on 24 October 2012
I have read every one of the books in this series, this last one took me two days, I think to market them just for teenagers would be unfair, although I think reading this in school would probably make more teenagers take up reading.
I would go as far to say there's not many adult books ive read recently that can stand next to these, and as much as I couldnt wait to see what happened to Small Sam, the Kid and Ed, I was gutted to finish the book, I have also got my husband hooked, and hes reading through the series as fast as I was.
I do love my zombies books (although these are technically not the undead), but I think these explore so much more, I love that there are characters who are moral and upstanding and who you want so much to be okay, and characters who are slightly off the wall, who again you want to pick up and remove from danger.
Although I want to know what happens to them all, ultimately, it will be a sad time when this series end. The new Harry Potter series for the cooler adults.
on 11 October 2012
The Sacrifice is the fourth book in the series following The Enemy, The Dead and The Fear. This time the story follows Sam and The Kid in their efforts to find Sam's sister. Sam and The Kid were picked up by a group of kids based at the Tower of London led by Ed at the end of The Dead. Ed continues to play a part in this story and he crosses paths with a few individuals from across the series this time around. The interlinking stories format continues to work extremely well.
Sam is a really likeable character, not as old as a lot of the previous central characters and so his behaviour and thought processes work differently. This comes across well and you can't help but like him for being a cute, almost comical kid, but also a strong, determined one. The Kid continues to act in his strange, humorous way with his unusual way of speaking. At first you just find him funny but as the story progresses and events unfold you start to see him as more of a real person, not as daft as he seems, and suffering just as everyone else is, and not just someone to add a little comedy value.
Shadowman also has his story expanded. I had really hoped that he would become a bigger character in the ongoing saga and I was not to be disappointed. He continues to battle on in his own unique way in an attempt to learn more about the changing behaviour of a group of sicko's that he named The Fear in the last book. This is the group lead by The Butcher / Greg / St George that appeared to be learning / adapting / communicating when previously they just appeared to be thoughtless, brain-dead things only bothered about feasting on the flesh of any surviving children that they could find.
This book also marks the return of a character that was steadily going crazier and crazier in the The Dead with his religious ranting. This is one that I particularly disliked, but in a good way. His part in the story is well written but he is the sort of person that I would absolutely detest in the real world. He is just so frustrating and this comes across extremely well. He easily fits into the category of stereotypical cult leader, convinced that he is right and yet constantly changing his stories / theories / interpretations to suit what he believes / wants, and to get others to follow him. What a cult! Do his religious ramblings about The Lamb and The Goat have any real relevance and if so is he heading in the right direction with his interpretation of it all?
There is also a new addition to the cast in the form of Wormwood. I won't say much about him because that might give away a bit too much. He is an important person in the story though even if he is a bit peculiar.
There are plenty of other characters that I could talk about but the ones I have mentioned are the key players around which the story is told. Yet again all of the people are really interesting and you feel differently about each one. You love some, hate others, laugh at a few, pity a couple and cheer on some. You feel happy and sad as things happen throughout the book. These individuals feel real. They are not just words in a book.
The story itself takes on a slightly different style to the previous books in that they were more action packed whereas this time the blood and gore takes a slight step down to be replaced by story that expands on the behaviour and needs of the children and changing methods of the sickos. It does still have its fair share of gruesome, splatfest scenes, but they don't play as large a role in the plot this time around. This was a good change of pace and a great way to keep the whole story interesting, eliminating any chance of it becoming repetitive.
Whilst not being perfect, this is certainly one of the most entertaining series of books that I have read. It keeps the reader interested by having numerous stories branching out and coming together in a way that never fails to impress me. At no point does the timeline fall apart due to the numerous plots linking in impossible ways. In short, this series goes from strength to strength and I can't wait for book five to come out.
on 29 September 2012
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?
on 25 September 2012
This book carries on the story of Small Sam and the Kid, who are on a quest for Sam's sister, Ella.
It also follows Ed and Shadowman.
I felt as though the Shadowman character really developed with his storyline, as this book depicts his studying of "The Fear" (Army of Sickos), and how he goes for long periods of time without speaking to other children. He notices how the Sickos are becoming more and more organised, with the zombies ambushing their prey and giving the lions share to St George (Their leader)
For those of you who read the Dead I am pleased to say that Mad Matt makes an appearance in this book, but I will say no more (spoilers!!!)
My only disappointment in this book was that I read this book on the day I got it, and now I have to wait another year to read the next one.
A must buy!!!
P.S. There is still plenty of gore, don't you worry.
A seven year old who can read any book he wants. Some people may feel these books are too frightening for children - but it all depends on the child. My child finds it silly to be frightened by things that are not real - but Charlie Higson's books made him want to read so badly he jumped from reading picture books to YA books. The character development is second to none, Higson really brings each one to life. Ina sense this is also his downfall - the charcters are too real and even as an adult - you don't like to see one die. None of the books in this series has any lulls between action, from the first page you can't wait to get to the next. These are books you just can't bear to put down. I remember reading the first books long into the night to my son - only to find him awake at 3 am reading more on his own. These books are so good I feel they could work wonders for literacy and should be in every library.
However - my son never forgave the author for killing off a certain character in a previous book and he wasn't sure if he wanted to get this one. I couldn't stand the idea of not reading the rest of the story and bought this for myself the day it came out. It was so good I read it in one sitting. I do not like zombie books - but this is not the typical undead book relying on slash and bash to cover a weak story. This does have violence, but there is so much more to it as children attempt to rebuild society while dealing with hordes of flesh eating diseased ( not undead) adults. It has often been compared to Lord Of the Flies. There are similarities. In all honesty Higson's books are better and that is high praise. I am an adult - but I love these books and feel Higson is one of the best writers of this era. I would however, recommend you read the other books in this series rather than staring with this one. It is a continuing story and this does build on many events from "The Dead".
For those who have read the previous books - this one sees the return of Mad Matt - and some very interesting twists and turns - could his prophecies really have any truth in them? There are a few threads parallel to each other in this volume. Shadowman continues to monitor Gregg the Butcher's Army as it comes closer and loser to an inevitable catastrophic battle between good and evil - but we're going to have wait for book 5 for the final showdown. We're also going to have to wait for book 5 to see the events of book 4 with museum kids resolved.In the meantime - diseased adults are not their only enemy. Small Sam and the Kid will also feature heavily and we will come to see something very unique about this strange small character. Finally we will see more of Ed, by favourite character in the series. Ed started off a very ordinary child, frozen by fear in the first episode. He has grown into a true leader. The children or survivors as many of them are well on the way to adulthood, will also discover somehting about the orgins of the plague - but again we'll have to wait for book 5 to see what use they can make of this.
I have no problem recommending this book to adults - it is an excellent story. Carlie Higson is in fact my favourite author, and this my favourite series. Teenagers and preteens will likely love it even more. As to very young children, such as my own son - it all depends on the child's tastes. I would recommend that parents read this with the child - or read it on their own and talk about it with them - but I would not recommend censorship. Some children may find this to scary - others will love it. Different children like different types of books - if we limit what children can read - we will further limit the number of children who do read. Reading the books your children read yourself not only allows you to discuss any sensitive issues - I believe it does really encourage children to read as well. - it makes our family into our own miniature book club. As an added plus - you may find you enjoy this book as much as your child does. I do hope Mr Higson gets the book 5 out as quickly as possible. I can't wait to read it.
* This review also appears on dooyoo as a much longer and more detailed piece.
on 22 October 2012
Alright, I've got one word for this book: awesome. It was extreemly well written, and it's really awesome how everyone's story blends together perfectly. I really liked how not as many mained characters died in this one compared to the first. And I REALLY loved the beginning and how that blended well with the story. This book is great for science fiction lovers, and anyone who's a little strange. Definitely check this book out, especially if you liked the Maze Runner series.
on 8 November 2012
Since the release of The Enemy I have waited with eager anticipation for each new instalment. The Sacrifice does not disappoint, in fact it may be the most enjoyable book yet. I am not in the age bracket this book is aimed at (I am 47 with two young children), but I am utterly addicted. This is a teenage series that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. This latest instalment hints at an fundemental shift beyond the more simplistic fight for survival between the inexperienced but rapidly learning children and the unorganised but savage adults, and I cannot wait to see how things will develop. There is a lot of mileage in this saga yet Charlie, please don't think about ending it anytime soon.
Sam and the Kid's arrival at the Tower of London has reminded everyone of Matt's prophecy of The Lamb and The Goat and despite Ed's protection, Sam's uncomfortable with the attention and desperate to find his sister, Ella. With Ed reluctant to help them, they turn to Ruth, a fellow rescuee who volunteers to take them across the forbidden zone. But Ruth isn't all that she seems and Sam and the Kid meet some familiar faces and discover that there are worse things than the rampaging sickos ...
Meanwhile Shadowman's following St George who's been building an army of organised sickos - developing strategies for ambushes against the kids they run across as they close in on central London. Shadowman's warnings fall on deaf ears and all he can do is watch as St George grows into a much more powerful threat ...
The fourth in Charlie Higson's ENEMY SERIES finally returns to Sam's storyline and the various plotlines from the preceding books finally begin to come together. Personally I found the Kid's stylised dialogue a little much to take and the pacing sagged in places but I loved the way the sickos are developing and organising and the book does end with a great set-up for the next in the series.
Sam does a lot of growing up in this book and discovers things about the world that he wasn't previously ready for. I liked the snippets of information about the Kid's past and he's a real survivor - inventive and smart in a way that Sam needs. His dialogue did grate with me at times - it's very stylised and I'm not sure a kid of his age would use all of the cultural references that he touches on - but he is an original character who does add to the book.
I think Shadowman is also a great character, a practical realist who can't quite be hard-hearted enough when it matters. His obsession with St George and their cat and mouse game is fascinating.
The pacing sags at times and I thought there were too many random Sicko encounters, which got a bit samey. However Higson remains brutal in culling characters and he really develops the Sicko mythology to explain how they came about with the introduction of the Green Man. The ending is a great set-up for the next in the series, which I'm really looking forward to reading.
This is the fourth book in Charlie Higson's superb zombie series The Enemy. As with the other books, the novel follows the fortunes of a series of children as they battle across London trying to survive in a world turned upside down. Twelve months before the action in the books starts, the world has been invaded by a plague/virus that has either killed everyone over the age of fourteen, or turned them into cannibal zombies who prey on young children.
The books move the action on slightly every time, but their time lines intermingle so that instead of going forward with each book, the world the book creates gets richer, more complex, more interesting every time you read on. The characters flesh out, you begin to understand them more as the picture builds, and all the time you grow more attached to them, despite the fact that Higson has no compunction in killing them off just as you've grown to love or understand them. It's part of what makes the books so interesting though. You really do never know what's going to happen next.
This book is my favourite of the four currently available (a new one, The Fallen, is out in September 2013). I think that every time I read a new volume, but this one really is! Not just because it tells me more about the characters I've grown to care for, and enriches the story, but also because in this book we learn more about the Enemy. I cannot wait for number five.
on 22 December 2012
There is no disputing that this is a violent and shocking series from Charlie Higson, but, I just love it! Whether you like it or not, this is what teenage boys (and some girls!) like to read. Mr. Higson maintains the high standard of suspense, horror and tragedy while upholding the finer values of friendship, loyalty and camaraderie that he introduced at the beginning of the series. Each book in the series leaves you longing for the next, start with "the Enemy" and read them all. You won't be disappointed!