The Enemy by Charlie Higson YA Novel Review

 

Title: The Enemy

Author: Charlie Higson

Publisher: Hyperion

ISBN: 978-1423131755

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Goodreads:

They’ll chase you. They’ll rip you open. They’ll feed on you…When the sickness came, every parent, policeman, 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?

OMG! Words cannot express how much I enjoyed this book.  The entire time I was reading it, I was consumed with the need to know what happens to the characters.   The world of The Enemy came to life for me, and the cast seemed so real.  This is one suspenseful, exciting read, and I could not put it down.  It’s a title that I decided to sample, thanks to Amazon and my Kindle application for the iPad, and I immediately purchased the eBook once I hit the last page of the teaser.  For a book that I didn’t think I would like, I came away one happy camper.  Now I just have to wait for the next book in the series, and believe me, that is going to be one heck of a long wait!

The premise is so wonderfully simple – a virus has transformed anyone over the age of 14 into a mindless, shambling husk that lives for just one thing, and that’s to eat.  The kids under the age of 14 have a very rude awakening, and many of them are slaughtered and eaten by growups.  The clever kids, the ones willing to work together, form into bands and struggle to survive.  Our little group lives in a market, and things are getting a bit dire.  They have scavenged all of the food within the local vicinity, they have to wander farther afield for provisions, and they are getting picked off one by one by the horrors that were once their parents, their older siblings, their aunts and uncles.  This bleak world is fraught with tension and terror, and created an atmosphere that is totally enthralling.

There is a rather large cast of characters, but it steadily shrinks as the novel progresses.  Without spoiling anything, characters who you have grown quite fond of end up victims of the zombie horde, and you quickly start feeling a little stressed wondering who is going to be next.  I guess you can’t have a zombie apocalypse without having casualties, but each new death is hard to bear. 

I loved the tensions and the infighting among the various groups of kids.  You have some very strong personality clashes erupting as the more forceful children attempt to impose their will on everyone else.   The zombies aren’t the only enemies, and there is a a tinder box waiting to go up in flames as the various factions jockey to be in charge.  Each confrontation is harrowing, with the threat of another young life snuffed from existence. 

The Enemy is one of the best horror novels that I have read.  Period.  It was fun, fast, and furious, and each page had the potential to explode into a life and death situation.  Oh, Book 2, where are you??

Grade: A

Purchased from Amazon