ARC REVIEW: The Living – by Isaac Marion

Title: The Living
(Warm Bodies #3)
Author: Isaac Marion
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: November 13th 2018
Publisher: Zola Books
Finished reading: November 13th 2018
Pages: 384

“It’s easier to fall than to climb, and yet against all logic, life keeps rising.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Zola Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Before I start I have to make a confession and say that I probably would never have decided to read The Living if I would have read The Burning World before requesting a copy of this final book. Why? I was considerably underwhelmed by the sequel, and I had serious problems with the writing style. Still, part of me hoped that this final book of the Warm Bodies series would be an improvement and a satisfying conclusion to R and Julie’s story. Sadly it wasn’t meant to be. The Living follows the same structure as the sequel and even intensifies the confusing writing style and structure as the end is coming near. Once again, I felt that the story in general lacks a proper plot and that both plot and characters were mostly all over the place and running into random trouble instead of following a coherent line. As for the writing style: especially the WE chapters were frustratingly confusing and there were too many jumps and switches between past, present and the different characters to make for a coherent story. I can forgive a zombie story not being scary and the humans being the bad guys for once. This is actually quite a refreshing angle. I can forgive the romance, especially since we are spared a love triangle. But between the writing, lack of proper plot and general feeling of confusement I can’t say I had a great time reading The Living, and to be honest I was relieved when I finally reached the final page. I didn’t find the ending particularly satisfying either… All in all not exactly a positive experience unfortunately.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first two books of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

R used to be a flesh-eating zombie, but now he is breathing again. But what if he was something worse before he turned that first time? He finally remembers his former life, and what he has learned terrifies him. Especially if he things how it will change how Julie sees him… R feels the only way to redemption is to destroy what he once helped create, but how to start such an impossible task? And who will help him achieve that goal?

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I was really hoping The Living would be a more positive reading experience for me, but sadly it was a repeat experience of The Burning World. The whole different stages of zombies and returning to life angle is without doubt refreshing, and the story has some interesting aspects. But between the writing style, lack of plot, confusing POV switches and WE chapters I just couldn’t enjoy this final installment. I was in fact relieved it was finally over, and that is never a good sign. If you are able to connect to the writing style though, you will probably have a significantly better experience.


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WWW Wednesdays #196 – November 14th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m probably already finished with Educated by Tara Westover by the time this post goes live, but as I’m putting this WWW together I still have quite a few pages left. I also started Not A Clue by Chloe Delaume and wasn’t impressed; part of the reason I put it down and picked up Educated instead, not wanting to have three disappointing reads in a row. I’m also starting Las Lullaby by Carol Wyer soon; I always seem to love her books so hopefully this one will tip the balance towards the positive again. I know picking up The Cruel Prince by Holly Black will be a risk, as there are very mixed reviews out there and I’m scared I will belong to the negative group. But I guess I’ll never know if I don’t try right?

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/11
If the blurb of The Liar’s Wife doesn’t convince you already, I can promise you that this is only just the tip of the huge iceberg of plot twists, shocking surprises and suspenseful scenes that this story has in store for you. Make sure to free some time, because you will want to keep turning those pages until you find out what exactly happened all that time ago and how everything fits with what is happening now. Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller and a very satisfying read despite some difficult themes.

2. Elevation by Stephen King (2/5 stars) REVIEW 20/11
I have no clue whatsoever why this novella is marked as ‘horror’. Contemporary romance with a hint of sci-fi and even a far-fetched urban fantasy… Maybe. But horror? I don’t think anyone would find Elevation scary unless you are afraid of hights or stepping on the scale. I know it’s only a novella, but the characters just felt like one big cliche for me and didn’t add anything interesting to the story for me. A big problem, as the story is mostly focused on them.

3. Daughters Of The Lake by Wendy Webb (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/11
Daughters Of The Lake is a wonderfully written paranormal romance and mystery story with a gothic feel. What at first glance seems to be a simply mystery and historical crime with a dual timeline turns out to be so much more, giving you a rich and original plot to savour. I especially loved the folk tale elements, and the paranormal touch is well constructed as well. The balance between all those different elements is spot on, and with easy to like characters you will have an excellent time discovering more about the past and how it affects the present. Recommended!

4. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (1/5 stars) REVIEW 26/11
I was hoping to find something interesting and inspirational in Girl, Wash Your Face, especially after hearing others swear by it. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I don’t even know where to start summarizing my opinion about this one, but my shorties review has turned into a full blown rant with a LOT of details. Make sure to prepare yourself for that one. 😉

5. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/11
There is no doubt Colleen Hoover is a star in creating flawed and realistic characters that will have to go through a lot before they reach the final page. I had a few problems with the story, but I still think All Your Perfects was mostly a great read. And once again she has managed to make me enjoy a genre I normally tend to stay away from… Something not to take lightly.

6. Her Final Confession by Lisa Regan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/11
I have consistently enjoyed the books of this detective thriller series so far and book number four is no different. Her Final Confession is fast, suspenseful and filled with plot twists and shocking surprises. Intense is an understatement! While not everything about the plot and twists is exactly credible, it’s still quite easy to forget about the credibility and enjoy the ride anyway. The writing style and the characters have a lot to do with this! Entertaining, intense and full of suspense: Her Final Confession is without doubt another excellent addition!

7. An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris (DNF at 30%) DNF REVIEW 29/11
I have picked up An Officer And A Spy only to put it down again after only a few pages multiple times over the last few weeks. I’ve tried and tried to at least make it to the end to see if things improved later on, but in the end I decided to make the difficult decision to just DNF it. I hardly ever give up on a book, so it definitely makes me sad to do so… But between the superslow pace, writing style, too many descriptions and a lack of interest in both the plot and the characters, I think this was the right choice for me.

8. The Living by Isaac Marion (2/5 stars) REVIEW 23/11
I was really hoping The Living would be a more positive reading experience for me, but sadly it was a repeat experience of The Burning World. The whole different stages of zombies and returning to life angle is without doubt refreshing, and the story has some interesting aspects. But between the writing style, lack of plot, confusing POV switches and WE chapters I just couldn’t enjoy this final installment. I was in fact relieved it was finally over, and that is never a good sign. If you are able to connect to the writing style though, you will probably have a significantly better experience.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I will probably read my last pending November NG ARC next, which is Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt. It’s been ages since I read a Western themed historical fiction story, so I’m looking forward to it.Then I’m hoping to pick up a few Goodreads Choice Awards finalists… It’s going to be between The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah and The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen depending on which genre I’m in the mood for. . My newest TBR jar pick is still The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble; I don’t think I’ll get to it this month, but I’m hoping to read it before the year is over.


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WWW Wednesdays #195 – November 7th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading the ARC The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes, a psychological thriller I’ve been looking forward to. I’ve been meaning to read one of her books for a while now, so here’s me finally doing that. I’m also starting the Warm Bodies conclusion and ARC The Living by Isaac Marion since it’s due very soon… At least it has made me speed up and finally read the sequel so I can cross off another series. I’m not sure what to do with An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris though… I’m about 30% into the story right now and I’m really not sure whether I should force myself to keep reading or just throw in the towel and DNF it. I’m keeping it on hold until I decide what to do.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Corner To Corner Crochet by Jess Coppom (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/11
Corner To Corner Crochet offers, apart from the explanation of the technique itself including how to change color and weave ends, 15 patterns using this technique. Corner To Corner Crochet was without doubt enlightening, with techniques and stitches explained with both words and numbered photos. I will be looking forward to try this technique myself!

2. The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/11
The Chalk Man has been said to having that Stranger Things feel and isn’t just another crime thriller. There is something more going on that is hard to put your finger on, something that will both keep you on edge and brings a whole lot of suspense on board. This is one of those stories where the dual timeline actually worked for me.

3. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/11
I’m always in awe how she is able to put a devastating neurological disease in the spotlight, mixing medical facts and symptoms with a fictional story in such way that you end up both being educated and entertained at the same time. This balance between facts and fiction is what makes Every Note Played such an interesting read for me. It’s not just a simple description of ALS and its symptoms. Through the main character Richard we get to see exactly how this disease evolves and what effects it has on both his life and those close to him.

4. River Bodies by Karen Katchur (3/5 stars) REVIEW 13/11
I was looking forward to River Bodies, but sadly it didn’t completely hit the mark for me. Part of the problem was probably that I was expecting a crime thriller, where River Bodies has more focus on the characters and their relationships rather than the actual crimes committed and the consequent investigation. Having to deal with multiple cheating characters and a love triangle came as a very unpleasant surprise for me, and definitely influenced my reading experience negatively. The crimes themselves and the investigation weren’t as important in River Bodies, something that surprised me. Fans of slower paced and character-driven mysteries with a dose of romance will undoubtly enjoy River Bodies a lot better. Just be warned there might be some graphic scenes involved.

5. The Cheerleaders by Karen Thomas (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/11
There is just something about the writing that draws you right in, makes you forget about your surroundings and just read. I was intrigued from the start, and even though not all characters are likeable and there are a few high school cliches involved, somehow the mystery around the death of the five cheerleaders was enough to forget about those objections and keep on reading. Entertaining and twisty enough to finish it in record time. The Cheerleaders is without doubt one of the strongest YA contemporary/mystery reads I’ve had the chance to read this year, minor flaws and all.

6. The Burning World by Isaac Marion (3/5 stars) REVIEW 20/11
I confess I actually read the first book so long ago (three years) that I confused my feelings for the story with another zombie read. I wasn’t convinced by the first book, and this sequel didn’t wow me either. This was partly because of the writing style, partly because I didn’t like the WE chapters, partly because of the lack of horror, partly because of the lack of a proper plot and partly because of other reasons.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have quite a few pending ARCs coming up, and I think Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt will be the next one I will tackle. It’s been ages since I read a Western themed historical fiction story, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m also planning on reading the ARC Not A Clue by Chloe Delaume. As part of the whole Goodreads Choice Awards theme, I’m also picking up The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen soon. There has been a lot of hype around that one, so fingers crossed it will live up to it. My newest TBR jar pick The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble will be on hold until I decide what to do with An Officer And A Spy first…


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