The author of Warm Bodies resisted writing a prequel to his “zombie romance” for quite a while, but clearly commercial imperatives eventually won the day.
Issac Marion argued – quite rightly – that seeing zombie protagonist R’s life before he turned would hold no interest. The New Hunger sidesteps that by kicking off as he wakes as one of the undead. Two other strands follow his future squeeze Julie, and Nora, who’s to become her best friend.
It’s a more conventional tale of the zombie apocalypse, with an emphasis on finding food, weapons and shelter - though Marion’s style remains pleasingly poetic (R’s hunger for flesh is memorably described as extending beyond him like “a cloud of hands”) and epigrammatic (of shooting the dead in the head: “Responsible murder had become the new recycling”). He also continues to show a gift for evocative detail (at one point, we visit a flooded city where “letters float like lily pads”).
Fans will welcome the chance to return to this world, and to see more details sketched out - like a giant wall at the Canadian border, an arson cult called The Fire Church, and suicide pills branded Enditol. But the large font size means this is basically a 90-page novella, and you couldn’t really describe it as essential reading.
Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman