Genre: Post-apocalyptic Fiction
Normally I don’t do reviews or summaries or anything on sequel without having written about the first book prior, but I read Warm Bodies quite awhile ago and my opinion is still the same: It was an amazing read, even better than the movie, and I would love to read it again. (For technicalities, this book is actually #3 in the series because it is followed by a short novella called The New Hunger, which is dubbed as book #2).
When I found out that there was a sequel to Warm Bodies, The Burning World, I got it immediately! Sad to say, this novel is a much slower-paced story (in my opinion) and does not have the same excitement and potential fear that the first novel had, but it was still somewhat interesting. It took me nearly three and a half months to read this book because it moved that slow for me, compared to my speed reading of other novels. Despite this, the conflict in the novel was still interesting enough for me to keep reading, but it was slow to get there.
One of the interesting features of this book is the alternation between “I” and “WE,” the first person perspective of R and the collective perspective of the dead. While this did have its interesting moments, I didn’t feel like the “WE” added anything special that the book couldn’t live without. Another thing about this book, one of the more negative things I have to say, is that the transitions were all over the place. One moment the group will be in the plane and the next they are in a house. quite a few of the transitions were confusing, but after reading a page or two in, it clicks where they are and what they are doing. It’s just a small thing that took away from the flow of the reading. There was also quite a bit of post-apocalyptic politics, which made the book run a bit slower and drier than the first novel.
This book begins with R and Julie having their own little home outside of the Goldman Dome, where R is learning how to be human all over again, including reading, writing speaking, socializing, and romance! When some helicopters fly overhead, Julie has her suspicions, because who could it be with operating helicopters?
When R and Julie head to the main headquarters in the Dome, they find themselves face to face with some members from a group called Axiom, a group that seems like it wants to establish peace across the various human colonies, but rather has other plans. The Axiom group, although shrouded in mystery, seems to have some kind of ulterior motive, which is reinforced by the destruction of the armory and the leaders of the Dome.
Taking Julie, R, and Nora captive, they aim to get information on this new “cure” that seems to have made itself known at the Dome. With torturous interrogation by the Axiom group, the prisoners seek a way out. Before their eyes, Perry, Julie’s once-boyfriend, seems to have shown up, but how? What looks like Perry is actually his older brother that no one really knew about, and he is there to get them out. While he is a member of Axiom, he finds that perhaps what they are doing is not right, and he has a daughter to think about.
When they escape, Axiom goes after them endlessly, but when M saves the day, the group decides to head to R’s old home: the airplane! With Abram (Perry’s brother) having the skills to pilot a plane, the group plans on heading out to some other place, away from the Axiom-dominated America. Aboard are R, Julie, Abram, his daughter Sprout (not her real name), Nora, M, and R’s two “children” who roamed around the airport with him in his more dead-days.
When the group jumps from city to city, finding old homes ravaged, burned down, or destroyed, or not even being able to cross another country’s borders, they eventually end up in New York, where the head of Axiom resides. Along the way, R continues to recover his past life, and the terrible things he had done before his new life. He wants to tell Julie, but he is afraid that she would not be able to accept him for his past.
While in New York, they meet the woman responsible for the Almanac, a hand-written and self-published newsletter that she sends out to the world to give survivors information. This interesting woman has discovered one of Axiom’s secrets: they have a tower that is jamming all frequencies except for their own sick message to draw people in. When she destroys the tower, she expects to be able to share the news of the world on a global level, but the group finds out that there is another jamming tower on the west coast, and they head out to destroy it.
With the ending being thus, we can expect another book to be coming in the series. Despite the slower pacing and the switch from surviving the dead to surviving the living, it was still a decent read. I would recommend it for an older reader (16+) because of a lot of the vocabulary, political, and sexual inferences that are in this book. While it was slow, the end shows promise and gives the reader something interesting to look forward to. Since Warm Bodies and The Burning World are so different in terms of plot, there’s no saying what kinds of things we can expect to happen with the characters in the next book. Overall, slow but decent. You should read it if you feel like Warm Bodies needed to continue, but if you are satisfied with the ending of the first book (or perhaps the movie) then maybe just leave it at that.