I've been waiting for this book for almost a year! It's the fourth in Charlie Higson's "The Enemy" series, and I got hold of it the day after it was published. The previous three books have been outstanding, and I had high hopes that this one would be great too.
The series is a post-apocalyptic tale of London following the outbreak of a disease which turns all adults into flesh-eating zombies. Disparate groups of children and teenagers struggle to survive in a very hostile environment. This fourth book moves the plot of the series on significantly, developing characters and revealing some dramatic changes in the nature of the world and the behaviour of the zombies. As with all the previous books in the series, it's action-packed and extremely gory, with plenty of body parts getting slashed, crushed and eaten - it's not for the faint-hearted.
The thing that really impresses me about the series overall is the complexity of the characters involved, and how their groups interact in a world without mobiles and the media. Not all the characters feature in every book, but they all get linked together somehow. The author is an incredible master of suspense as well - there's a cliffhanger ending to The Fear, the previous book in the series, but The Sacrifice doesn't deal with it! Towards the end of the book, you can see that it will probably feature prominently in the next one in the series, but that's a long time to keep the fans waiting...
I think this is easily just as good as the previous books, although perhaps in a different way - The Fear was notable for some fantastically well-described (and quite horrific) scenes, but this book is more plot-driven than the others, really moving things on from the initial chaos of the earlier books. I'm left really intrigued as to how it will turn out, once again.
The language used is fairly simple, as the book is aimed at a young audience, but the author doesn't shy away from complexities in plot and characterisation. There's a lot going on here, and there's so many little details to take in that really work well - it's going to be really interesting to see how it all unfolds. Dialogue is particularly good - Charlie Higson has a middle-class background, but he certainly writes youthful London slang pretty well, and populates the novels with a wide range of characters from different backgrounds.
Really, really good, as ever, and I can't wait once again for the next book in the series. And please, can someone make some films out of these?