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Suddenly Sexy (Sexy Trilogy) by Linda Francis Lee - 2.99
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Title: The Dead
Author: Charlie Higson
Series: The Enemy #2
May Contain Spoilers
I have had The Dead on my TBR for over a year. I actually started it, found it a bit too intense at the time, and set it aside for another day. October always puts me in the mood for scary stuff, so I pulled the book out again and wondered why I ever put it down in the first place. This is a fast-paced, harrowing vision of the future, with likeable kids left to fend off the crazed adults who are trying to eat them. Yeah, that’s pretty scary and nightmarish, but Charlie Higson’s The Enemy series is so compelling that you want to see what happens next. The only thing I am still iffy on is how the “sickos” got sick in the first place, but that is often a complaint with post-apocalyptic stories; there usually isn’t a concrete reason for why things are now the way they are, and I need all of those background details to be fully invested in a story. We get some background that was lacking from the first book, The Enemy, but there is still so much to know about what exactly went wrong.
Like The Enemy, The Dead follows a small group of kids as they struggle to survive in the terrible new world they wake up to. All adults have contracted some weird disease that makes them flesh eating, pus-filled monsters. They crave the tender flesh of kids, which makes it even more frightening. These awful, nightmarish creatures are consumed with the need to eat kids. Yuck! They are weakened by sunlight, but if a group of yummy kids wanders by, the zombies will venture out into the sunlight for a tasty snack. This book proves that it’s not easy being a kid! At any moment, some gross, oozy adult may swoop around a corner and eat you!
I liked the protagonists, which made it hard when several of them met with an early demise. I will give Higson credit for shocking me several times with the unexpected death of one of my favorite characters. Talk about heart-breaking! I have walked through the monster infested streets of London, gotten to know and like most of the cast, and then had my heart ripped out every time someone succumbed to death, either from sickness, grievous wounds, or becoming dinner for the zombies. Sob! This made reading a very tense experience, because I was so afraid that another favorite would meet his maker. At point one, after Ed crawls into a house in a desperate bid for safety, only to find it filled with zombies, I screamed and had to set the book aside for an hour or so. Gah! I felt as though I was working through an intense cardio workout as the end of the book approached. I couldn’t breathe! I felt all trembly! I wondered how the younger kids hadn’t all keeled over in fear! Even the teens were at a distinct disadvantage. The adults were bigger, stronger, and they only had one thought in their rotting brains – EAT THE KIDS!! GAHHH!!!
Some of the action and descriptions were a bit over the top, and only added to the gore-factor, without progressing the plot much. While traumatic and action-packed, Jack’s journey back home didn’t serve much purpose other than to gross the reader out. An arena filled with bloated, rotting corpses? Check. Three brave boys with a bit too much curiosity? Check. A gooey, ooey race through mountains of stinky, maggot infested bodies to escape a zombie horde? Yup, check, you got that, too. I felt that much of this particular adventure dragged at the pacing, and it didn’t keep me engaged in this story thread. I kept longing to get back to the other kids, get back to the day to day survival, and leave Jack’s selfish side adventure in the past.
The story roared back to life for me shortly after that, and I stayed engaged until the end. I don’t think that it’s necessary to read The Enemy before diving into The Dead, as the events take place prior to the first book. I’ve got The Fear, the third book in the series, on my wish list, and I am curious to see where the story goes next. Originally a planned trilogy, the series will now be seven volumes, according to a quote from the author. I wonder how long he can carry the momentum, and keep the plot fresh and exciting. I’m eager to find out!
Review copy provided by publisher
Cassandra Rose Clarke is the author of the fantastic Strange Chemistry release The Assassin’s Curse. I loved this book, so I am super geeked to have her in the virtual offices today! Please give her a warm welcome.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] A writer, reader, movie watcher, dinner cooker, and amateur artist.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Assassin’s Curse?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] The Assassin’s Curse is a YA adventure novel about a lady pirate and an assassin who are thrown together when the pirate accidentally activates a curse that had been placed on the assassin before they met. The story has tons of magic, swashbuckling, and adventurous peril — and a teeny hint of romance.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] I wanted to write a high fantasy story because I’d never written one before. Originally, The Assassin’s Curse was going to be a short story, and the character of Ananna was going to be a witch, someone more like Leila. However, as I was working on her character, I thought it would be interesting to make her a pirate — I’ve always liked pirates, and you really don’t see that many stories about them. Naji was always going to be an assassin, though, because assassins are just cool. Really, the novel grew out of an amalgamation of character types and tropes that I find interesting, or that I wanted to play with or subvert.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Naji?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] Mysterious, intelligent, moody
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Ananna had a theme song, what would it be?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] Probably “Warrior,” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Ananna feels like a Yeah Yeah Yeahs kind of girl in general, but I think “Warrior” really captures her personality — as well as her adventures in the book!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Naji’s biggest regret?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] Probably casting the spell that gave him his facial scar — Naji always struck me as the sort of person who would put a lot of stock in being conventionally attractive, and when that was taken away from him, he had some trouble adjusting. That being said, his biggest regret is liable to change over the course of the book and/or the sequel
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Ananna’s pockets?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] This is a hard question! I mean, there are the obvious answers, like a cell phone, a ballpoint pen, or a flash drive. Those things don’t currently exist in her world and won’t ever exist in her lifetime. But if we’re pulling from items that do currently exist in her world? It’s hard to say there’s anything that would never show up in Ananna’s pockets. She’s resourceful. She could find usefulness in pretty much anything.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] I pull a lot of influence from popular culture, and I love playing around with tropes. It’s so awesome how you can take these patterns that show up over and over again in books, movies, TV shows, video games, and whatever else, and when you put them together it creates something totally new. It’s a bit like piecing together a scrap quilt.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] Quiet: I can’t write with music playing in the background at all. My computer: I’ve never been fond of writing by hand — whenever I try it I wind up throwing out everything I came up with. Daylight: I hate writing at night — or doing any kind of work at night, really. Fortunately my day job gives me a fairly flexible schedule so this isn’t an issue.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] Probably Among Others, by Jo Walton. I devoured it in about two days and then couldn’t get it out of my head for a week or so after. What I loved most about it was the narrator’s voice — it just carried you along with the story. I’d care one or the other about the old school science fiction references, but I loved the 1970s boarding school setting bunches.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] I can’t honestly remember I time when I didn’t enjoy reading. The first book I remember being OMG obsessed with was Mary Downing Hahn’s Wait Till Helen Comes. I’d read plenty of books before it, of course, but that book was the one that made me realize just how powerful stories can be. Everything about it captured my attention: the isolated, rural setting, the fact that the family has moved into an old church, the strained relationship between the narrator and her sister, and of course Helen, who remains the creepiest ghost I’ve ever encountered. I reread the book a few years ago when I was home sick, and it still creeped me out!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] I love watching TV and going to the movies, and I love talking about TV and movies even more, so I’m often doing one or the other. I also love to cook, draw, and paint, and I do Zumba classes a couple of days a week, because Zumba is awesome.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Cassandra Rose Clarke] There are loads of ways to get in touch with me! My Twitter handle is @mitochondrial. You can also leave a comment on my blog (at www.cassandraroseclarke.com) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always try to reply when people contact me!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
You can purchase The Assassin’s Curse from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below. Digital edition is only $4.84!
About the book:
Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
I enjoyed Burn Mark by Laura Powell quite a bit. I liked both the world building and the young protagonists. I wonder what dangers they will face in Witch Fire?
In stores June 2013
What are you waiting on?