January 28, 2013

THE NEW HUNGER by Isaac Marion (Review) -- Prequel to Warm Bodies


The New Hunger
Prequel to Warm Bodies

By Isaac Marion

Vintage Books: 2013


4 / 5 zedheads

Isaac Marion has a gift for breathing life into the zombie genre.

His zombie romance novel Warm Bodies, which is now a major motion picture set to open nation-wide February 1st, managed an almost impossible feat. Combining humour with romance, Marion was able to create a story that was true to the zombie's horror roots while crafting a genuinely heart-felt story of love between a zombie and a human. Warm Bodies is a fantastic tale of horror, redemption, human spirit, and love.

Now, with the release of The New Hunger, the much anticipated prequel to Warm Bodies available exclusively from Zola Books, Marion strikes all the right notes to take us back to the beginning. Well, not quite the beginning. Set ambiguously during humanity's last gasp of civilization, The New Hunger introduces us to four intersecting stories that will come together in tragedy and heartbreak.

In a devastated America crippled by natural disasters and governmental collapse, a terrible infection is reanimating the dead as flesh-hungry ghouls. The oldest and wost of them are vicious, ruthless boney killers. The others, mindlessly driven to feed, are confused, brain-dead mockeries of their former selves. Still others, a select few, seem to maintain some sense of self that is constantly at war with the primal hunger that drives them to feed on human flesh and brains. In this world, 16-year-old Nora and her younger brother Addis travel alone, abandoned by their parents. Meanwhile a 12-year-old girl named Julie travels with her family in a SUV looking for some place that is safe. Nearby, a dead man awakens in the woods, with a shattered memory of his own history, recalling only one single letter of his name: "R"

Fans of Warm Bodies will recognize who many of these characters will become. The New Hunger is a short but sentimental and realistic look at the end of the world, and a tantalizing look behind the scenes of who the main characters of Warm Bodies used to be before heartbreak, tragedy, and infection changes them forever. Because Warm Bodies is set after all vestiges of civilization save for a few strong holds have fallen to the zombies, The New Hunger is a unique chance for Warm Bodies fans to learn a little more about the world that was and imagine a frighteningly plausible look at what our world might become.

As a stand alone read, The New Hunger is not completely satisfying, although there's no faulting the writing. Nora and Addis are freshly grounded protagonists cut from a cloth of real-world hardship, but The New Hunger is chiefly a primer for Warm Bodies. It's a sample of what you can expect in Warm Bodies as an entry point for either the novel or the film. This cold winter, I highly recommend grabbing your own digital download of The New Hunger and curling up on the couch to find out where Warm Bodies begins.