SciFi Book AND Movie Review: Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Book Synopsis:
R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.
And then he meets a girl.

First as his captive, then his reluctant house guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.

Review:
I saw the film based on this book first. Loved it. Then I had to read the original story. There are some noticeable differences, especially in the ending and how the “Bonies” (skeleton, less human-like zombies) are treated. R is a zombie with no memory of his past, but he’s different from his companions. He collects things that help him to feel something; and he dislikes having to kill to feed. He’s conflicted about his nature. And when he kills a young man and claims his memories, something in R changes when he sees Julie.

Julie is a spirited young woman who tries to hold onto hope for the future despite her grim surroundings. Despite being brought back into a lair of zombies, she is brave and almost fearless. Her feelings for R start with confusion, then fascination, then those feelings slowly develop into something more.

This is no ordinary zombie story of gore and destruction. This is a love story centering on R’s self-reflection and gradual change. The novel is darker and more somber than the film. But I loved both in their own ways. I think the changes worked well for the film and made it more appealing to a larger audience. The film was well-cast, though slightly younger. Nicholas Hoult was exceptional and brought to “R” to life – pun intended. The film ends in an upbeat, heartfelt and satisfying conclusion. And the novel, though somewhat different, does to a milder extent as well, but leaves room for an upcoming sequel. Well-paced and full of suspense, adventure, humor, and romance – Warm Bodies is one of my favorite films and reads this year.

Fantasy Book Review: Something Strange and Deadly

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Synopsis:
Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper: The Dead are rising in Philadelphia. And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother. Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Review:
Eleanor is desperately missing her older brother that never showed up from New York. But Eleanor isn’t one to sit around and wait for news. She decides to seek out the mysterious Spirit-Hunters for information when she receives a note from her brother directly from a walking Dead. The rising Dead are quickly becoming an out-of-control situation. It seems a Necromancer has come to town for some reason. And Eleanor, despite her high society reputation, will stop at nothing to find and save her brother. Unlike her mother who cares for nothing besides money and marrying Eleanor off to a wealthy man, Eleanor is a bold and adventurous young woman with a good heart and true priorities.

Set in an early America with creepy zombies, Dennard has created an impressive and powerful debut. The setting is striking, Victorian gothic. The characters are vivid and motivating. And the story is surprising and full of mystery, magic, romance, and (of course) zombies. This thrilling and suspenseful fantasy can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. Dark and charming, Something Strange and Deadly is one that I will be recommending to my friends.

Exclusive Author Interview: Rob DeBorde

SciFiChick.com was recently able to interview author Rob DeBorde to talk about his latest release PORTLANDTOWN and, of course, zombies!

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Can you tell us a bit about PORTLANDTOWN in your own words?

Portlandtown is the story of the Wyldes, a uniquely talented family living in Portland, Oregon in 1887 who face off against an undead outlaw and his horde of living-challenged brethren. Okay, that’s the studio pitch. For the reader I’d add this: it’s not just about zombies. Yes, more than a few slack-jaws stumble their way through the pages of Portlandtown, but it’s much more of an adventure than the zombie apocalypse. Plus there are voodoo cowboys, steam-driven totem poles, and a tent-full of old-timey circus freaks. Zombies versus Old West oddities? Yup.

Who is Joseph Wylde?

Joseph is a husband, father, and owner of Wylde’s Booksellers & Navigation. The fact that he’s also blind has not hindered him in the slightest. In fact, he sees the world better than most, which makes him quite good at his side job helping to investigate and resolve delicate situations—the kind his clients would rather not talk about. He’s also a reformed criminal who once rode with a very, very bad dude known as the Hanged Man. Joseph would rather not talk about that.

Why do zombies and westerns seem to mesh so well together?

It’s the hat. Zombies look great in ten-gallon hats. Plus it’s a bit more of a challenge to take on the undead with only a six-shooter, a shovel, and not much else. And, of course, westerns are cool. Imagine the Man with No Name hunting zombies. That’s cool. Now imagine if the Man with No Name was a zombie. You see where this is going, right? Cool.

Zombies have become extremely popular lately. What makes PORTLANDTOWN stand out?

Read moreExclusive Author Interview: Rob DeBorde

Book Giveaway: Resident Evil: Retribution

Courtesy of Titan Books, I have a copy of Resident Evil: Retribution by John Shirley for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends November 2. I’ll draw a name on November 3, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: Resident Evil: Retribution

SciFi Book Review: Dead Mann Running

Dead Mann Running by Stefan Petrucha

Synopsis:
Either I’m stubborn, or it’s rigor mortis, but being dead didn’t stop me from being a detective or finding my wife’s killer. But it’s tough out there for a zombie, and lately it’s been getting tougher. These days the life-challenged have to register and take monthly tests to prove our emotional stability. See, if my kind gets too low, we go feral. I’ve been feeling a little down lately myself…

So when a severed arm—yeah, just the arm—leaves a mysterious briefcase at my office, my assistant, Misty, thinks figuring out where it came from will keep me on track. But this case goes deeper and darker than I imagined, and my imagination gets pretty dark. Turns out the people after it know more about my past life than I can remember, and even more about what I’ve become.

Review:
Hessius Mann, zombie PI, is back for a new and exciting adventure. His latest case involves a briefcase containing mysterious vials of liquid. But Mann quickly learns there are people trying to get their hands on it and are willing to kill to get it. And his investigation takes an even more dangerous turn when Mann purposefully fails his emotional stability test and is sent to a “concentration camp”/prison for ferals.

Even more exciting than the first, Dead Mann Running is a riveting and fast-paced sequel. With plenty of plot twists, mystery, humor, and suspense – this is an impressive sequel that kept me guessing to the very end. Hessius Mann may be a zombie, but he’s all heart. Urban fantasy and zombie fans shouldn’t miss this fantastic series.

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