[705]: The Burning World by Isaac Marion

An Unrecognizable sequel that sheds all the heart-warming fluff of its predecessor.

The Burning World
by Isaac Marion

Question: Did you read Warm Bodies? If so, do you remember how it ends? How about the movie? Did you see it? Yes? No?

Well, let me spoil it all for you with this little scenario: most of the zombies slowly gained back a semblance of their humanity. Gone are the instincts to devour human flesh, replaced by a pause that gives them a chance to hold back the monster that hungers for the living. So much so that they’re able to cohabit with the humans inside the wall. The last scene had Julie and R watching as the walls were blown to bits. The sun is setting; they were holding hands…fade to black. Really hopeful shit, right? Makes you think that a peaceful coexistence between zombies and humans are entirely possible.

Well, sorry to burst your bubble but The Burning World did not start right where Warm Bodies left off. At least, the atmosphere was not the same. If you’re expecting much of the same lighthearted and somewhat funny shtick of the undead in this novel, you’ll be disappointed. Because these zombies are justΒ a sad caricature of the rabid monsters we’ve come to fear and love. They’re stuck in between the beast that craves for warm flesh, and the humans inside of them clamoring to be born again. It was dark, nostalgic, and terrible in the sense that they’ll break your heart (R’s zombie wife and kids. *Sobs*) It was depressing, and it made me wish they were the terrifying stuff of nightmares we’ve all read about our lives. Because then I won’t feel so heartbroken.

This is a changed world; one that you won’t recognize from the first book. There’s a new villain in town whose primary goal is to convert the changing zombies into an army of drones possessing some robot-like consciousness. The last vestige of humanity left are being hunted and “phased out”. And this includes the tiny population inside the wall. They especially want R and Julie for their ability to speak to the evolving zombies. In short, this sequel had become the action-packed, pulse-pounding, scary-as-shit thriller that Warm Bodies never were. I’d even go as far as to say, it echoes the atmospheric dread of Justin Cronin’s The Passage. Yeah. I can’t believe it either. But reading The Burning World brought out the exact feelings when I binge-read Cronin’s vampire series last year.

By the by, R slowly gains his memory as a human – and from what he can remember, he was not a good person at all. He is miles remove from the sweet zombie we’ve come to know. We also see Julie in a different light. Driven by her sense of familial loyalty, she becomes a completely different person. She’s angry, compulsive, and even a little selfish. She’ll make you mad. She’ll make you cry but eventually, she’ll gain your sympathy albeit, tentatively.

We’re introduced to new characters and new plot lines that converge with the old ones. There are far more nuances explored; surprising and thrilling revelations. If I were to keep it simple, I say Warm Bodies was stripped of everything that was cute to show its true form. It had me on edge at all times because at the back of my mind, I keep waiting for the “awaken” zombies to revert back to their monstrosity – most especially R. Over all, The Burning World opens the series to a whole new set of possibilities. And with that ending, I say Marion has a lot more dark days in store for his ardent readers.

  • I just read Warm Bodies last year and I remember how it ended. I am kind of disappointed it didn’t start off where that one ended, but I will still read it. He is a great author after all. Great review.

  • Ahhh πŸ˜€ I’m so glad you loved this book so much Joy. <3 I loved book one. I must re-read it soon so that I can read this one too. So excited. But ahh. I'm worried about the romance now : Hoping it's awesome.. hih. But gosh, it sounds so dark and exciting. Cannot wait to read it too πŸ™‚

    • The romance definitely took a back seat in this sequel.

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    Ooh, I read Warm Bodies SO long ago I totally forgot about this world! Thanks for putting this back on my radar, Joy! I’ll have to check this out!

    • This was insanely good! If you’re into that kind of thing, that is. πŸ˜€

  • Karen

    Oh wow. I saw, and enjoyed, the movie but I haven’t read the book. This sounds pretty intense.

    I really think my husband would love this one – so maybe it will be an audiobook we can to listen to together.

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

    • Really different from the first novel, for sure. If you enjoyed Warm Bodies for its light horror, this one had an extreme makeover. LOL.

  • I’ve actually never read or seen Warm Bodies…or anything zombie. May have to change that…

    • Zombies are an acquired taste. I have a thing for them. πŸ™‚

  • I love zombie shows so I did see Warm Bodies back when it first came out and never gave any thought to reading the book. I probably need to fix that. This sequel sounds amazing. I am so glad that you enjoyed it.

    • It was an amazing sequel despite it very dark. πŸ™‚

  • I loved Warm Bodies, so I’m not sure I’d want that perfect ending shattered by picking this up. You did rate it high, so I’m torn. It sounds like there are more books coming? Maybe I’ll wait and see how things shake out. Fab review, Joy!

    • This is very dark so I don’t blame you for being wary.

  • I’ve not read Warm Bodies or seen the movie. It’s interesting that zombies can regain their humanity. Wasn’t Warm Bodies more of a comedy? This sounds like a thriller. Interesting change in a sequel. Great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

  • RO

    This has nothing to do with your post, which I love, of course (lol) How about a kudos for already reading 43 books this year??? Wow!

    • I know, right? I’m pretty surprised myself. πŸ˜€

  • A brave move to make a sequel so different from the original book. Sounds like it worked well for you?

  • Oh wow, I didn’t know that there was sequel to Warm Bodies. Awesome review, Joy!

    • Thanks, girl. Yeah the sequel was a pleasant surprise. πŸ˜€

  • I really can’t remember much from the movie…they should make this one into one too and make it easier for me

    • This as a movie, will probably be kick ass!

  • Warm bodies sound familiar, it was a while ago wasn’t it? This sounds amazing to read though, can it be a standalone?

    • Years and years ago. πŸ˜€ You might be a touch lost because it mentions a bunch of characters that are no longer here.