Author: Isaac Marion
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: February 2017
Genre: Adult Fiction/Horror
Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book Two
Synopsis can be found here.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The original Warm Bodies took the world by storm, spawning a movie with the charming Nicholas Hoult. It was a well written, contained zombie love story about a boy named R and a girl named Julie and what love could do if barriers were broken down. This book starts off where Warm Bodies leaves off. A mysterious organization called The Axium Group comes into their home, ceasing control, with very suspicious motivations. The friends escape into the wild with the help of Perry’s long lost brother Abrams. There, they try to find others who have survived.
This is really a hard book to review because there is so much to say. I really liked Warm Bodies. I thought it was fun and original. That says a lot because I’m not a huge zombie person fan. That said, i was surprised when I heard there was going to be a sequel. Warm Bodies was so self contained, ending on a perfect note. I wasn’t sure if the book needed a sequel (and subsequent trilogy).
We delve deeper into R and Julie’s emotional baggage before they met, including R learning more about where he came from. While I enjoyed these bits, I found them to be a bit far fetched, and almost not coherent with the R from the original book. Would he act this way if he was a zombie if he was the person he was remembering himself to be? Julie shows her guts again and again, but not in a good way. I really like Julie but by the end of the book, I wasn’t sure if I did anymore. While I can sympathize with what these characters are all going through, there is a point where you come across mad and selfish and awful and hopefully there is something later on that redeems you. It’s hard because we only see Julie through R so that hinders a clear view.
The writing is really good and there’s a lot of action and death. Marion has obviously stepped up his game. Warm Bodies was marketed as YA, a lengthly controversy ensued when he admitted that he didn’t think it was a YA book and he hadn’t written it to be a YA book. This created a negative ripple in the YA world as Marion’s words were believed to be derogatory towards the YA genre. (I don’t agree with this.) So it’s interesting how completely adult and deep The Burning World is, using vast metaphors (some working some are silly) and really upping not only the language but the adult themes, content and gore.
There was something about this book that drew me in, pulled me closer, kept me listening. And yet, I can’t say I liked it. I can’t say I needed it. R’s journey was good and complete for me after Warm Bodies. The Burning World adds additional layers of darkness and story that I don’t think I needed to explore. Marion admits that he himself did not plan for this to be a trilogy but a standalone. And as we follow R, Julie and the gang, I find some of the situations they’re in to be unbelievable. (yes, you read that right. I know I’m reviewing a zombie story)
Still, if you liked the first, you will probably enjoy the second. I don’t think I needed it.
The audiobook narrator is one of my favorites now that I’ve discovered him. He brought a real deep sense of emotion to the role of R and I really liked how he read the book, offering cadences and slow pauses that made me think I was listening to a someone reliving the action rather than reading off a script.
Get the audiobook. It made my drive to work much more interesting.