Published by: Atria Books
Published on: April 2011
Page Count: 256
My Reading Format: Audiobook sent to me by Blackstone Audio for consideration
Audiobook Published by: Blackstone Audio
Narrator: Kevin Kenerly
Audiobook Length: 7 hours 59 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook
The world has gone to hell. Some virus has created a world full of zombies and living humans are forced to create encampments and forfeit basic liberties to remain safe. Foods taken for granted in 2012 are at a huge premium, forcing people to subsist on processed food that cannot be at all palatable. R is no longer a human. He is a zombie living at the airport in a hanger. His wife wears a name tag, but as they can no longer read, he does not know her name. Their children are someone else’s children who have been made into zombies and need to be taught how to live successfully on human flesh. Of course, the human brain is the most sought after delicacy, delivering shivers of the victim’s memory. R is as content as he can possibly be the day that he and his group find happen upon a group of humans outside their encampment on a savaging mission. R’s existence changes the moment he kills Perry and eats his brains. For inexplicable reasons, R feels the need to protect Perry’s girlfriend Julie and he covets knowledge about her. Bringing Julie back to the hanger and protecting her from his fellow zombies is only the beginning of R’s transformation.
Zombies are not my thing, but I have gotten to know and love several bloggers and audiobook fans who have raved about Warm Bodies. Wanting to make an effort to open up the box, I decided to give this novel a listen. This isn’t my first zombie audiobook. I listened to and absolutely loved Paul Is Undead. Paul Is Undead certainly contained many of the gross zombie book characteristics I would normally dread, but it was pure comedy. Warm Bodies is not a comedy. I knew it would be my first serious zombie novel and it wasn’t without some trepidation that I pressed play. While I can’t say that I wasn’t disturbed and disgusted at certain aspects of the novel, it wasn’t nearly as horrific as I had feared. As with other dystopian novels I’ve read, it had much to say about modern society and the consequences of sacrificing freedom for safety.
Kevin Kenerly, a narrator with a warm and inviting voice, brought so much atmosphere to Warm Bodies. There were sections of the book I’m certain I would have read in print without a second thought that made me shudder in audio. When zombies were decomposed to an extent that their speech was impaired, Kennerly’s performance gave me the shivers. Put me in a dark room and speak like that behind my back and I’m sure to lose control of any and all body functions. At the same time, he was able to portray the evolution of R’s relationship with Julie with such feeling.
When I finished Warm Bodies, I wasn’t sure what my thoughts were. I enjoyed the emotional and gross out rollercoaster piloted by Kevin Kenerly. While it didn’t knock my socks off like my last “outside the box” listen, Ready Player One, it really made me think about immigration, communicable disease, and sustainable living. My biggest issue was Perry’s post mortem role in the story, but Warm Bodies certainly presented the basic Romeo and Juliet story in a unique way. Isaac Marion’s novel may not have converted me to the paranormal side, but I am glad to have given this audiobook a chance.