Last week I reviewed Isaac Marion‘s novel of human/zombie love, Warm Bodies, and this week I have the pleasure of discussing the prequel novella, The New Hunger. The novella follows a newly awakened zombie R, parentally-abandoned Nora and her brother Addis, and the Vancouver-bound Grigios roughly seven years before the events of Warm Bodies.
R wakes up disoriented, surrounded by dead bodies who have gunshot wounds. He wanders away confused, learning to walk again. He slowly remembers the names of different objects. Colors look less saturated than the flickers of his memory recall. Overpowering his confusion is a loud voice in his head, which he calls “the brute”, telling him to avoid head wounds and find more of his kind.
12-year-old Julie and her parents John and Audrey travel from New York to Vancouver, only to find Canada, the last safe haven, has fallen. They arrive in time to glimpse the shattered remains of the Vancouver base over the protective wall of the settlement and then hightail it south. On the way, they pass the town where Julie’s college-aged pen pal Nikki lives and John indulges Julie’s plea to go to Nikki’s house to see if she’s there. As they travel through the devastated, empty town John asserts that Julie needs to see this in order to understand the world they now live in. They decide to head to Seattle.
16-year-old Nora and her 7-year-old brother Addis, abandoned by their parents, wander along the Seattle coast, which is now farther inland thanks to the oceans slowly reclaiming major coastal cities. Nora teaches Addis how to defend himself and safely scavenge for food.
If you’re curious about how society crumbled before the zombie apocalypse and the pasts of R, Julie, and Nora, this novella fills in some of the blanks. We find out how America began to prepare for the apocalypse with generators until the oil supply ran out, and turned to solar power too late. Suicide pill ads play on the radio as waves of information still randomly transmit. We see how Julie inherited her love of music from her mother, who quotes song lyrics that fit their situation. Her dad, a former rock musician, has shunned music to focus on survival. Julie’s father wants to expose her to the realities of the world while her mother wants Julie to retain her innocence a little longer. We see R navigate his new life, trying to figure out how he got here and what his next step is. He resists his new urges to eat humans, but follows the voice inside his head telling him to join a hive. Like Julie’s parents, Nora struggles with exposing her brother to the brutality of life on the road after the zombie apocalypse, but the world won’t let her shelter him for very long.
This was a quick read, and Nora stands out as the character who got the most development. We find out how she lost her finger, how she and Julie met, and why she’s such a broken bird. It was interesting to see R’s zombie awakening, but it really didn’t give us anything new. He was just like the R we met in Warm Bodies. The most interesting part of Julie’s story was seeing the dynamic between her parents unfold before our eyes, but it reiterated what we learned in Warm Bodies instead of really expanding on previous information.
If you’re a superfan of Warm Bodies and want more, definitely check out The New Hunger. Otherwise, it doesn’t offer enough new information for a casual fan.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Carbtein squares
2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Categories: A Book AND Its Prequel