences some of Perry's memories, it drives him to save Julie, Perry's girlfriend, and bring her back to the airport with him. Being around Julie starts to spark some life back into R, and between the two of them, they might actually have a chance of saving their ruined world.

Book Review: Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies Book 1) by Isaac Marion | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy, metaphysical & visionary, zombies
Title: Warm Bodies
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 270
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


The thing I loved about this book was the uniqueness and poignancy of it. It was also thought-provoking, moving, creative, interesting, horrifying, amusing, and compelling. Maybe if I just keep tossing out adjectives, I’ll eventually feel like I’m accurately describing the feeling this book gave me throughout the first half.

When R was explaining and showing what life was like for the zombies, how simple yet kind of sad and meaningless their lives were, those were the parts that were moving and thought-provoking.

Getting to see things from a zombie POV, especially Isaac Marion’s version with the whole little zombie society they had and the way these zombies worked, that was the creative and interesting part.

I would be laughing one moment at the absurdity of something, like R’s zombie wife leaving him for another man while he was taking care of their adopted zombie kids, then I’d suddenly be frowning and sad a moment later, like when Julie asked him, “This doesn’t bother you?” and his response was:

I think for a minute. Watching my wife fade into the distance, I put a hand on my heart. “Dead.” I wave a hand toward my wife. “Dead.” My eyes drift toward the sky and lose their focus. “Want it . . . to hurt. But . . . doesn’t.”

Other times I’d be both amused by the creativity but also completely horrified all at once, like when R took his kids to the zombie school—an enclosed space where they trapped live people so they could teach the zombie kids how to attack and eat them.

I haven’t seen the movie for this book, but I can’t imagine it would even remotely compare because the beauty of this book was in R’s emotions and thoughts and perceptions, the sadness and the void in him as a zombie, and what it was like for him to be living in a way but still dead.

Also, I was worried that it wouldn’t make sense how Julie could be interested in the guy who killed her boyfriend and that the only reason R would be interested in Julie was because of Perry’s memories, but those things actually worked out in a believable enough way.

All that being said, the one major complaint I have is that the book was slow and easy to put down. I never had this, “I have to know what happens next!” feeling.

My second biggest complaint is that the paranormal aspects (like how R was changing, the way Perry somehow communicated with R, and what happened to the Boneys) felt kind of random and deus ex machina.

Oh, and while I’m on the topic of paranormal, I felt like this was a more fantasy than sci-fi take on zombies. I’d consider it sci-fi because it was still post-apocalyptic, but I’d also consider it paranormal/urban fantasy and even metaphysical & visionary because of how it delved into human consciousness and potentially spiritual stuff.

I was also bothered by the invasion of privacy every time R experienced one of Perry’s memories. Not only was it an invasion of Perry’s privacy, it was an invasion of Julie’s too since he experienced memories of intimate moments (I think even sex, but that wasn’t shown in the book) between Perry and Julie. I know that was the premise, and it was a cool concept, and I didn’t blame R for eating the brains since they gave him life in his otherwise dead world, but the fact that R then went on to be friends with Julie after seeing her in moments when he wasn’t supposed to was still unsettling for me.

But overall, as I said, though I found the book slow and had a couple issues, I also found it creative, compelling, and poignant at times and am glad I finally read it.


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  1. Greg

    A zombie society- you don’t often get the zombie POV! Kinda interesting… and yeah a little sad maybe! I think it would be weird though to have him accessing all those memories of Julie, from Perry, and then becoming friends with her. Does she know he, um, ate Perry? Seems awkward. 🙂

    I’ve heard of the movie I think, it’s vaguely familiar, but didn’t know there was a book. Sounds different but interesting too?

    1. Kristen Burns

      You don’t get the zombie POV often, and that’s why I love it! But yeah, it was both funny and sad, that POV. If I recall correctly (read it a while ago), she figures out that he was the one who ate Perry but is ok with it for reasons I don’t remember. I think she understand he was just being a zombie or something, and Perry wanted to die anyway or something? Maybe?

  2. roro

    I love this book. And yes the movie was never able to capture the thought provoking and poetic nature of the book and it could never be able to. It’s own thing and that’s okay. Sadly book 2 was a commercial flop which means saying bye bye to second movie. It took him 5 years to write the 2nd and final third book. Marion has stated that his previous drafts were not the correct versions of the story. The author restarted from scratch countless times , the publisher was very patient lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay, I’m glad you agree on how thought-provoking and poetic it was! But yeah, movies and books, they’re different things. And I think if you’re going to be able to enjoy movie adaptations, you have to accept that. (But I just don’t watch adaptations.) It’s tough when an author takes that long for a sequel because people do kind of forget about the book and lose interest. But wow, I didn’t know he started over those books and everything, does sound like a patient pub lol.

  3. chucklesthescot

    This book was just way too slow for me and I didn’t find it exciting in any way I’m afraid. I won’t be bothering with the film! I don’t really like things like zombie love stories or smart zombies or zombie POV. I prefer the traditional zombie stories.

  4. suzanna

    I read Warm Bodies when it first came out and liked it, although I think the first part in particular was slow.
    I also didn’t mind the film (If I remember correctly they cut all the slow parts).
    That said, I haven’t got round to reading the sequel. Not sure whether it has just been too long since I read the first one to be motivated, or whether I simply didn’t like the book that much.
    Now you’ve reminded me, I might bump it up the tbr.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, it did start out really slow. Like I said, I haven’t seen the film, but I’m sure it’s good in its own way. I just feel like it would be pretty different since I can’t see how it could capture the poignancy the way the book does.

      I didn’t read the sequel either. I liked this one, but it didn’t quite grip me enough to want to continue.

  5. Vee

    I actually watched the movie when it first came out and hadn’t known it was based off of a book. I thought the movie was cute but it definitely didn’t evoke all of the emotions that you mentioned! Maybe I should give the book a shot!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t see how a movie could evoke all that thought-provoking stuff, it’s just not the right medium for this type of thing. I do hope you enjoy the book if you give it a go!

  6. Karen

    I saw and enjoyed the movie but I haven’t read the book.

    They played down a lot of the things you had issues with in the movie which made it a fun twist on the genre but not very thought provoking other than surface things.

    I rarely both see a movie if I’ve read the book (or the other way around).

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      I imagine the thought-provoking aspect just couldn’t translate to the screen, which is a bummer. Seems the movie mostly just focused on the romance.

      I rarely see a movie if I’ve read the book too, but I sometimes do the other way around if I don’t realize the movie is based on a book or something.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Huh, I guess the film must have focused more on the romance aspect since they couldn’t show all the thought-provoking stuff as well. I hope you like the book!

  7. Danielle

    I’ve seen the movie a couple times and thought it was really cute but weird lol. Seeing Nicholas Hoult all grey and scary with one-word answers lmao! I don’t have much interest in the book though.

  8. Lindsi

    I feel like I’ve seen a movie trailer for this book… yes? It sounds wonderful and different (loved all your adjectives, lol)! Is it like a gross zombie book with a lot of blood, guts and brains? You said he eats someone’s brain, but then interacts with someone he saw in that person’s memories?! Twisted.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, there’s a movie too. Glad someone likes my adjectives XD Umm, I read it a while ago and don’t remember perfectly, but I don’t think it was too gross? I think just that scene where they attack some people, and he saves some brain to eat for later so, I mean, he is still a zombie lol.

  9. Lola

    I’ve heard of this book, but haven’t read it as I am not a big fan of zombie books. It does sound unique and thought provoking and that does seem different that it’s told from the zombie’s point of view. Although after reading your review I am pretty sure it wouldn’t be a book for me. But it does sound different than what i imagined. I always thought it was mostly a romance, but it sounds like it deals with a lot of other things as well.

    Tat’s too bad it never had that feel that you wanted to keep reading, despite how much you enjoyed it. The whole thing of him experiencing Perry’s memories sounds a bit creepy and as an invasion of privacy indeed.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s definitely different from the typical zombie book, but that’s understandable if it’s still not your thing. I think the movie makes it out to be more just about romance (from what people have said), whereas the book also has a thought-provoking aspect.

      Yeah, the invasion of privacy was concerning for me.

  10. Daniela Ark

    omg why am I such a “under-the-rock” creature?? I DID NOT KNOW this was a book too! You know how much I love book that are movies too! I GOTTA read it! even if it has Zs! I’m concerned about the Zs combined with slow pace but let’s see! I’m glad you enjoyed it and found it compelling, and poignant despite the invasion of privacy issue! I know how you feel about it ! your comment on “Every Day” was the best!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol sometimes I don’t realize certain movies were books first, so you’re forgiven 😉 Even if you don’t like zombies though, it’s not a typically zombie book, so you might still like it! I couldn’t remember what I commented and had to go look (thanks for adding my comment to the post!), but yeah, I’m just big on privacy.

  11. Olivia Roach

    I have read a book from the POV of a zombie. It was called Dying for a Living by Kory M Shrum and to this day is still my all time favourite zombie book. Such a creative take on zombies! I highly recommend it, actually. I can only think of one other book which had zombies which I enjoyed. But this one has been on my TBR for a while now and one day I hope I can read it. I am glad you could enjoy it so much as well. I like the sound of the thought provoking element to being a zombie. Interesting that you would consider it more a fantasy than sci-fi as well…

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m definitely going to check that book out! I love the zombie POV. I think you’ll like the thought-provoking elements in this one. And I hope you like it overall!