Set in a post-apocalypse world where everyone over the age of 16 has either died, or turned into zombie-like things, the book follows a group of children who call themselves the Waitrose Crew, (who’ve holed up in yes, the Waitrose supermarket) as they struggle to survive against diseased zombie adults, diseased zombie apes, starvation, and fellow children who’ve gone quite, mad. Naturally, the world is in quite a mess.
So, one day they save an unknown boy from a group of adults outside their supermarket fortress, and he tells them about the Buckingham Palace, where there is (according to him) an abundance of food, shelter, and relatively few adults. A.k.a the Mecca of the post-apopcalypse world- or so he tells them.
They figure half-dead-men can’t lie about such things, though, so they team up with another gang of kids (who, incidentally, have holed up in the Morrison supermarket) and make their way across London to the Buckingham palace. I’ve got to say, though, battling diseased monkey escapees from the London Zoo and fending off boil-infested zombies doesn’t sound like a very fun way to tour London.
So anyway, monkey business aside, when they finally arrive at the Palace, they’re treated to a feast (or at least relatively so) and it really seems like they’ve made it to safety at last. Ha, ha. What a joke.
In actual fact, there is far less food than they’d been led to believe, zombies in the basement, and worse of all, a crazy dude, David, who runs the place in a dictatorship. He’s got it into his head to rule over London (even though there’s probably no one left to rule, since most are dead) but evil as he is, he doesn’t know squat about fighting, which, I’m guessing, is probably rather problematic. That’s why David decided to lure the Waitrose crew (who’s reputation in fighting precedes them) to the Palace and get them to do his dirty work for him.
The first thing he has them do is get rid of the ‘squatter kids’ in the area, which they agree to do, although Maxie, the Waitrose crew leader wasn’t happy about it. Achilleus, the Waitrose crew’s best fighter, almost dies in the attempt. Not like David cares, though. When Maxie finally voices her suspicion of David’s true nature to the rest of her crew, David throws her in the dungeons. Worse still, her mates, Achilleus, Blue, (the Morrison leader) and Ollie (the brains of her gang) seem to have deserted her for David.
Funny how it seems like although the adults are disgusting and pretty dangerous, you get a depressing feeling that the children themselves are their own worst Enemies. It’s sort of like the novel The Lord of the Flies, which, in case you’ve never read it (I wouldn’t have, if it hadn’t been my Literature text for the year), is basically this dark, depressing book written by a World War II survivor about how being evil is in our nature and how we keep thinking there’s a monster or demon waiting to get us, but we don’t realize that we are the monsters. Yup, pretty cheery stuff, if you ask me.
It’s a pretty disturbing, (not to mention gory) book series, (read: snot-dripping zombies who strangle their own children to death), but I absolutely love it. Yeah, I’m nuts. (Hopefully the Macadamia kind. I love macadamias.) Or maybe it’s because I’m already secretly a zombie. Whatever the reason, though, I am completely addicted to this book series.First of all, its plot is superb. It’s action-packed, gripping and full of edge-of-the-seat moments. Throw in some world-class writing, well-developed characters, and a few zombies, and you’ve got yourself a smash hit. Which is, of course, what The Enemy is.
There’s plenty of action and honestly, maybe a little too much of it. I might’ve gotten a heart attack one or two times through the book and had to be carried off in an ambulance. Just joking. They’re some books where you pinch yourself after every few pages because you feel like you’re about to doze off just trying to get through it, but this isn’t one of those books for sure. I had to take regular calm-down sessions before my heart rate got up too high and the sentence above turns into something more than a lame joke. Even though the whack-a-zombie sequences in the book could’ve gotten slightly stale if the book had been written by any other author, but with Charlie Higson, there isn’t a chance of that happening. After all, he isn’t just any other author, he’s the author of the Young Bond series, which you should check out if you’re into stylish, good-looking guys who happen to be really good at saving the world.
The characters are very powerful, real, and likeable in their own ways (well, other than David and the zombie adults, of course) although sometimes (in my opinion) unnecessarily killed off. Charlie Higson makes it very clear that no one in the book is spared the axe just because he’s spent a few dozen chapters developing him/her. I guess he got fed up of all his readers knowing that the main character (a.k.a. James Bond) wasn’t going to die because he grows up to become the 007 spy we’re all familiar with. Still, he didn’t have to go around murdering every half-decent character he has.
For example Arran, the golden haired, gorgeous-looking leader of the Waitrose kids (yes, Maxie started off as a mere sidekick) and main character of the first few chapters, dies after a kid shoots him in the shoulder by accident. Talk about cruel! I was already starting to fall desperately in love with him, and then this stupid girl with horrible aim comes in and kills him. Great. Just great.
My favorite characters are, by far, hands-down, Small Sam and his buddy The Kid (no kidding, that’s his name), two plucky little kids who’ve got in and out of more trouble than you can possibly imagine. Small Sam, a nine-year old boy had gotten separated from the Waitrose Crew, and captured by an adult couple, Nick and Rachel, who rear children like chickens to eat. (This is where we discover the horrifying truth that eating children helps slow the disease)
His buddy The Kid saves him and they find themselves in other pretty sticky situations. They even get mistaken as deities by a bunch of (spoiler alert) religious zealot weirdos who’ve started their own new religion that involves some lambs, and a load of lousy spelling. But that’s another story. Literally.
All in all, this book series is a must read, especially if you like post-apopcalypse fiction, or any book that’s got a great plot, great characters, and well, is just great in general. Check back for the next two book reviews soon- I’ve got to go wrap some Christmas presents now, sadly.
9/10 stars- Pretty dang good. You’d be a brainless zombie not to read this.
Click here to read the review of the second book, the Dead!