Title: The Enemy | Series: The Enemy Series #1 | Author: Charlie Higson | Publisher: Puffin | Pub. Date: 09/01/2009 | Pages: 407 | Genre: YA Zombie Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Possible intense gore, child death | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: School Library
Note: You might have seen the announcement on Twitter that GracieKat’s son was going to join us on the site. Today is the day! Toulouse is going to be joining us periodically to give us reviews of young adult books (from someone much closer to the intended age range than we are).
Charlie Higson’s The Enemy is the first in a jaw-dropping zombie horror series for teens. Everyone over the age of fourteen has succumbed to a deadly zombie virus and now the kids must keep themselves alive.
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?
The Enemy Review
The Enemy is a post-apocalyptic book centered around a group of kids that have survived in a supermarket for a year and then are forced to relocate to Buckingham Palace. The book starts off pretty brutal with the death of an important character and a small child being dragged away by a grown up. Throughout the first couple of chapters it is clearly shown that – A: Their way of life is limited and – B: They also become very mature with the older ones acting as parents and the younger ones as somewhat early teenagers. This seemed to enhance the qualities of the characters, and, as a teenager myself, a very noticeable part of the book that was spot on was the use of language and how they express themselves. As a teenager myself I didn’t have any trouble figuring out what they were talking about and how they came to some of the decisions.
Some pros I found were the atmosphere and how the scene is set. I was able to visualize the surroundings and feel what the characters were feeling without too much description. Hopping from one kid’s point of view to another as though I was looking over their shoulders helped me see each of their thoughts and personalities, keeping the story interesting with new thoughts and new ways of looking at different situations. Another interesting aspect that made it easier on me to get enthralled was the amount of zombies in the book. Unlike some zombie books where the plague is transmitted via bite or when you die this disease has infected all adults making the quantity of zombies more realistic. Overall it is a great depiction of children in this setting and how they would react.
However, no book is perfect and this has its cons as well. One large issue is what kills a Diseased. Throughout the book it is shown kids massacring zombies with clubs, spears and a variety of different weapons; however, even though they know how to kill them it is never shown to the audience exactly what kills them. When a normal zombie book describes and points out a weak spot, such as the brains, at least then we know what the protagonists are aiming for during a fight. If they just need to be cut up then that would be good for one of the fighters to bring up such as Achilles . But we aren’t given any real way to kill them.
Nevertheless the book and series (so far) has great action scenes that are described in detail. Although a gore fest it is mostly kept to the adults in the series so there isn’t too much for those that are squeamish about violent children deaths. Not only are the action and fight scenes described in detail but they are easy to imagine. Fatigue plays a massive role in fighting style and surviving. Throughout this story many characters have issues because of the fatigue, making the story seem more realistic and limits the characters to the human limits of children.
The character development is great. I am interested to see whether or not traits will stay the same. Throughout The Enemy characters grow from one note characters to having their own traits. They remind me of characters from the “Red vs Blue” universe in that regard. Interactions with each other are on point. I found myself taking interest in some of the characters. Ollie, for instance. Considered to be the quiet yet really smart one, he reminds me of myself at school. Other characters like Maxie and Whitney are more light-hearted. However there are some more devious characters such as what/who I call the “Sewer Rats” and David King who is a character that is very blatantly shown as a wannabe tyrant.
Over all it is a great read especially for mid-teens. The action and even some of the romance is sure to grab in anyone that is looking for a good read. Although, there are some things which will drive people crazy (like GracieKat) such as there is no real explanation for the disease. Other than that almost any teen who reads this will want to see this book all the way until the end.