Wednesday, April 4, 2012
WARM BODIES BOOK REVIEW
When I saw this book in the bookstore, I gravitated toward it. Maybe because new "real" horror books are few and far between, especially ones that are placed on the sacred, front-of-the-store shelves. The cover's interesting, too. And the big names they got to LOVE the book caught my attention: Stephenie Meyer, Audrey Niffenegger. I'm actually late on the whole zombie-horror-reading craze, and Warm Bodies is the first one I picked up.
The start of the book had me hopeful. The plot is different, unique. A zombie story told from the zombie's perspective. Hooked. The author, Isaac Marion, is a good writer. No doubt about that. However, in the acknowledgements at the back of the book, he thanks his agent for discovering his stories on the internet, and then it all made sense to me. Marion is an avid writer of short stories. I'm not saying a writer can't make the transition from writing short stories to writing full-length novels (ahem, Stephen King) but the art is very different.
When ending a short story, it's not as important to be specific about how the characters got from Point A to Point B. Vagueness is OK, because you only have a certain amount of pages to explain everything. But in a novel, the reader has taken a long journey with the characters and whatever plot you have going has to be explained and tied up in a nice knot at the end. Marion failed to do this.
Not giving the plot away, something is happening in the book and no one can explain why. Okay. This starts from maybe the middle of the book. Then, throughout the book, Marion's characters are saying how amazing this thing is and they have no idea how it's happening or what it really is. They actually repeatedly state this, somewhere along the lines of "I have no idea how this is happening." One character goes to another character somewhere along the lines of, "You'll have to tell me later how this is happening." Well, don't hold your breath, because no one ever really knows, including the reader, and if Marion knew at some point, he's not divulging.
***SPOILER***: A near-the-end scene has a somewhat insignificant character falling off a building and stopping an entire onslaught of zombies in its tracks. They just walk away.
Huh? Apparently, two plus two equals a hundred in this book. It really annoyed me that right up to the end the characters are stating out loud that they have no idea how it is all happening. So, either the writer had no idea, or he simply decided he was done writing the book and that he was going to end it with a mysterious air - cue fog machines.
***SPOILER***: Was he implying that the strange "magic-ness" of love was curing the zombie epidemic? Maybe.
But love between a semi-rotting corpse and a human girl is a whole other story. Don't. Get. Me. Started. I imagine in the movie, R the zombie is going to be "Edward-ed" up.
Overall, Warm Bodies was a decent read. Marion is a good player of words and his imagined zombie-infested world is intriguing. But the book's ending was just too frustrating to post a recommendation.