Book Review – ‘The Burning World’ (#2 Warm Bodies) by Isaac Marion

Breathing more life into the apocalyptic series.

The Burning World (#2 Warm Bodies) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Dystopian, Horror

No. of pages: 500

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A romance between a zombie boy and a human girl is bound to have its problems, but after battling against the odds and the undead, it seemed that Julie and R had earned their happy ending. But they soon must face a new enemy more terrifying than the walking corpses that still roam the wasted cities: a faceless and merciless corporation who are seeking control of the ruins of America. The key to survival and victory may lie in R’s past life, but can he finally face his own demons?

Page border 2020 by Casey Carlisle

This almost feels like a road trip novel. The characters go from A to B and some plot points are tied up and some aren’t… it seems like this would suffer a middle book syndrome, but it doesn’t. To be honest I was a little worried going into to ‘The Burning World’ with its 500 page length for a zombie dystopian, it has the potential to have an ambling pace, but Isaac Marion put his foot on the accelerator and did not let up until the end. It was a journey with so many things coming at the characters hard and fast.

You get a real sense of humanity through the characters, they react in a realistic way to the circumstances they face. ‘The Burning World’ picks up just after the events in ‘Warm Bodies.’ I’d say this novel primarily deals with filling in R’s backstory. It gives us a hint about the start of the zombie virus, but not quite. I’m hoping it all comes to light in the last book of the franchise ‘The Living.’

There are a lot of interesting elements in ‘The Burning World.’ We get interspersed chapters following a younger R; A young Nearly Dead boy with amber eyes; and some collective consciousness observing the planet and its evolution that seems to have some sort of vast knowledge. There was something like that in ‘Warm Bodies’ with the Boneys – but we don’t see them in this book. There is a sense that everything is connected, that a tangled mess of plot points is being set up. I’m hoping for an epic conclusion.

The Burning World (#2 Warm Bodies) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Isaac Marion’s writing style is both concise and poetic. Descriptions and actions are written with brevity, but philosophy and ambience are waxed lyrical. It is a unique and interesting tone of voice to read.

There does not feel like a tonne of character development. R’s eyes and personality are growing both with the return of his memories, and seeing Julie in the differing scenarios they survive. The other characters have minor realisations of their own, but nothing that pivots or redirects the plot. As you can guess I’m saying this is a plot driven story, rather than a character driven one.

It’s hard to say I predicted anything about ‘The Burning World’ because I didn’t really know where it was heading… and the journey is still yet to be completed. We get enough plot points resolved to finish the novel at a natural point and felt satisfied, but it didn’t altogether feel like a resounding conclusion. I was surprised at many of the elements introduced in this novel – ‘Warm Bodies’ feels simplistic in comparison.

Definitely looking forward to ‘The Living’ to complete the story and see where this all leads. Recommend this to fans of ‘Warm Bodies’ and any of the zombie and dystopian niches, but you must get your hands on both ‘The Burning World’ and ‘The Living’ to skip disappointment. (Luckily I have my copy waiting to go.)

Overall feeling: Didn’t see that one coming…

The Burning World (#2 Warm Bodies) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

The Burning World (#2 Warm Bodies) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey 2020 by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘The New Hunger’ (# 1.5 Warm Bodies) by Isaac Marion

A great little teaser into the zombie romance blockbuster.

the-new-hunger-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Y/A, Horror

No. of pages: 170

From Goodreads:

The end of the world didn’t happen overnight.

After years of societal breakdowns, wars and quakes and rising tides, humanity was already near the edge. Then came a final blow no one could have expected: all the world’s corpses rising up to make more.

Born into this bleak and bloody landscape, twelve-year-old Julie struggles to hold on to hope as she and her parents drive across the wastelands of America, a nightmarish road trip in search of a new home.

Hungry, lost, and scared, sixteen-year-old Nora finds herself her brother’s sole guardian after her parents abandon them in the not-quite-empty ruins of Seattle.

And in the darkness of a forest, a dead man opens his eyes. Who is he? What is he? With no clues beyond a red tie and the letter “R,” he must unravel the grim mystery of his existence—right after he learns how to think, how to walk, and how to satisfy the monster howling in his belly.  

Page border by Casey Carlisle

A marvellous depiction of some of the main cast from ‘Warm Bodies’ before those events took place in Isaac Marion’s breakout novel. I really enjoyed figuring out the timeline and how the cast fit into the storyline introduced in ‘Warm Bodies.’  Told in different perspectives of a young Julie and Nora, with the addition of the Tall Man. Those who know me are aware I’m not a big fan of “head jumping” or flashbacks and ‘A New Hunger’ has both. But I have to admit, it works. Which is surprising given that it is a novella, and needs to pack a lot of information into a small number of pages.

the-new-hunger-book-review-pic-02-by-casey-carlisleJulie lacked the substance she has in ‘Warm Bodies’ for me, but she is only twelve years old, and you get a sense of her accepting the bleak new world as normal. It was interesting to see the type of person she started out as and left me hungering (pun intended) for what happened to shape her into the Julie we come to know in ‘Warm Bodies.’ I loved her determination, desensitivity to gore and death, as well as innocence all mixed together… not qualities that gel, but on her, it worked so well.

the-new-hunger-book-review-pic-03-by-casey-carlisleNora was much more interesting; she comes across as a realistic teen attempting to survive in this dystopian world. Reminding me of Cassie from ‘The Fifth Wave.’ I really liked how she stumbles and not everything goes her way. It added credence to the world and a desperation‎ to the serious threats she faces. As with Julie, it was great to see the beginnings of her character, so different to the person we meet in ‘Warm Bodies.’ Out of all the cast, Julie has the greatest amount of development, and I was still wanting more.

The tone of ‘The New Hunger’ is different to ‘Warm Bodies.’ I was hoping for a little more insight to the start of the epidemic, or even the beginnings of the Boneys… but unfortunately they were left unanswered – I guess Isaac is leaving it for another book in this series. I’m really looking forward to see what unravels in the next release, ‘The Burning World’ next year. Even with the need for more explanation of the overarching plot from this novella, it was still very entertaining. Although I felt it lacked a bit of pacing and cohesion, mainly because it’s just short snippets in time and doesn’t cover the expanse of their lives or humanities downfall.

The sense of the zombies, the dark cloud with arms that was almost a sentient consciousness – we’ll I’m not sure how I feel about that. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’m hoping it leads to something later in the series. It was only touched on in ‘Warm Bodies’ and lightly alluded to here, so I am desperate to learn about the mythology behind Isaac’s dystopian world and uncover more about the origins. I liked the realism and hinting at some paranormal force behind the zombie apocalypse, but left it as a mere suggestion.

It did miss the humour I was expecting. The witty banter and comedy from ‘Warm Bodies’ is not present in this novella – you could read it as a standalone, but it doesn’t go anywhere. I like the references to ‘Warm Bodies’ and the reveal at the end (though easy to guess.)

A cute addition to the collection and a strong novella. I’d recommend this to fans only, there’s not enough to grab a new reader to this series, or genre. And definitely read ‘Warm Bodies’ first, even though ‘The New Hunger’ is a prequel, you need the setup of the dystopian world and establish the main cast to fully understand what is going on.

On a side note: loving the cover – the metallic sheen and pop of red. Totally captures the mood of the narrative.

I’m eagerly awaiting ‘The Burning World.’  C’mon 2017!

Overall feeling: Middle-of-the-road-zombie

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Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.