|Genre||Post-apocalyptic fiction, gothic fiction, paranormal romance, black comedy|
|October 14, 2010|
|Media type||Print, e-book, audiobook|
Warm Bodies is a novel by author Isaac Marion. The book was described as a "zombie romance" by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and makes allusions to William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The author, based in Seattle, originally wrote a short story titled "I Am a Zombie Filled with Love". Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, acquired the publishing rights to the full novel in early 2010.
In a post-apocalyptic future, a male zombie still in the early stages of decay lives in a community of the dead in an abandoned airport near the city. He cannot remember his name, and refers to himself as “R”. After the collapse of human civilization, zombies hunt for the living, seeking to eat their brains; doing so allows them to relive the memories, feelings, and thoughts of their prey. Zombies whose flesh has completely decayed away are known as Boneys; others are known as Fleshies. R, a Fleshy, is unusual as he shows distaste for eating human flesh, and can form several coherent syllables in one breath.
In a hunt, R feeds on the brain of a young man named Perry. After experiencing his memories, R sees Perry's girlfriend Julie, and in a moment of mercy, saves her from the others. He disguises her scent with zombie blood, and takes her home where he hides her in a 747 airplane. The airplane is R's “house” where he can have some privacy, and hoard the interesting objects he finds. He slowly gains Julie's trust, and convinces her to stay for a while until the others forget about her. R feeds her food from the airport's restaurant, entertains her with his treasures, including a record player, and Julie tries to teach him to drive a car which R has managed to get started. She also tells him a little bit about her life. In time, R begins feeling guilty over killing Perry, but continues to eat the remains of his brain, seeing it as a rare treasure. He experiences many of Perry's memories.
Julie is attacked by several zombies, and R helps her fend them off. His fellow zombie M is confused and angered by his behavior. Some Boneys arrive, and one of them shows R some old photos of the dead and living fighting each other, telling him that they need to maintain the status quo. They leave along with the rest, and R takes Julie back to the airplane. In the morning, Julie convinces R to take her home, and they leave while the dead watch them. The Boneys attack and try to kill Julie, but with M's help, they get away in R's car. On the way to the city, they camp out in a suburban house, and Julie allows R to share a bed with her. The next morning, Julie calls her father, and sends R out for fuel. When he returns, Julie is gone. R begins walking back to the airport in a heavy rainstorm, and feels cold for the first time since he “died”. On the road, R runs into M and some other zombies who have been chased out by the Boneys. The zombies have been changing like R, and experiencing things such as dreams and old memories. R decides to go after Julie, and follows her scent to her house. R sees Julie on her balcony, and they reunite. R has further visions of Perry's memory; some form of Perry's soul is living inside R, and has intertwined with R's own.
Julie's father, Grigio, deduces what R is, and attacks him despite Julie's protests. Nora holds a gun to Grigio, and Julie and R escape. Outside, the crowd of zombies has grown. What Julie and R have between them has infected many others, causing them to change. As they deliberate on what to do next, the Boneys attack. The couple meets up with Nora, and they flee to a roof where they see the battle between the Boneys and the Living. As they watch, Julie has an epiphany: the plague started because the human race crushed itself beneath the weight of its sins until it released a dark force that changed the humans so that everyone could see their evil. In the midst of the chaos and bloodshed, R and Julie do the only thing they can think of: they kiss. The strength of their love cures R of the plague completely and their eyes turn gold. Grigio appears and tries to kill them, but one of his soldiers intervenes, and Grigio is attacked and killed by a Boney. Julie shoots it, and both fall off the roof as Grigio shrivels away into a pile of dust and bones. The fight on the roof somehow causes the Boneys to give up, and they disperse. After the battle, the Living decide to give the reviving Dead a chance, and let them try to assimilate into their society.
Paste Magazine said, "Marion explores the meaning of humanity through R's journey towards personhood, a tale that gets grander in scale as his empathy builds and the book's true villains—cynicism, apathy and status quo—are revealed."
Actor Nicholas Hoult starred as the zombie R in a feature film adaptation written and directed by Jonathan Levine and released in February 2013. The film also starred Teresa Palmer as Julie Grigio, Rob Corddry as M, and John Malkovich as General Grigio. Other principal cast members included Dave Franco, Analeigh Tipton, and Cory Hardrict. In the film, Julie's father is not killed and though a stadium is used for certain scenes, a city barred with walls replaces it as the humans' primary residence. The official movie poster in which R was giving Julie a bunch of flowers is not included in the movie but happened in the novel. There were also cut-scenes that were not included in the officially released movie that changed the flow of the story.
On January 28, 2013, Zola Books published Isaac Marion's novella e-book prequel to Warm Bodies, titled The New Hunger. Library Journal praised its "rich, evocative prose". Cinema Blend gave a mostly positive review, remarking that it "feels more like an add-on to Warm Bodies than a self-contained story" but stating that fans of Warm Bodies would enjoy the novella.
On October 15, 2012, Marion announced via his blog that he was writing a sequel. Three years later, he announced that the project had grown into two books, making the series four books in total. The first of these, titled The Burning World, was released on February 7, 2017, and Marion launched an elaborate campaign to encourage preordering through his own web store, creating original story materials as rewards. Marion self-published a limited run of the final book in the series, The Living, on November 13, 2018.
- Damian, Lisa (May 2, 2011). "Book Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion". Seattle Post Intelligencer. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- Shawl, Nisi (May 5, 2011). "'Warm Bodies': Isaac Marion's novel of zombie love". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- Kit, Borys (October 13, 2010). "'Warm Bodies' lands Jonathan Levine". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- Published at 11:13 AM on April 26, 2011 By Josh Jackson (2011-04-26). "Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion :: Books :: Reviews :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2013-03-02.
- Pellegrini, Michael (September 12, 2011). "Geek Gossip: 300 Battle of Artemisia, Warm Bodies, Robopocalypse". Coventry Telegraph. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- "Read an excerpt from 'Warm Bodies' prequel 'The New Hunger' -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "Library Journal".
- "The New Hunger Review: Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies Prequel Novella". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- West, Kelly. "Warm Bodies Author Isaac Marion Says A Sequel To The Zombie Novel Is On The Way". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "Isaac Marion Blog".
- "Isaac Marion Author Site".
- "Blog - Isaac Marion".