Thursday, January 24, 2013

The New Hunger by Isaac Marion

(Warm Bodies series, book 0.5)
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…

*I received an ARC from the publisher, Zola Books*

If you loved Warm Bodies, I would definitely recommend The New Hunger. This novella is a prequel to Warm Bodies that takes you on three separate journeys in the early days after the US collapse. You’ll follow alongside a brother and sister struggling to find food, weapons, shelter, and basically anything that will help them stay alive; a twelve-year-old girl traveling across the country with her father and mother as they try to find any city, town, or suburb that hasn’t been wiped out; and lastly, a newly Dead zombie who is trying to figure out just exactly what he is, who he is – and more importantly, what this new “life” means for him.

This novella was only 128 pages, so there isn’t a whole lot I can say without giving away spoilers. You’ll get live  R’s first days as a zombie, see how he stumbles (literally) upon meeting M, and he gets his first glimpse of Julie. As much as I love R and Julie, my favorite story line in this prequel was that of Nora and Addis, a sixteen-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy trying to survive on their own. They’re relationship was heartwarming and comical, yet tragic as you see Nora absorb the motherly role for Addis after their parents leave them to fend for themselves.

Isaac Marion once again shows off his tremendous ability to weave gruesome, heartwarming, and suspense into the perfect zombie apocalypse series. The New Hunger is a quick read, and it fuses the story lines together to set up the relationships in Warm Bodies perfectly. In all honesty, if you haven’t read Warm Bodies, I would suggest reading this novella first; it will give you backgrounds on some major characters, and won’t reveal any spoilers. If you’re looking for a gritty, yet funny zombie series – look no further, because this is it, y’all. 

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