Literary Inspiration: The Burning World

The Burning World Collage

Last we checked in on my reading challenge efforts, I was whiffing a friend’s 2017 creation with just 10 piddly books.  I mean, I’m not sure I’d call The Stand “piddly,” but I did attempt to pass off a 35-page ice cream cookbook as a novel from which I learned something, so six of one, half a dozen of the other!  So when that same friend, working in partnership with a third blogging buddy, created a new reading challenge for 2018, I thought it prudent to try, try again.  Second verse, same as the first and all that literary jazz.  Or second verse, hopefully with more effort…than the first, and all that literary jazz (slightly less catchy saying, that!)

Last time I got quite hung up on completing each of the challenge prompts in the order in which they were listed.  This time I just jumped into the deep end with whatever theme spoke to me first, which turned out to be number 26, “A book title that sounds like the cool name for a band.”  And for this theme, I chose Isaac Marion’s The Burning World, the third novel set in the Warm Bodies zombie universe.

The Burning World Book 2.jpg

Some of you may remember that I read The New Hunger, a prequel to Warm Bodies, in satisfaction of one of the prompts last year.  The Burning World, a direct sequel to Warm Bodies that picks up two months after the events of that novel, acts as a bridge between the original story and its prequel.  It’s a fantastic framing device, particularly in light of the fact that if you’ve read the prequel, which introduces the main characters into each others’ orbits years before they ever meet face to face, you know things in this book that the characters do not.  Watching the puzzle pieces of their deeply interconnected lives (and afterlives) click into place is half the joy of reading The Burning World.

And it’s just as well there is that joy to be had from this novel, because holy smokes, absent it, there is very little light or levity to The Burning World.  If you’ve read Warm Bodies, you might remember its tone was one of a weary kind of optimism.  It ended on an up note, if not necessarily a “And they all lived happily ever after” note.  But The Burning World opens on a beleaguered community crumbling under the weight of trying to “fix” the zombie apocalypse, and it only gets much, much, much worse from there.  Part heavy political commentary (zombies were just the final outrageous straw that broke the world’s back, after years of war, environmental destruction and political abuses), part road trip journey and part bald warning, The Burning World mostly jettisons the softer aspects of Warm Bodies – gone are R’s “boy zombie-meets-girl” internal monologues, replaced now with meditations on whether love is even something worth pursuing in a world where survival is paramount.  So, too, is any sense of peace or rest or stability for our little band of wandering revolutionaries, who are left, at the end of 500-some pages, exactly where they started – on the run.  And with one final book coming in 2018 to wrap up the story, it left The Burning World in an oddly truncated and abrupt place – I literally flipped the page and thought, “Oh, okay, so that really was it.”

The Burning World Nails 1

Having said all that, this was a great novel – Isaac Marion is such an evocative writer, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of his works set in the Warm Bodies universe.  Enough that I’ve managed to pull some decent nail art inspiration from even the bleakest of dystopian tales, this burning manicure being no exception.  As for the tie?  Well, that’s a bit of a spoiler, and on that intriguing subject, I shall say no more. 😉



CloverUnder Fingers

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  To those celebrating this afternoon, tonight and early tomorrow morning, I hope you have a wonderful time, but please remember to do so responsibly.  Hail a cab, call a ride-sharing service, buddy up and walk your drunk butts home (the exercise and fresh air would do you some good!) – anything but behind the wheel of a car, okay?  This has been my yearly St. Patrick’s Day PSA; thank you for listening.

Really, though, a weekend St. Patrick’s Day in my any-excuse-to-tie-one-on hometown is cause for alarm.  I actually don’t plan on even leaving the house today – I’ll just binge drink at home like a proper Irish Canadian woman (joke, joke!)

No matter my plans, however, my nails will be looking festive and fly in this old school KB Shimmer polish, Get Clover It.  I’ve had this polish forever, and it’s a favourite – I love its clear, dark green jelly base, lit from within with micro-glitter like the world’s most beautiful pickle, and its lush mix of metallic circle glitter.  Heh, pickle.  Anyways, stay safe, party peeps.

CloverUnder Bottle

Grey Skies Are Gonna Clear Up

Grey Skies Fingers

Yup, it looks like the sun is rallying to make an appearance today, for the first time in about a week.  I mean, it’s still minus 8, but hey, we just might see a sunshiny day!  Yay, Vitamin D.

I dig this polish, KB Shimmer’s Make My Gray, out of storage every year around this time.  There’s just something optimistic about the bright turquoise and flamingo pink glitters bursting through the pale grey base and gunmetal-hued accents.  But oof, she’s a temperamental one in terms of consistency.  I think if I’m really looking for a reason why I only use this polish once a year, it’s probably because using it is a lot like trying to paint your nails with lumpy pudding.  Mmm, lumpy pudding!  It’s a pretty jerk, that’s for sure.  All the same, it’s nice to see it show its face at least once a year – hey, just like the sun!

Grey Skies Bottle

Frozen Bubbles

Frozen Bubbles

As in Polish Me Silly’s fun Mr. Bubble glitter bomb over top of my frozen, lacquered fingertips.  ‘Cause it never stops snowing.  As I may have mentioned once or twice or 20 times over the past two days.  Fur real, though, it’s the middle of MARCH.  Time to wrap this up for the year, Earth!  Besides, there’s only so much time left before we all switch over to griping about the heat and humidity (also a thing in my in-a-valley city.)

Heh, that reminds me of a cute interaction I had with a reader years ago.  I had mentioned in a post at the time that my city sits in a valley, as in the Ottawa Valley.  If you’ve been to Ottawa, you know it has its lovely qualities, but it’s also a major (bureaucratic) city, with all the attendant ugliness that goes along with that descriptor – old, crap, perpetually breaking infrastructure (sinkholes!), sprawling, high density suburbs (vinyl!) and a death trap of a 400 series highway that cuts through the entire city like a gaping, infected wound (but tell us how you really feel, Sandra.)  Anyhow, this reader, who I believe hailed from the Philippines, left a sweet comment on my post to the effect of “You live in a valley?!  How wonderful, it must be so beautiful and magical!”  It was adorable, and I laughed for about five solid minutes afterwards at the thought of this girl thinking that I lived in freakin’ Fern Gully.  I tried to be as gentle as possible as I explained that no, Ottawa was your pretty typical metropolitan mess, and how its valley-ness manifested itself was mostly in poor weather conditions that would settle into the divot and then not move off for the next 10 days.  That’s kind of what we’re in right now – a snow cycle that’s trapped down here “in the Valley.”  No place like home, eh? 😉

Icy Sweets

Icy Sweets 1

In oh so many different ways, but mostly this way, because hey look, check out what’s been going on for the past 36 solid hours!


I should note that these are totally common weather conditions in my city at this time of year.  Hell, these are sometimes common conditions at the end of April.  But as always (and I am confident I’m not alone in this assessment) I am now done, done, done with the winter.  Effing snow globe life is for the birds (or particularly disturbing episodes of Black Mirror.)

So it’s just as well I’m bound and determined to drag out every single springtime polish I own this week, if only to see if all those cheery shades can course-correct my crap weather-induced bad mood.  Here I started with KB Shimmer’s Sweet Egg-scape, a pastel glitter bomb that I always think reads a bit more Valentine’s Day than Easter, but to each polish creator their own, you know?  And then I topped it with a couple of icy treat nail charms, because we really can’t have anything spring-like around here without covering it in a crisp layer of frost or two inches of frozen slush, now can we?  Whoops, so much for reeling in that bad mood…

Icy Sweets Bottle

Snow Much Fun?

Snow Much Fun 1

Eh, I’m not sure how much fun a snowstorm is at this time of year.  Even us loony (Loonie?) Canadians are tired of the wet, tired of the ice, tired of the slush (and where I live, it frequently snows straight through to about the middle of April.)  Ugh, why do I live here again?  Oh right, because Canada is awesome. 🙂

And so is this nail polish, KB Shimmer’s optimistically titled Snow Much Fun!  I typically drag this lacquer out around this time of year, if only to remind myself that snow really is beautiful, and ONE DAY it will eventually stop.  Right?!  Oh my word, PLEASE let it stop!

Snow Much Fun 2

The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water 1

Neptune nails.  Both in terms of inspiration, and also the unbelievably gorgeous base polish I used here, Enchanted Polish’s Neptune.

Shape of Water 2

Also, given The Shape of Water’s best picture win at this past Sunday’s Oscars, it seemed an appropriate time – nay, the only time! – to make this “In love with a fishman” Disney joke.  Good lawd, that Triton is jacked!  His arms-day routine must be nuts.

Mermaid Collage