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The Enemy
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on 21 September 2012
I got this after reading through the all of the fantastic Zombie Fallout books by Mark Tufo and wanted something to fill the gap until book 6 of his series came out. I wasn't sure if it would be satisfying enough because of the fact it is aimed at younger readers as well as us `old kids' and therefore may be a bit tame in its content. By the time I had got past the first twenty or so pages I was hooked though.

There is no steady introduction to the characters before getting into the action. It just throws you in at the deep end and does an excellent job of letting you know what each person is like through their actions and attitudes. These kids are a great mix of personalities and how they behave is different to how adults behave in other zombie / disaster stories. It is entirely believable that they would act as they do if faced with a catastrophe on the scale of the one they are going through.

The plot runs along at a great pace. It never slows down to a speed where it becomes dull and yet manages to have brief rests where the some of characters personalities are allowed to come out more. These characters are treated as real people though, not super heroes, and real people die. So a character that may seem like they are going to be there for the long haul could quite easily be dead within a few pages, whilst another that you think is a goner can unexpectedly reappear. They are also faced with believable problems such as whether they will be better off where they are or moving elsewhere to a supposed "promised land".

My concern about it being too tame wasn't necessary either. The blood, guts, puss and general gore is there for those that want it. One bit almost had me putting the book down until I had finished my left over curry that I was having for lunch at work. It was particularly sickening whilst trying to eat. The `zombies' sometimes behave slightly differently to your usual brainless eating machines too. Only slightly, but it does make a slight difference to how they need to be fought. In a post catastrophe world though, zombies are not the only enemy to look out for.

I'm now on with The Dead (The Enemy), book 2 in this series and I'm just as hooked after the first few pages. Excellent stuff!
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If you thought that The Enemy was very gory and frightening then this will terrify the hell out of you.
Initially i thought this continued from the first in series, but it is actually a different set of kids from a different area, trying to escape to London, but a year before the events of The Enemy.
Don't get me wrong, the books are intertwined and things overlap slightly with some characters from the first novel appearing in this one, but in different ways.

In summary, The Dead is about a group of children who are at a boarding school in Kent at the time the infection starts and it begins with a flashback to the very start of the infection, with a youtube video, which to me served as a stark reminder of the modern time it't set in.
Shortly after the outbreak, the boys at the school realise that there only chance is to leave their school and look for safety. Eventually, they decide on London and then the most terrifying, gory and emotional story i've read in a long time, begins.

If this one thing that makes these books so enthralling, it's the characters as well as the plot and Mr Higson is once again, not scared to kill off main characters. This in itself adds to the emotional impact when bad things happen. I found myself getting attached to characters only for them to die, and this really made me feel like my heart had been twisted and on one particular occasion i found myself in floods of tears.

The actual events roll along nicely and i loved how simply growm-up these children were in the face of disaster. Ultimately this book does score one for the kids of the world, showing them in a capable and responsible light, as they manage to get by without adults.
Having said that, there is a bit more intrection with adults in this novel and you get to find out a lot more about the infection and what causes some to get it, some not to and why different people react differently to the disease.
The idea are very plausible and the setting is so modern that the possible realism of it scares me to a certain extent.

My favourite characters were Ed and Jack, i loved there complex friendship and how much they both change over the course of the novel. The way they dealt with things was very grown up and extraordinarily mature, probably even more mature than the adults if there were any sane ones left.
I thought the story came together nicely at the end and it linked perfectly with the first book, this is most definately a must have for fans of the first book and of survival horror!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 July 2013
I loved the first book in this series, and was rather worried I wouldn't love the second one in the same way, especially as I had become rather attached to the characters in the first book, and this book is set about a year before the Enemy, and concerns a different group of children.

It was, however, still utterly brilliant.

The format is the same, a group of children struggle to come to terms with what is effectively a zombie apocalypse, and try to make their way to London to find somewhere they can defend against the enemy, and survive. The quality of the writing completely refreshes what could be a rerun of a previous plot and makes it feel like something new and exciting. You come to care for the characters in the same way, and it was brilliant, as the narrative pushed the story to the point where it hooks up with the prequel, to recognise situations and characters from the previous book and see how everything links up.

I am really excited about reading the third volume now.
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VINE VOICEon 27 September 2010
Charlie Higson has crafted another skilful episode in his series about the world being overcome by a virus that kills or infects everyone over fourteen years old. This time it is a prequel that starts in a boarding school in Kent and follows a group of schoolboys fleeing to London for safety. This is a very well written book with characters and events tying in superbly with those in 'The Enemy'. Anyone who lives in Lambeth will recognise the settings and the big showdown battle between kids and infected adults actually takes place outside my place of work so it had real relevance to me. It was very nice to see an author who has actually taken the time to visit his locations and decribe them accurately. Sometimes the descriptions of the physical state of the infected and the kids' contact with them make for unpleasant reading and the violence is relentless but don't let that put you off. Higson has written another scary vision of an apocalyptic future populated by believable child characters and peppered with enough pop culture references to make it relevant to younger readers. Although a lot of his characters die he is very well practised at giving them just enough personality to be real but not enough for you to become attached to them and be upset when they inevitably die. It was good to see a backstory for the villain of the piece from 'The Enemy' who as regular readers will know is set to return in the next book. This may be young adult fiction but this old adult read it in a night, well done Charlie.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 30 July 2013
This is the third volume in Charlie Higson's The Enemy series, about a world in which people over the age of fourteen have been turned into some kind of flesh eating zombie creatures who roam the streets looking for uninfected children to prey on. The story tells of a group of children who leave the safety of The Tower of London, where they have been living for a year, and set off across London to try to find some of their friends and family, who may or may not have survived and settled in other strong holds. The time lines of the various novels intertwine, so rather than moving the story forward, each volume makes the story richer and more complex, and as the children's narratives entwine you learn more about individual characters and what they've been through. I love this series. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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on 18 February 2010
For Christmas I treated my to The Enemy by Charlie Higson. It tells the story of a world were all adults have become sick and turned in to stupid crazed children-eating monsters. The disease effecting the adults doesn't effect children under fourteen. You are quickly absorbed in to this world and meet two groups of children living on the outskirts of London. The first group lives in Waitrose and the second in Morrisons.

You soon discover that when the children go in to the streets scavenging for food that it is unsafe, filled with diseased and disgusting adults looking hungrily at them. There is real fear of danger amongst the children as they are being picked off one by one, weakest first.

As the many children characters are introduced each with their own attributes, skills and personalities you begin to care for them. One night outside of the Waitrose a lone child is being attacked by the adults. The Waitrose group rescue him and he tells them and the Morrison group of a place of safety: Buckingham Palace. The adults start off slow moving, unorganised and stupid meaning the children who are more intelligent and faster moving have the advantage. Although don't let this fool you as if -or should I say when they get hold of the children they are much stronger and brutal. Some characters discover this for themselves as they meet a bloody end. As you continue to read the story you see the adults starting to get more organised and efficient and one seems to stand out. Is it possible these monsters have a leader?

You join the children as they head out with their destination set for Buckingham Palace. But will they make it? And will it really be safe? And if it is safe ' will it what the children expect? The book becomes a page-turner that you are unable to put down as you follow the many twists, turns and surprises. At one point, I simply couldn't put it down. I finished the 407 page book in two days.

As you finally reach the end you are left with questions as you discover that this book is the first in a series of books.
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on 6 March 2013
I'm not exactly the target audience for this - a few decades too old - but like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games, this is teen fiction that appeals just as much to adults as well. The comparison to The Hunger Games is a good one - there is a lot of violence here, but nothing that seems too over the top. Higson has created a brutal version of London, using real-life tube stations, buildings and locations, in which live kids are the only survivors of an apocalyptic disease and must battle against the grown-ups, teaming together and occasionally running up against other tribes and factions with shades of Lord of the Flies. Higson isn't afraid to shock - major characters are killed off and others move in to take their place. Looking forward to seeing how the post-apocalyptic world develops!
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on 23 December 2014
I absolutely loved this book, as I have loved the whole series that I've read so far. What is especially different about this book is that anyone can die, and die horribly. No one is safe. Not even the main characters, who narrate half the book, then suddenly cop it at unexpected moments, which isn't something that happens in a lot of books, especially to narrators, who are,essentially, written to be likeable.
I was very surprised that I actually LIKED this element of the story, which I've only ever found before in the Goosebumps series, which was a part that was brilliant reading, but made me quite sad. This book kept me on my toes, and I sometimes had to stop reading for a few minutes to process what I'd just read, and then psyche myself up to read the next part! I especially liked the parts where it showed the narrative of the sickos, as it gave an insight into the disease. Fully recommend this book ( and, if you enjoyed it, the Goosebumps series!!)
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on 4 April 2013
I started reading the first book The Enemy and downloaded all the others straight away. This is a brilliant series of books and I couldn't put them down, just kept on reading all the way though to the last book. I didn't realise this was supposed to be for teens, I'm in my 30's (early half) and thoroughly enjoyed The Enemy series. They are very easy to read, they are fairly gruesome and sometimes terrifying. All told from the childrens point of view, I love that they react like kids and think like kids who are trying to be grown up.
However, I will warn you . Higson has a habit of drawing you in and getting attached to the characters and it isn't always a happy ending.
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on 24 February 2011
My son couldn't wait for this book to come out - and read it from cover to cover in no time (not bad for someone who rarely picks up a book!)

Lots of (quite descriptive!) blood and gore - if anything slightly more than the first book (The Enemy)so may not be suitable for all. Written from a child's point of view it describes a groups' fight for survival in a world where all adults (anyone over the age of 14) have been affected by a disease turning them into flesh eating zombies! There is some overlap with the first book and you get a sense quite early on of where this book is leading.

There is a shortage of books for teen boys (especially if they don't like science fiction) and this seems to fill a gap in the market! All in all, highly recommended and we can't wait for the third book!
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