The Burning World by Isaac Marion: Review

March 2, 2017 Reviews 12 ★★★★

The Burning World by Isaac Marion: ReviewThe Burning World by Isaac Marion
Series: Warm Bodies #2
Also in this series: Warm Bodies
Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on February 7th 2017
Pages: 512
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: Mature YA or Adult? (Sex is discussed but not shown, Lots of violence, Feels like more of an adult book than YA or NA to me)
My rating:
4 Stars

R is recovering from death.

He’s learning how to breathe, how to speak, how to be human, one clumsy step at a time. He doesn’t remember his old life and he doesn’t want to. He’s building a new one with Julie.

But his old life remembers him. The plague has another host far more dangerous than the Dead. It’s coming to return the world to the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak, and stopping it will require a frightening journey into the surreal wastelands of America—and the shadowy basement of R’s mind.

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My Take copy3

It’s taken years for us to get a sequel to Warm Bodies, but it was worth the wait. This book feels very different than the first book—more adult somehow (Julie turns 20 during the book, but it’s more the tone of the book that I’m referring to than the ages of the characters). In this sequel, R is learning how to be human again, and struggling against remembering his past life. He doesn’t want to dwell on the past. He just wants to move forward with Julie and help the other zombies crawl back to the world of the living. But the past won’t completely let him go, and his avoidance is making it harder for him to re-humanize. Plus, Julie and R learn that there are sinister forces at work in their world—forces that will derail the progress they’ve made if they let it.

What Fed My Addiction:

  • Becoming human. I was engrossed with R’s struggle to become fully human again. His body and mind are slowly coming awake, but he doesn’t have full control—it’s as if he’s still partially dead. They actually refer to the different states of being a zombie in that way—there are those who are still completely Dead, those who have a spark of life, those who are approaching being human again, and a few who are nearly there! R is focused on waking up and on becoming a part of the human world (being accepted by it is a whole other matter). He’s there emotionally, but his body and mind are sluggish—not quite ready yet. I was fascinated with the zombies’ struggle for humanity.
  • Dark times. While the first book felt surprisingly light (for a zombie novel), this second book gets a bit grittier and darker. While R is struggling to gain his humanity, in some ways Julie is losing hers—and her hope. Nothing is working out the way she’d hoped—the zombies aren’t all coming back to life and flourishing, and the humans aren’t accepting the possibility of change. When things start to go awry, they go very awry, and Julie crosses lines she never thought she’d cross (and that R never thought she’d cross). The world is dangerous, and Julie has to become dangerous to survive in it.
  • The writing style. It’s been a while since I read the first book, but I don’t remember being so captivated by the writing. Marion’s style seems more poetic and philosophical in this book—to go along with R’s burgeoning humanity.
  • Revelations. Throughout the book we slowly learn more and more about who R was before he became a zombie. I have to confess that I suspected a lot of it very early on, but there were definitely many surprising details.

What Left Me Hungry for More:

  • The collective “we.” Some sections of the book are narrated by a sort of mysterious “we.” These parts seemed even more poetic, filled with library metaphors that seemed to symbolize a depository of humanity or a collective consciousness. I never quite fully understood who we was, but I think it’s supposed to be the human consciousnesses that have been suppressed by the zombies. R thinks of his past-life human soul (for lack of a better way to describe it) as a man in the basement. R doesn’t want to let him out because he doesn’t want to dwell on who he was before. So, I kind of got the impression that the we that narrated is a sort of collection of those human souls, waiting to impart knowledge to the zombies. They could (kind of) communicate with the zombies … I don’t know. If it seems like I’m not explaining it very well, that’s because I didn’t 100% understand it myself. And while contemplating it is mentally stimulating, during my reading my confusion sometimes pulled me out of the story a bit. (Plus, sometimes the library metaphors and the poetic language bordered on being too much for me.)

So, for me, this sequel was actually better than the first book. I look forward to finding out where Marion takes us with the next installment! I give this one 4/5 Stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

About the Author

Isaac Marion grew up in the mossy depths of the Pacific Northwest, where he worked as a heating installer, a security guard, and a visitation supervisor for foster children before publishing his debut novel in 2010. Warm Bodies became a New York Times bestseller and inspired a major film adaptation. It has been translated into twenty-five languages. Isaac lives in Seattle with his cat, Watson, writing fiction and music and taking pictures of everything.
For a more complete (and fun) bio, visit the About page of his website.

 

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12 Responses to “The Burning World by Isaac Marion: Review”

  1. Joy // Joyousreads

    Agree. With R’s memories coming back, sometimes I had a tough time keeping up with the timeline. Still, this was an awesome instalment. I enjoyed it immensely.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Ironically, I actually liked the movie better than the first book. But I enjoyed the novella that Marion put out a couple years ago, and I was definitely interested enough to check out check out the sequel. I’m glad I did because I’m liking the story more now than I was with the original.

  2. Jessica @ a GREAT read

    OOh so excited for this one! I read Warm Bodies sometime just before the movie came out so I was prepped and ready! LOL! So it’s been awhile for me too! I preordered a copy from B&N but it came with damage so I HAD to get me an undamaged one from the store, it took me trips to three stores before I finally tracked down a copy/ And ironically it was at the B&N who put the copies out a week early which reminded me I needed to order it properly to count for sales! None of the B&Ns had it during release week! And this was when I was in Naperville for the Stephanie Garber signing, that B&N didn’t have it so I checked the one I usually shop at home and they didn’t have it! It was crazy! LOL!

    So yeah, long winded story, but I did notice that the copy cost way more than a YA book usually cost. It was in the 20+ range when I notice most YA hardcovers are in the $18-19 range, so I was almost wondering if the publisher was classifying this as an adult read? Since it seems like it has a deeper edge to it than its predecessor. Guess I will have to wait until I read it and see for myself! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Wow! That’s a long complicated process to get that book—you’re dedicated! I don’t know if the publishers are classifying it as YA, but it definitely feel older to me, and the characters are all older than typical YA age.

  3. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    YAY I am so glad you liked this! I am looking forward to it (tbh, I am hoping for a bit of a price drop on Amazon, but still), but I feel like I need to re-read book 1 since I read it at least 4 years ago! Great review 😀

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