Hungry for You by A.M. Harte (2011)

Hungry for You by A.M. HarteSmashwords / Amazon / Author’s Site

4/5 stars

“There is no greater drug than relationships; there is no sweeter death than love.”

Love is horrible. It’s ruthless, messy, mind-altering, and raw. It takes no prisoners. It chews you up and spits you out and leaves you for dead. Love is, you could say, very much like a zombie.

In this haunting short story collection, anything is possible—a dying musician turns to tea for inspiration; a police sergeant struggles with a very unusual victim; a young wife is trapped in a house hiding unimaginable evil….

With “Hungry For You”, A.M. Harte explores the disturbing and delightful in an anthology that unearths the thin boundary between love and death.

Hungry For You is a horror short story collection that explores the links between desire and decay through tales of zombie romance. The POV character is either a zombie, or someone who is attracted to one—so while readers may be experiencing zombie fatigue, A. M. Harte injects new life into the material. There isn’t just one type of zombie in this book. It takes a more general approach as it covers some people who are not traditional zombies, but exhibit the same bodily experiences of addiction and deterioration. All the characters are sympathetic individuals, no matter how many fingernails and ears fall off, and no matter what they hunger for.

I really enjoyed this collection. It’s engaging and heart-wrenching all throughout, and I finished it in one sitting. The simultaneous themes of passion and destruction are unique, resulting in some chilling prose that straddle the darkness between the two:

“It hurts,” she moaned, clutching at her side where I’d sunk my teeth into one of the love handles she so hated. The memory made my gums tingle. I took a step closer, could feel the growing hunger, the excitement, the urgency to eat and eat before her flesh went off.

The stories that stood out for me were the title story “Hungry for You”, and “Dead Man’s Rose”—which are respectively about a female police sergeant with an unusual zombie victim, and a young wife dealing with an abusive relationship. About the former, it takes some serious skill to write zombies as attractive beings while maintaining them as rotting corpses. It’s infinitely twisted and awesome. Although the subject matter in “Dead Man’s Rose” isn’t new (young wife has creepy husband; young wife is stuck in a house and creepy things happen), it’s written with such a touching sadness that it affected me emotionally like no similar story has.

I was hoping that the stories would add to a greater overarching theme, but they don’t. They could be read in any order and it wouldn’t affect your experience of this collection. While every word is absorbing, the stories feel more like samplers of bigger tales, so some ideas could be explored further.

Some of the characters could be fleshed out more in terms of personality and background—while they’re all in different states of rotting and non-rotting, there were some that I could only remember as hetereosexual and in their 20’s or early 30’s. Due to the similarity of subject matter and not-as-defined characters, there are a few stories that aren’t as memorable. But really, these are just my thoughts on how a great 4-star anthology could become an even better 5-star book.

Hungry For You is a captivating read. Although I felt like some of the stories could be expanded, every single one was emotionally moving, and I suspect that I’ll be re-reading several. If you’re interested in highly original zombie stories, or exploring the dark side of passion, I recommend this book. Reading the sample will give you a good idea if these stories will tug at your heartstrings. They certainly tugged mine, and I’m very interested in reading more books by this author.

You might like this if you like…
Zombies; the dark side of passion; horror that tugs at your heartstrings; hot zombies; zombie swans?

A.M. Harte wears many hats. She’s a speculative fiction author, the editor-in-chief of the independent Canadian publisher 1889 Labs, a book reviewer at Quills and Zebras, and a podcaster and such in the web fiction community. She has a separate day job in London too. That’s a lot of hats. I speculate that she is post-human, but definitely not a zombie.

About Caroline Cryonic

Formerly known as Frida Fantastic. A speculative fiction book blogger from Vancouver, Canada currently living in Quezon City, Philippines.

Posted on August 22, 2011, in 4 stars, A.M. Harte, Dark fiction and Horror, Ebook Reviews, Fantasy, Frida Reviewed, Hungry For You, Short Stories and Novellas, zombie romance, zombie swans and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Well, I’m not sure that cover art would tempt me to give it a try (ew?), but the stories sound promising. 😉

    You’re doing a great job with your reviews here, Frida. When does your new review partner come on board? I’m sure folks would love to see even more write-ups. 🙂

    • I actually find the cover oddly cute, but that’s just me and my soft spot for horror and body parts 🙂 Goodreads tells me C Rooney (@crooneyme) read this collection too, so you can also ask her about her thoughts. I’m not sure if you’ve been finding that your readers have similar taste in books as you 😛

      Thanks for the compliments. Actually, now there are two new reviewers coming on board. In addition to Matt, Chris will be contributing her ebook reviews. Both reviewers have been book blogging for some time and know their spec-fic really well, so I’m excited to get going on the group blogging thing.

      The changes to the blog will all happen in mid-late Sept: blog name change, domain name change, two additional reviewers, and changing the email for book submissions. Both Matt and Chris are away traveling until then, so it seems to make sense for the changes to happen all at once as a blog relaunch.

      For everyone interested in the new reviewers, here are their other book blogs:

  2. I don’t get into horror too much but I have to say that’s a great title and cover. I have to second Lindsay’s comment about your quality of reviews and I had no idea you were expanding and partnering up with other reviewers. Is partnering the right word here?

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