Sixteen year old Nora is looking after her younger brother, keeping them both alive as they wander the wasteland that used to be the United States of America. Somehow, despite the horrors they’ve witnessed, her brother’s held on to a sense of morality about how to treat others.
Twelve year old Julie Grigio is travelling with her parents, looking for the safe haven mentioned in the Almanac. But the Almanac is several months old, and news travels slowly while the zombie plague and other dangers spread much faster.
A dead man awakens near a river, unaware of everything. But as time passes, he remembers bits of his former life, even as a hunger starts to overtake him.
This is a prequel novella to Marion’s zombie novel Warm Bodies. It’s a self-contained story so if you haven’t read the book, like me, you’ll have no trouble following along or enjoying the story.
It’s a pretty bleak tale, with some disturbing imagery (including some short but rather disgusting descriptions that I could have done without), but there’s an underlying message of hope, that even when things are at their worst, some people continue to see the good in others and fight for a better world.
While on the longer side for a novella, it’s still impressive how invested in the character you become. They’re well fleshed out and interesting, with quirks, hopes and fears.
I’ve seen the film version of Warm Bodies, but this novella makes me want to read the book.