Tag Archives: The Enemy Series

The Enemy Series: The Dead

Author:

Charlie Higson

Plot:

The events in The Dead take place a year before those in Book 1, The Enemy, just after the Disaster.

So, the book starts off in a boarding school a few miles from London, where some fourteen year old boys are trapped in a room surrounded with zombie teachers. After breaking out of the school compound, they manage to rescue another group of boys trapped in a church who almost died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning and a French girl, who falls in love with Jack, the guy who happened to have just killed her zombie father minutes before.

So the motley group now includes football jocks (good at bashing zombies), nerds (good at being smart and geeky), the pretty French girl (good at looking cute and helpless), a fashion-obsessed African guy named Kwanele (good at keeping zombie snot and blood off his clothes) and the group of religious zealots led by a disillusioned (and extremely annoying) boy Matt, whom, since being rescued in the church, had never stopped going on about his vision of the Lamb God and a boy with light hair and a boy with dark hair. They’re good at practically nothing. I guess the Carbon Monoxide really got to his brain.

They soon meet with a huge congregation of adults, but are fortunately rescued by Greg, a strangely un-affected adult driving a bus. However, even without being diseased, Greg the adult is really annoying. (You really wouldn’t want to see him in zombie form.) He is way too protective of his son, Liam, and doesn’t give a heck about anyone else.

But, life on board the bus is still pretty much a party, especially with the addition of three pretty girls, Brooke, Courtney and Aleisha who’d been rescued by Greg earlier. Flirting is an unbelievably good mood-lifter. Yup, life is good. Well, at least until Greg turned into a zombie overnight and strangled his own son.

Everyone escapes the bus, only to meet up with an ever bigger group of adults. Talk about jumping from the pan into the fire. They manage to make their way to the Imperial War Museum, but are nearly chased out by the leader, Jordan, because he does not want the extra burden. In the end, though, he relents and lets them stay, as long as they get their own food. They manage to, after hijacking a Tesco delivery truck stockpiled with food.

Then Jack decides to return home one last time (I have no freaking idea why, it’s just completely brainless) and his good friends Bam and Ed accompany him. They are ambushed by adults (Greg among them) and both Bam and Jack die. I told you it was brainless.

On his way back, Ed meets David King and his gang (yup, it’s him, but without his palace) and return to the Museum where he finds out Frederique has turned into a zombie and a fire is about to ravage the museum.

Half of them go flee the museum in the Tesco truck with David, (bad idea, if you ask me) and the other half hijacks a cruise boat and set sail for the Tower of London. The Truckers get stuck on the overcrowded bridge swarmed by panicked children and are about to get burnt to a crisp until David gets out of the truck and screams at everyone to move. It doesn’t work, so he shoots someone dead with his rifle.

Meanwhile, the guys on the boat were rowing their boat merrily down the stream, but then Matt the idiot suddenly gets it into his head that they’ve got to go to St. James Cathedral (because his Lamb God told him so) and while wrangling for control over the boat, crashes it into a bridge.

Once again, the children find themselves in hot soup, thanks to their own demonic kind. I swear, David and Matt ought to be fed to the zombies. Well, at least Matt was right about one thing- one year later, the prophesied ”Light and Dark” boys emerge at the Tower of London. If you’ve read the first book, you’ll know that they also happen to be Small Sam and The Kid, back from their terrifying escape from the children-eating freak couple Nick and Rachel.


Review:

There are lots of book series that start off with a brilliant first book and fizzles out in the second only to disappear into oblivion, but rest assured, this is not such a book series. The Dead is every bit as exciting as The Enemy, if not more so.

The book has its own fair share of gory moments and disgusting adults- the scene where Greg strangles his own son and wears his spectacles sent shivers down my spine the same way Nick and Rachel did in the first book.

In my opinion, the characters in this book were way more fun to read about than in the first book, because they were far more diverse compared to the relatively similar personalities in the Waitrose and Morrison gang. It was interesting to see how everyone, nerd, jock, cheerleader (well, I’m guessing that’s what Brooke, Aleisha and Courtney were before the world collapsed) had their own unique strength that helped them survive, against all odds.

And the best part about the book is that it keeps you on your toes all the time. When you’re pretty sure nothing more could possibly happen, Charlie Higson unleashes a mega twist to the story and you’re left hanging off the edge of a cliff, hyperventilating.

I still have the same quarrel I had with the first book, which is that important characters die in the stupidest, most unglamorous ways imaginable. One of my favorite characters in the book was Jack, the seemingly moody, tough guy with no qualms (even at the beginning) about knocking dents into what used to be Mothers and Fathers in order to survive, but inwardly he was kind-hearted and gentle. Yeah well, he died. But I guess you can’t name your book The Dead and not be prepared to kill off about half your characters.

Score: 

9.0/10 Because it is so fantastic, I’m willing to ignore all the dead bodies of what used to be my favorite characters lying strewn on the zombie infested streets.

Click here to read the review on the first book.

Tagged , , , ,

The Enemy Series: The Enemy

Author:

Charlie Higson

Plot:

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.

Review:

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.

Score: 

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!

Tagged , , , , ,