Thursday, September 8, 2016

The New Hunger

The New Hunger is a prequel to the novel Warm Bodies. It examines the origins of characters R, Julie, and Nora eight years before they cross paths in Warm Bodies. The three narratives are told in alternating chapters and all are amazing. The world they live in is falling apart. Civilization is hanging by a thread. Cities that were deemed save not long ago are discovered to be overrun. The weather is becoming more and more extreme in addition to the zombie problem. No place is safe.

R has just wakened to his unlife as a zombie. He's fairly confused and can remember snatches of his old life, but it's fleeting. There's a monster in the back of his mind who mocks him and won't tell him what will sate this horrible, insatiable hunger inside of him. His story shows that he was never a normal zombie. Even when the inner monster was screaming at him, he would sometimes save whatever human victim was in front of him. He also meets M, sees the Boneys' creation, and has small but meaningful encounters with Julie.

Julie is 12 years old, but she's adept in combat training and weapons as is necessary to live in this post-apocalyptic world. Although young, she already has a jaded, adult air about her. She's never experienced anything that a normal teen should: first kiss, awkward dates, school, and no real worries. She has starved for days, killed people in defense, killed zombies, set piles of bodies a fire, and tries to take care of her family however she can while they look for a permanent home. Her parents try to shield her as much as they can, but she can't be protected from a shattered world where most are dead and they can't find a safe haven.

Nora is 16 years old and the guardian of her 7 year old brother Addis. She can't succumb to her own sadness or hopelessness because she would take her brother with her. She keeps strong and pushes forward to find food and shelter each night. I found her story the most compelling because she was presented with the hardest choices. Should she help a random stranger or leave them to die for the safety of herself and her brother? So many of us would say it's an easy choice. However the crux of the novel is that without humanity, it isn't really living. You wouldn't really be any different than the zombies. Her story was also the most emotional for me.

The New Hunger had one small flaw. Marion describes R and M very similarly and it wasn't clear at times who it was. The novella is also so short. It makes me want to read Warm Bodies again to have a different view of R, Julie, and Nora. Other than that, I absolutely loved The New Hunger. It has gotten me more eager for the sequel to Warm Bodies called The Burning World.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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