The New Hunger
by Isaac Marion
Anticipated Publication Date — January 28, 2013 by Zola Books (140 pages)
Advanced copy provided by publisher in exchange for honest review.
New York is a bayou. New Orleans is a reef. The entire country has been devastated by natural disasters and governmental collapse, and on top of everything else there is the annoying problem of zombies trying to devour you at every turn. But sixteen-year-old Nora and her younger brother Addis are about to discover the most frightening thing yet: being abandoned in this horrific world by their own parents.
Left with only a bag of clothes and a first-aid kit, Nora and Addis begin a harrowing journey to connect with anyone who isn’t looking to rob them or eat them. A wounded man wrecks a meal of green beans and French fries at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle. An attempt to get a good night’s sleep in a fortified motel is ruined by an undead face staring at them through the window. And they just can’t seem to shake someone – something – that’s been following them everywhere they go….
Meanwhile, a girl named Julie is traveling toward the city in an SUV with her parents. She is only twelve, but has already seen friends die and her school burn. She has watched her father become nearly as cold and remorseless as the Dead. All she wants is someplace to call home, even if it never really will be.
And somewhere nearby, a tall man awakens in the woods, unsure of exactly where he is, or even who he is. As he struggles to remember details of his life, a single consonant comes to him: R. He is…a name that begins with R….
Isaac Marion once again demonstrates his remarkable gifts as a storyteller as he brings the world of WARM BODIES back to life. Grounding his characters in real emotion, Marion makes you root for them to save the world even as they simply try to stay alive.
I was thrilled to read and review an ARC of Warm Bodies back in 2011. I really loved that book, and I’m really excited to see the movie when it comes out on February 1. When I was approached to review the Warm Bodies prequel that Isaac Marion has written, entitled The New Hunger, which is being published as an exclusive e-book by Zola Books on January 28, 2013, I didn’t hesitate to say yes to this wonderful offer.
In The New Hunger, twelve-year-old Julie (who we all know and love as the object of R’s affection in Warm Bodies when she’s older) is travelling cross country with her parents, desperately searching for a safe haven. Finding nothing but devastation, death, and the worst humanity has to offer, Julie’s certainly had to grow up much too fast for her mother’s liking. And she’s witnessed a change in her father that Julie doesn’t particularly like, but she believes that there is still some compassion left inside of him to reach.
Nora and Addis scrounge up what food they can by scavenging abandoned stores and homes, but still it’s not enough and they’re nearly starved. Having been abandoned by their drug addict parents when the world catastrophes started, the siblings set off on their own in search of a place that was safe enough for them to rest. But after too many close calls on their road weary bodies by the time they hit Seattle, an undead man grows attached to them, following them everywhere. But does he help them or hurt them in the end?
And in the forest near a stream, a man awakens when he should be dead. He doesn’t know who he is or why he’s suddenly alive again, but there’s a voice inside of him that pushes him towards the others, encouraging him to indulge himself. This man, dressed in the familiar shirt and tie, can’t remember his name, but he thinks it started with an R…
As the three sets of characters are on separate paths that seem to lead them to the same place at the same time, who will meet up with each other? Who will live and who will perish?
Isaac Marion has written an often times darkly poetic account of this world that’s falling apart around both the survivors and the zombies, and I loved getting a look at what life was like for R, Julie, and her best friend Addis before they knew each other. Some of the zombies have higher functioning brains than others from the start, and you get a great look at how R figured out that he was a zombie and how he figured out how to deal with the primal urges that come along with his new found undead status.
I give The New Hunger a five out of five. This is a definite must-read for fans of Warm Bodies, but you will have no problem understanding what’s going on if you’ve never read the novel. Darkly descriptive in the starkness of the landscape, whether urban or countryside, I had no problem picturing the decay of the country the characters were living in. Great character development all around, and bonus points for creepy use of wild life on zombie fighting.
This prequel is available exclusively from Zola Books as an e-book, starting on January 28, 2013.