Pros: Unique ideas, solid voice, I loved R
The Bottom Line: Isaac Marion goes back to the supernatural aspect of zombies and takes it to a new and unique level. Bravo!
I don't know what it was that started the whole zombie renewal. It's hard not to notice when you work at a bookstore. Maybe that's just the natural progression of the supernatural world. Vampires. Werewolves. Fairies. Then zombies. I'd read books before that featured a zombie here and there, but I'd never read a zombie book. You know, all zombie, all the time. When I saw this advance reading copy in the breakroom, I chuckled and opened it up the first page. I kept reading. Then I hoped no one else intended to take it home and read it because by then I wanted to.
R doesn't remember his name. It's hard to remember things when you're a zombie. You groan, you stagger, and you occasionally eat people. Brains are the best part because when you eat a brain, you get a glimpse at what it was like to be alive again. But when R eats the brain of Perry Kelvin, something much stronger happens. So strong, he does something no other zombie does; he protects something precious to Perry - a living girl. Julie. From then on, they form a bizarre friendship that may, somehow, change everything everyone thinks they know about zombies.
I remember the days when zombie appearances were supernatural. Gradually, thanks to other books, video games, and a plethora of movies, zombies were the result of some virus gone wrong (or in some cases, right I guess). Ever since then, I've been in the grip of zombie condition = virus infection. Author Isaac Marion works to bring back that original supernatural power - a condition that we can't explain. In R's world, people don't remember what exactly made the zombies, and by the end, it's something else entirely anyway. I liked that. A lot. Zombies by virus are boring, but Marion creeps around and plucks out various ideas on how zombies might work, and whether or not the Dead can come back.
Because this is an ARC book, which means it's an uncorrected proof and therefore potentially unfinished, these might not be in the final copy, but I hope they are because I thought they added a really nice touch - images from Gray's Anatomy. No, not the stupid TV series. The book. Instead of zombie pictures, you get what we actually look like under the skin. The bone and muscle. It's zombie-like, yet not. Hard to explain why I liked it so much...it was just cool. It worked.
The relationship between R and Julie is interesting indeed, and one might thing initially Julie would be more freaked out than she is, but when you consider the world she's grown up in and what she's had to deal with, it worked for her. I liked R's voice and it was hard to put down this book. There are things that aren't explained, but they're the sort of things I'm okay about not knowing. I can see some people finishing this book and maybe giving it weird looks, but I'm glad this was my first zombie book. I had a good time.
Normally with ARCs, once I read them, I give them away or take them back to work. However, in this case, I can't bring myself to do either of those. I enjoyed this book and I want to keep it around. When it comes out in paperback, however, I intend to buy my own copy in order to support the author as well as own a copy that doesn't have "ARC" written all over it in permanent marker.
Originally posted on Epinions.com
Notes from the playlist: "Skinny Love" by Birdy