(Bk 1 in series)
Author: Charlie Higson
Release Date: 2009
Category: Young Adult/Horror
Source: Sent to me for review by Puffin
Paperback: 407 pages
Summary from Amazon:
They’ll chase you. They’ll rip you open. They’ll feed on you . . . When the sickness came, every parent, police officer, politician – every adult – fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry. Only children under fourteen remain, and they’re fighting to survive. Now there are rumours of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city – down alleyways, in deserted houses, underground – the grown-ups lie in wait. But can they make it there – alive?
This is the most realistic book I have ever read on zombies. It feels so real that you have to check every three minutes that the adult standing next to you in the tube doesn't have pus all over his face and look at you too hungrily.
Imagine yourself in a world where three quarters of the population has died progressively because of a mysterious disease. Everyone above 14 years old tranforms in a zombie-like creature who is still alive but acts like an animal (feeding off children) and looks (at best) disgusting, covered in pus and with missing limbs. Everyone under 14 mysteriously survives and has to fight for its survival. Two groups of children have taken refuge in supermarkets in London, in a Morrisons and in a Waitrose. They don't know about any other kids and try to survive as best as they can.
Very Lord of the Flies in a way, but not in others. As kids struggle to find things to eat, they realise they need some sort of order and the smaller kids listen to the older and stronger ones. All is not well though, after a year, food makes itself extremely scarce and there is some talk about moving out and going to the countryside.
The writing style is simply amazing, I was hooked from the very first page and though there are some clearly "oh my god this is disgusting, pass me a bucket!" moments, it is not too much so as to make you stop reading. I have a limit of what I find disgusting and, since I was traumatised by a book like this when I was younger, adult eating children is way below this limit, but I wasn't too disgusted reading The Enemy.
The characters are all very well described and also realistic. Of course, they are kids who have changed after a year living "in the wild". By the way, I am team Small Sam all the way, I absolutely love this kid! And let it be known that sometimes the smallest and most vulnerable kid can hide a tremendous amount of courage. Most of these kids, especially the younger ones, are made of awesome.
I really can't talk more about this book without giving spoilers. Everyone needs to discover it alone (in the dark!) and you definitely won't be disappointed!
I really find that this is an interesting series. The Dead (which came out a couple of weeks ago) is the prequel and tells the beginning of the story: the outbreak of the disease and how the kids ended up living in a supermarket. I can't wait to read it!!
If you like a good thrill, don't hesitate to read this book. And if, like me, you read too much fiction and think you can never be too prepared for the end of the world or any related incident, be sure to read this book and pick up survival skills!
Of course, since there are truly spooky moments, the book is not suitable for younger children!
Thanks to Puffin for sending me this book!