The end of the world didn’t happen overnight.
After years of societal breakdowns, wars and quakes and rising tides, humanity was already near the edge. Then came a final blow no one could have expected: all the world’s corpses rising up to make more.
Please prepare yourself for a lot of comparison with Warm Bodies, the book of which this is a prequel.
The plot follows the journey of three main characters – Julie with her parents, Nora with her little brother Addy, and ‘the Tall man’ – who are all searching for safety in one way or another. The chapters alternate between the different people, a form I have struggled with in the past, but Marion’s writing for each personality is clear and the organisation of the chapters flowed well. The most intriguing of them was the mysterious ‘Tall man’ who could not recall who or what he was. It was evident as the storyline developed that the narration required multiple characters due to the lack of subplots and action, something which disappointed me. I don’t believe any of the characters could have held the book by themselves without the interjection of others because the storylines just simply weren’t very interesting. It seemed at points that some chapters were only included to show the reader how the characters react to situations in an attempt to disguise the somewhat flatness of them instead of pushing forward the plot. Things were happening but nothing was really happening, if that makes sense?
Not what I expected
As a prequel to Warm Bodies, I thought the book would reflect back on the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse, but instead The New Hunger is set years after the world changed and, if it wasn’t for the inclusion of Julie, could have happened parallel to the original novel. While reading I had hoped for more tragedy in Julie’s storyline (am I evil?) but alas, not much happened.
Has Marion lost his magic?
No. Although the book lacked imagination and didn’t conclude with a satisfying resolution, Marion’s unique writing style was still present and his dialogue was particularly effective. There was a lack of the dark humour I loved so much in Warm Bodies though that was most likely due to the absence of the protagonist, R, and therefore Marion catered to the style of his other characters even if it lost a little something. The thought process of the Tall man and the descriptions were fascinating and I wish those chapters had lasted longer. Marion continues to be a great writer.
I didn’t dislike the story but I didn’t enjoy it either. Personally, I felt that there was a lot of unused potential and Warm Bodies certainly raised the bar of my expectations for this one. I will, however, read more of Isaac Marion’s work because I like his writing style.
What did you think of The New Hunger?