I'd give this a solid 4.5. Warm Bodies wasn't my favorite, maybe because I read it too late (just a couple of months before the movie release) and I struggled to get though it. While I loved R, I didn't connect with Julie or Nora at all.
But now? After this finely crafted gem? I'm impressed. The backstory of how Julie, Nora, R, and M come together is fantastic. And heart wrenching, and underlined my already existing fears regarding the way this works we live in is going. Marion's writing in this novella is excellent, descriptive but not overly wordy. It left my heart breaking for Nora & Addis (what a great kid), aching for Julie & her mother, and holding faint hope as well as despair for R (plus a lot of curiosity about the opening scene). Most of all, I felt a newfound connection to & respect for Julie & Nora. Overall, The New Hunger adds so much to the characters we come to know in WB, and left me with a few new & burning questions that I hope will be answered in the WB sequel.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but after tearing through it in a day, I can say it isn't just the author trying to make an extra buck. Marion clearly has a sense of where these characters (& world) came from, where they are going, and I'm firmly on the bandwagon to see where that is.
He does an excellent job of setting the stage for what we read in Warm Bodies, however, I would still read WB first before visiting The New Hunger.