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4.7 out of 5 stars
Fear, The (An Enemy Novel)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It's been a year since the sickness infected everyone over the age of 16 and turned them into flesh-eating monsters. DogNut and his crew have holed up in the Tower of London where they've been able to carve out a life for themselves, raiding for supplies by day and hiding in their fortress at night when the sickos are most active. But DogNut is getting restless. Not only is he tired of being cooped up in the Tower, he yearns for a position with more leadership and power. Organizing an expedition into the heart of London to see if other kids might have survived the epidemic --- and hoping to find the beautiful Brooke he last saw crossing the Lambeth Bridge during the fire a year ago --- DogNut leads a group of eight kids up the Thames and into the unknown.

THE FEAR is the third installment in Charlie Higson's series The Enemy, set in post-apocalyptic London where children fight for survival. While the primary enemy in these books has always been the shambling, zombie-like adults who feed on the flesh of children, Higson's latest makes it clear that there is a new problem that faces the children who have survived: other children. As DogNut and his group search for their friends among the various settlements in museums and government buildings --- and the hunters and squatters living in the streets --- their pressing problem besides the sickos is children who have become desperate or power hungry enough to attack other children. Whether it's the despotic David King who has set up a totalitarian state in Buckingham Palace, or crew mates left behind in moments of unexpected horror, THE FEAR is about the bonds of personal loyalty that are stretched to a breaking point in a world dominated by violence.

Frequently compared to LORD OF THE FLIES, this series offers an intriguing look at the different strategies for survival in a world without adults. In an interview with Teenreads.com in 2010, Higson resisted the comparison, instead saying he preferred to think of it as an epic adventure on the scale of The Lord of the Rings, which "starts small and domestic and keeps expanding and deepening until it's about saving the world itself." Expanding on the comparison, he said he felt his series was more optimistic than LORD OF THE FLIES, which depicts children descending into savages when removed from civilization: "In any society there is good and bad, but at least my kids do try and create a society. I wanted to portray a positive image of kids, who are often given a bad press these days, and show how, left to themselves, they're not as useless and anti-social as they're sometimes painted."

Though THE FEAR features some very upsetting betrayals between major characters --- kids who get left behind in moments of panic, and one deliberate act of treason that threatens the civilization these survivors have carefully built --- the themes of loyalty and friendship still come through. That DogNut and his crew would even attempt to find friends and family from which they have become separated in such a chaotic and dangerous world is itself an act of heroism. Higson's comparison to The Lord of the Rings --- or the epic medieval sagas on which it is based --- seems apt three books into the series, which is just as riveting as it was at its beginning and shows no signs of ending or becoming less interesting. The threads that connect each of these books --- which can be read in any order --- are just beginning to tighten, and there are enough unanswered questions that readers will be left hungry for more.

Though I recommend the series for its page-turning action and gore, my favorite aspect is the different strategies kids employ for survival and civilization. When DogNut and his crew finally reunite with their friends, some of them are found living in the Natural History Museum, where the nerdy "brain-trust" kids from book two have created a stronghold based on science. Using the museum labs, not only are they studying the disease that has afflicted all adult members of the population, they are also trying to rebuild the knowledge base that was lost when the disease hit.

Among them is Chris, a voracious reader in THE DEAD who has become the Natural History Museum's librarian and scribe. Collecting the stories of each of the survivors he meets has become his life's work. When DogNut resists Chris' request to record his story, saying it wouldn't be interesting, Chris responds: "I'm interested... And others will be too. We're the new generation. We're the survivors. We're making a whole new world here. In the future, kids are going to want to know what happened. How it was. I think your journey, crossing London, could be really important, because you've taken the first steps to uniting the kids all around London.... We're all in a book --- this book. We're all in the story. Tonight we're writing down your part in it, DogNut."

I suspect this statement more than any other in the book reflects Higson's commitment to creating a series that is as morally serious as it is riveting to read. It also holds the key to what I suspect readers will find in future books. It will be something more than "More zombies! More blood! More flesh-eating!" that Higson has promised for each of his sequels, but a quest in which the most unlikely heroes --- children --- can and will save a world savaged and brutalized by adults.

Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Oh my goodness this had me on the edge of my seat. I've read all the books in this series and you really need to read the first and second to appreciate this most. There are a lot of characters and many of them die but the author does a good job of keeping you connected to the story by giving you enough time to get to know and love the characters before something interesting happens to them. If you have a teenager that likes zombies, then they will love. This book takes place BETWEEN book 1 and book2, but if you read it after book 1 then it would give away the ending of book 2. So it just reveals a lot from book 2.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
If you read the other books, this one will definitely blow you away. Its so cunning and everything starts to come together.Its even gorier and the fighting is just epic. You will love this book so i say READ IT.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
Charlie Higson's The Fear follows DogNut, last seen in The Dead, and his Tower of London crew as they set off towards Buckingham Palace in an attempt to find their missing friends. Unfortunately for them, the Collector is roaming the streets and, even in a world where all of the surviving adults have become rotting living bodies with a taste for human flesh, he is one bad dude. There are also the regular sickos to contend with, to say nothing of the other crews of survivors, some of whom have their own plans for the new [regular] adult-free London. As if things weren't bad enough already, DogNut is soon going to have to make a choice that will affect every kid in the city and leave them questioning exactly who the enemy really is.

The Fear is a prequel of sorts to The Enemy since, although it doesn't directly present a back-story, it describes what the other groups of kids were up to while Arran's crew were leaving the relative safety of their supermarket and trekking across London in search of other survivors. Towards the end of the book, the various threads of plot begin to tie together with the events of The Enemy so that a fuller picture of life and intrigue in zombie-riddled London begins to emerge.

In keeping with the other books in the series, The Fear is an unrelentingly terrifying and gory take on the zombie genre. It doesn't matter that the central characters are children, absolutely no one in The Fear is safe from the undead menace and so it's wise not to get too attached to the young heroes. Even for a horror story, The Fear can prove surprisingly gruesome. While the common-or-garden variety cannibalistic adults can be pretty stomach-churning, the scenes involving the Collector are particularly chilling and, indeed, rather disgusting. It doesn't seem that life in London is going to be getting any easier for the kids in the near future either, as even the more average zombie seems to be becoming smarter and so more calculatingly brutal.

The Fear is a brilliantly creepy read. It's pretty terrifying to think what horror might be lurking round the next corner of London for these kids to face. Luckily, the wait to find out more about the on-going battle with the zombies shouldn't be too long. Apparently, the next book in the series will be The Sacrifice and it will be out sometime in 2012. The Sacrifice will focus on Maxi and her crew as they venture out from Buckingham Palace.
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Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The kids of London have survived a lot since the sickness changed all the mothers and fathers into sickos, but they have no idea about the other horrors waiting for them outside their strongholds. In Charlie Higson's third book in the Enemy series, The Fear, the kids are about to learn just how ugly things can get.

DogNut is determined to find Brooke. He isn't the only one who has lost friends or family in the fray of battle. A number of other kids are willing to leave the safety of the Tower to hike across the city and find those they lost. But traveling in London isn't as easy as it used to be. In addition to the dumb, mindless, shambling sickos, there are new kinds who have grown stronger thanks to all the kids they ate, who are growing accustomed to the sun, and who are smarter than anyone could have anticipated. DogNut and the others manage to make their way up the river, but when they get to Buckingham Palace, they find that not all groups of surviving kids are welcoming visitors out of the kindness of their hearts. Some have bigger aspirations.

For David, the ruler of the Palace, ruling all of London is all he can think about. With plenty of other kids to do his dirty work, he has plenty of time to plot against those who spurned him and those who refused to join his group. The girl DogNut is searching for, Brooke, was the one who started it all by taking the truck full of supplies she promised him for his protection and driving off to the Natural History museum to start her own group. While David doesn't want DogNut and the others to know about the group at the museum, DogNut didn't make it this far by being stupid. In fact, he was built for this world, not for holing up in some fortress pretending the world wasn't being devoured by sickos. Unwilling to remain a virtual prisoner, DogNut and his group manages to escape the Palace and David, but what they find outside might be worse than what was hidden inside.

Higson really has a great series going here. My only qualm about it all is that the stories aren't released in chronological order. They jump all around and each book seems to start earlier than the last, but end up later. It can be really confusing, especially when you are reading about something you know already happened, but can't quite fit the puzzle piece into the whole equation. I struggled with this a bit, but I have just allowed myself to sink into each book and enjoy it. It's a shame about the order of the books, because otherwise, this is a near perfect series. It has excitement, twists, action, and some terribly tough, butt-kicking kids!

Even though the sickos aren't true zombies, they still love to eat little kiddies. In fact, they are learning to think and plot and hunt, which, in my opinion, makes then all the more scary. Obviously, this makes the book pretty violent at times, but all the different kids' stories come together to make a true masterpiece. While DogNut was the focus, Courtney, Brooke, Shadowman, Jester, etc. are all fabulous characters, for better or for worse, and you want to hear more and more about them. As a chapter jumps to a new character, you find yourself wanting more from the one you just finished and still dying to dive into the next story. If you can get a student into this series, you will watch them plow through every book, they are really just that good!
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on November 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Charlie Higson's third book in The Enemy series, The Fear, follows several stories.

DogNut departs The Tower, where he's spent the past year living with Ed and Jordan Hordern's group, to lead an expedition to find their friends who got separated after the battle at Lambeth Bridge.

Across town in Buckingham Palace, David King is trying to expand his kingdom to rule all the kids in London. Whatever it takes.

DogNut's lost friends are living in a grand museum near the palace. They've set up their own community led by a more mature Brooke and "the nerds." They've got generators, a full laboratory and even a lorry with live "grown-up" specimens to study. They want answers.

David's right-hand-man, Jester, is sent on a mission to round up other kids and convince them to join David's empire. He may be doing David's dirty work, but Jester only serves himself.

And the grown-ups are evolving. They're becoming stronger. They're able to spend more time out in the sunlight. They're using weapons. They're organizing.

The Fear was more like a cross between The Enemy and The Dead. It had more random kids vs. zombies skirmishes, but there was also a great deal of focus on the David's shady plot for world domination and the academic pursuits at the museum. I still preferred the "nerd" side of the story, but there were a few decent fight scenes, too. And everything REALLY tied together. All very impressive.

I'm not going to go through the each of the "likes" and "dislikes," because most are things I've already commented on in the past two reviews.

One thing in The Fear that stood out from all the other books, however, was the expanding perspectives from the grown-ups. We've briefed into the mind of St. George, but this book brought in two new adults: a sunglasses-wearing mother and "queen" of one zombie pack and, my favorite, The Collector.

The mother's role was interesting because it illustrated how the zombies were evolving. They're most commonly looked at through the kid's perspective as drooling, dumb monsters (even though they appear to be getting stronger), but we learn more about their needs and thoughts through the mother. She was smarter than you'd expect even if that intelligence was mostly instinctual or out of survival. And she had memories. Disjointed memories, but memories nonetheless. I found it sad and almost funny when she was staring at the sunglasses through the window and remembered something about being powerful. Being a leader. She looked at the glasses and began repeating, "You're Fired!" Perhaps she was a big CEO before the plague? Or maybe an avid watcher of The Apprentice?

My favorite character of the entire book was The Collector. I'm rarely a fan of the "bad guy" - especially a gigantic sloth-like bag of flesh that derives pleasure out of hoarding junk and playing with his toys. And by "playing" I mean "torturing and grotesquely mutilating" and by "toys" I mean "children."

But it was The Collector's childlike mentality that really sent shivers up and down my spine. He was so fascinating and utterly revolting.

He needed his sleep, needed his rest. Couldn't his toys see that? Why did they have to be so mean to him? It wasn't fair. If he was always having to wake up and put his toys back in their box. It was annoying

He shouted at the toy.

"'Noying!"

Although The Collector won't make an appearance in the fourth book of The Enemy series, The Sacrifice (due out Sept. 20), I'm hoping we'll see more effed up grown-up characters.
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on August 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
No questions asked the most brain busting zombie novel ever to be released to the public, (obviously not including robert kirkman's The Walking Dead series. But that's on a whole another level of awesome). I don't know about everybody else that read this book, but I was flabbergasted when the ending came around. The way Charlie Higson flowed everything so seamlessly to intersect with what happened in the first two had me shouting out like I got punched in the stomach, but filled with so much more glee. He doesn't hold back from giving everything that you'll expect in a zombie apocalypse: kinda like how to guide for when it finally happens.
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on August 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Fear is the third book in author Charlie Higson's Enemy series. The book, as sequels should, matches and surpasses the quality of the first two books. One thing that I love about this book, and overall this series, is the reality it features. The author is not afraid to kill main and secondary characters.

Speaking of characters, the teenagers in this book are well thought and fleshed out, and the author tells their stories with poise. However, don't pick favorites, as the authors doesn't and neither do the adults.

I recommend reading this book. It's one of the best zombie books I have ever read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
It is written well and exciting but at the same time lacking the qualities of a good sequel. It is showing the characters lives that were glossed over in the first book but that is all it's doing. It would have been a good sequel for the dead but the enemy, it has no link to it whatsoever. It is sort of building a story of the whole parents idea with the so-called Saint George and his army. The whole collector idea was fun to read and a good idea but is was also so useless. I think that Charlie Higson is trying to bring different characters to the story but I just want a little move on same in all the books in the series, a camp set up by a few kids it is going well and then some leader dies. It is an overly used destopian/ sci-fi idea about either adults being messed up or disappearing or in some poor books a child only planet where the adults mysteriously disappeared and funnily enough I was reading the Gone series where the parents disappear a bit like this book and there 5th book is called fear but Charlie Higson is not copying him because he released this book before fear.
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on May 13, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
While the infected are not really dead, the living as usual pose bigger obstacles to survival. Higson has painted a growing cast of characters in his post apocalyptic London. Some are heros, some are villains, but all are children. Children that have had to grow up and take on responsibilities well beyond their years. While some are up for the task others are not, and it makes for a fantastic read.
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