The end of the world didn’t happen overnight. After years of war, societal breakdown, freak storms, and rising tides, humanity already hovered near the edge. Then came the most unexpected threat of all: the world’s corpses rising up to deliver the final blow.
Born into this bleak and bloody landscape, twelve-year-old Julie struggles to hold on to hope as she and her parents drive across the wastelands of America on a nightmarish road trip in search of a new home. Hungry, lost, and terrified, sixteen-year-old Nora finds herself her brother’s sole guardian after her parents abandon them in the not-quite-empty ruins of Seattle. And in the darkness of a forest, a dead man opens his eyes. Who is he? What is he? With no clues beyond a red tie and the letter “R,” he must unravel the grim mystery of his existence—right after he learns how to think, how to walk, and how to satisfy the monster howling in his belly…
For a prequel novella, The New Hunger packs a massive storyline. The events are some 8 years prior to Warm Bodies, and told from the perspectives of Julie, Nora and R, we get a gritty, horrific picture of a world on its edge. Julie, though a kid, has seen some truly terrible things as her parents and she search for a safe zone. The world is turned on its head such that she has to be armed with a gun, be like a grown-up – not like the kid that she is. Nora, a 16 year old in this book, is trying to survive and find food for her 7-year old brother Addis. They are exploring Seattle and watching Nora as she sees how the world is affecting Addis and her battle between protecting his innocence and letting him see the horrid truth of the world is really heart-breaking. On the zombie side, we see R and Marcus – who are newly awakened as zombies, and are figuring out what their nature demands of them.
While we still don’t get a background of the end of the world, the backstory of the characters is so lush, you almost forget that you expected some reason. Then there are also the first times these characters meet each other, which doesn’t affect WB per se, but gives so much possibility to the story. The narrator, herself, did a fine job of bringing the story to life – she had clear distinct voice tones for each of the perspectives, and side characters that I forgot I wasn’t actually reading text. Kudos to an amazing prequel.