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I Belong

Review: The New Hunger by Isaac Marion

Title: The New Hunger

AuthorIsaac Marion

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Warm Bodies (Novella 0.5)

Publication Date: January 28, 2013

Format: eBook, 140 Pages

ISBN-13: 978-1939126047 (Zola Books)

Reviewed by: Anjelica


The end of the world didn’t happen overnight. After years of war, societal breakdown, freak storms and rising tides, humanity was already near the edge. Then came a threat no one could have expected: all the world’s corpses rising up to make more. 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, 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…

Quick & Dirty: When the end of the world comes, staying alive is the only thing that matters, but it takes more than food and shelter to make it from one day to the next.

Opening Sentence: A dead man lies near a river, and the forest watches him.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I haven’t read Warm Bodies but after reading this novella I might actually be inclined to do so. Marion paints an extremely depressing view of a post apocalypitc world, but it is very realistic which makes it a tad terrifying. His vivid descriptions of deserted streets littered with dead bodies coupled with the intense detail he gives to the decaying bodies makes it easy to see all this carnage the moment I close my eyes. I enjoyed the parallel adventures of R, a newly risen zombie; Julie, a 12-year old travelling with her realist military father and her optimistic mother; Nora and her kid brother Addis, a dynamic pair crafted of a teenage girl forced to grow up too fast and a young boy, struggling not to be changed by the dismal and terrifying world.

With only 140 pages, Marion manages to carve deep back stories for characters I understand were a little lacking in Warm Bodies. It is easy to see that R doesn’t want to become a zombie and he fights with all his might to avoid it. I enjoyed seeing the internal struggle between basic instinct tugging him towards food and his moral compass reminding him that what he is trying to do is bad. I like Marion’s depiction of zombies a lot more than other versions I have read because he actually plays off the fact that these creatures used to be human. They aren’t just brain-dead corpses trotting around killing people, well, they are but they don’t start off that way which is awesome. I loved how R kept having these deep and somewhat profound glimpses of thought and then forgot them just mere seconds later. It was both maddening and compelling to see if he could actually fight the virus plaguing his mind.

Julie’s was probably the least interesting story out of the three. Considering the circumstances, she has it the easiest because she still has both her parents to travel with and they are able to drive around in a truck. They have guns and ammo and more importantly food. The only real struggle here is in Julie herself. She is only 12 years old, but she has been forced to grow up rapidly. She understands she has to kill or be killed and there is no way around it. Marion manages to keep her young though through the eyes of her mother, Audrey, who constantly tries to get her daughter to play little imagination games like a normal child. Julie plays along but having her father put a gun in her hand and have her shoot someone in the face makes playing pretend very difficult.

Sixteen-year-old, Nora and her six-year-old brother, Addis have the most terrifying journey. Abandoned by their parents, Nora is forced to struggle not only to keep them alive, but she is also trying to keep Addis innocent. She does her best to shield him from reality, but admits that she can only hide him from so much. Addis, to his credit, seems to understand what is happening but manages to keep hope alive somehow by finding joy in the little things like swimming in a park fountain even though there are bodies scattered all over the place. Addis provides a little bit of a break from the weight of this book, I think.

I enjoyed reading this book alone, but I’m sure I will appreciate it even more when I read Warm Bodies.

Notable Scene:

“I need to go to the bathroom,” she says, and stands up. The music has shifted to something modern, one of those new pop songs Addis and his friends used to listen to back in D.C. It murmurs and clangs, slow and dark, androgynous vocals doubled note for note by a mournful viola. It gives her goosebumps, and she makes a note to skip it on her way back. She never thought she’d be out of touch with youth culture by age sixteen. The darkness came so abruptly her tastes never had a chance to adjust, and now it all scares her. She retreats into the past, to the records Auntie Shirley used to play while they built Legos in the living room. Some Ella or Billie or Frank would be nice right now, despite Addis’s protests. There are worse feelings than boredom. She pushes into the women’s restroom and leans against the sink,m fighting for composure. She looks in the mirror at her tired red eyes. She sees a large mound in the corner of the room, heaving slowly under a tablecloth.

Warm Bodies Series:

0.5 The New Hunger

1. Warm Bodies

FTC Advisory: Zola Books provided me with a copy of The New Hunger. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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