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Review: Warm Bodies and The Burning World by Isaac Marion

Review: Warm Bodies and The Burning World by Isaac Marion

I first read Warm Bodies many, many years ago, but it wasn’t until I reread it in January that I realised I’d never reviewed it. I’d been planning to read and review The Burning World, so I thought I’d start off that review by briefly explaining why I love Warm Bodies so darned much.

R is a zombie, but he’s not your average, mindless brain-eater. He’s certain that there’s more to life than just stumbling, shuffling and chomping, but he can’t quite put his decomposing finger on what. That is, until he meets Julie Grigio… Moments after killing her boyfriend, Perry. #awkward

Even though it’s quite cheesy, Warm Bodies is one of my favourite books. It’s not revolutionary – the idea of a zombie who learns to love despite his natural inclinations isn’t that far removed from the human/vampire relationship in Twilight – but there’s something interesting about Isaac Marion’s writing. He uses R as a mouthpiece to debate issues such as the true meaning of humanity and morality, making Warm Bodies profoundly philosophical despite its short length.

I’ve read it over and over again, yet it never bores me. It’s close enough to dystopian to spark interest in the wider world, but intensely focused on R and Julie’s blossoming relationship – a very small cog, so if you aren’t interested in looking at the machine as a whole it works perfectly as a standalone.

I did rate it slightly more harshly this time around, giving it four stars instead of five, but that’s because my reading tastes have matured and it does feel a little bit childish. That was bound to happen, though: I first read it over five years ago, and have lost count of the times that I’ve dived in since. It’s like a warm blanket – if I’m having a reading slump or want something easy and fun to read, Warm Bodies is the book I always go to.



If you’re interested in learning more about The Burning World, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you! 


However, I was interested in delving deeper into Marion’s post-apocalyptic world. When he announced that there was going to be a sequel, I knew I’d have to follow my old friends R and Julie into the unknown reaches of their world.

Then Marion announced that he was splitting the sequel into two – The Burning World and The Living, slated for release in late 2018 – and I felt a bit more dubious… But I decided to continue with the series anyway.

I’m beginning to regret that decision.

‘The apocalypse didn’t happen overnight. The world didn’t end in a satisfying climax of explosive special effects. It was slow. It was boring. It was one little thing at a time. One moral compromise, one abandoned ideal, one more justified injustice. No dramatic wave of destruction sweeping across the world, just scattered spots of rot forming throughout the decades, seemingly isolated incidents until the moment they all merged.’ 


The Burning World is a stopgap between Warm Bodies and The Living. Although it’s 500 pages in length, nothing happens. I don’t understand how most of the scenes survived the editing process, particularly R’s constant ruminations as he debates with himself via inner monologue for sprawling, endless stretches. The action sequences are few and far between, the character development is almost invisible, and the reason I fell in love with Marion’s writing is decimated.

So why did I give it three stars?

Honestly, I’m not sure. Even though The Burning World is obviously too long and features a lot of unnecessary blab, it didn’t overly annoy me while I was reading it. This might be because I took it a few pages at a time and was reading a few other books at once… If I’d just been reading this one, I think I would have ended up tearing my hair out.

It’s remarkably average, which is disappointing. Yes, Warm Bodies was rather standard, but I thought once Marion started extending and developing the world he’d craft something unique and interesting, and that’s the opposite of what occurred in The Burning World.

Jumping backwards and forward between R’s perspective and a mysterious We (never explained, but hopefully becoming relevant in the next book) quickly becomes disorienting and makes no sense. Then there are the flashbacks to R’s past as he realises that when he was alive – the first time around – he was involved with the big bad Axiom Group who are plaguing the gang. So many plots introduced. So little resolution of any of them

Then there are the references to Donald Trump’s presidency. Yes, it’s likely that he’s going to have an impact on the future of America, but does anyone really believe that that wall is going to get built? Marion has never hidden his disdain for 45, but putting regular jabs and sarcastic comments throughout the novel just made me roll my eyes. Save the beef for Twitter, because this just looks unprofessional.

I have a feeling the events of The Burning World will make sense in the grand scheme of things… I just wish Marion could have cut to the chase a little bit faster. If The Living is longer than 500 pages, I don’t know if I’m going to have the energy to get through it.


If you’re interested in learning more about The Burning World, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you! 


Have you read any of the books in the Warm Bodies series, or did you just watch the film?