The Dead - Charlie Higson

Title: The Dead
(Prequel of The Enemy)

Author: Charlie Higson

Publisher: Puffin

Release Date: 2010

Category: Young Adult, Horror

Source: From the publisher

Hardback: 450

Summary from Amazon:
A terrible disease is striking everyone over the age of fourteen. Death walks the streets. Nowhere is safe. Maxie, Blue and the rest of the Holloway crew aren’t the only kids trying to escape the ferocious adults who prey on them. Jack and Ed are best friends, but their battle to stay alive tests their friendship to the limit as they go on the run with a mismatched group of other kids – nerds, fighters, misfits. And one adult. Greg, a butcher, who claims he’s immune to the disease. They must work together if they want to make it in this terrifying new world. But as a fresh disaster threatens to overwhelm London, they realize they won’t all survive...


The Dead is the amazing prequel to The Enemy (my review here). I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this. I absolutely love series, but I particularly love series where each book is different from the others and which you can read also as a stand alone novel. The Dead is set in the same world as The Enemy, but not only are there new characters in the book, but there are also very different themes and actions. It is an absolutely brilliant book, I haven't been able to put it down and I was completely fascinated by the plot!

The Dead is set a few days after the strange epidemic has killed the majority of the adult population in the UK (but as we come to know in this book, in the rest of Europe as well) and turned a minority into “zombies” - children-eating animalistic-looking monsters. We follow a group of boys from a school who had been hiding in their dorm rooms during the events. They were at first helped by teachers, but they soon became hungry zombies themselves. After some painful moments, they decide to move from the school and try to find a better shelter and some food elsewhere. The eternal debate over countryside vs. London took place and in the end London won.

They meet other kids on the way and some very resisting adults who seem immune to the disease. I really found that the book was an amazing vision of human nature. Though some episodes were clearly gory (incredibly so) it is a work of undeniable genius balancing between the fun, the horror and the originality. 
Some kids are very brave, others are so deeply afraid of the situation that they get sometimes paralysed. But one of the biggest lessons in the book is that you are not naturally brave, some might be more inclined than others but facing the unpredictable events, some characters just grow a pair during the action even though they would have been considered cowards at the beginning of the story. (Oh dear did I just say “grow a pair” in my review?!)
The new group of characters present in the book are all very interesting and I find that Charlie Higson is just so talented in bringing those very typical and various teenage personalities from today's world to this horrible situation. The moment where they recall their cell phones and the films they used to watch is just priceless.

The religious aspect of one part of the plot seemed slightly weird and out-of-place at first. Not in the sense that I didn’t like that it was written in the story, just that I strongly disliked some of the characters and would have chopped their heads off had I been present in the action. But throughout the book, it did make me think about religions in general. I think that Charlie Higson has, in an absolutely brilliant way, introduced the question of the beginning of a religion. Ok so someone who does believe in God might have a different opinion on this than mine, but the book really does raise the debate in a very unique and original way and makes you think about things.
there is also an interesting character having a very interesting vision on history and the power of the written words versus the entire world which just collapsed. A question has been nagging me: is it just a coincidence if he is named Chris Marker like the French director/photographer? If you have the answer, tell me!!

The Dead is a brilliant book and even though some might not like the gory parts, I really feel the series will soon become a horror classic in Young Adult literature. Between Dystopia and Horror, the story will appeal to many, so get started on the series! 
I definitely want to read more about all this and I can’t wait for the next book in the series to know what will happen!! 

Thanks so much to Puffin for sending me this fantastic book!!


  1. The odd thing about these books is they are branded as for teens. I read The Enemy in 3 days after my nephew showed me it (he's 12) and purchased The Dead on it's day of release.

    Loved both books (the Youtube style video was a bit poop though) and would recommend them to anyone. Heck, I'm 36 and was chatting to a guy at the book store who was over 30 about them :P

    Really well written, great cross over at the end of The Enemy and as you say, both books work well as standalones.

    One word of warning though, be careful with the word Zombie. Zombie nerds get very upset when Zombie is used to describe anything but the living dead. I once got a right going over at a zombie film convention when I mentioned zombies while describing resident evil 5.

    Oh and yes reader, I'm married, have a small child, live a normal life and have a good job. I just love zombies, apocalypses and the end of the world.

    Big love to you all


    Reading "World War Z" at the moment.

  2. I loved 'The Enemy', so I can't wait to read this one!

  3. Hello fellow blogger! new follower to your page here. Just wanted to drop some *love* and say that you have a wonderful blog here! I'm new to blogging and would love if you could return the favor and follow my page! Happy Blogging!

  4. Hello!
    Very detailed review there. The book reminds me of Stephen King's The Stand..sort of good vs. evil at the end of the world.

    - Dee, hopping from e-Volving Books

  5. Definitely another book that I will not be reading. All that zombieness is just wrong. *shudders*