The Dead (An Enemy Novel) Hardcover – June 14, 2011
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If you like the walking dead series I would recommend reading this series. The books and when they take place are a little confusing like book 2 takes place a year before the things that happen in book 1.Book 3 takes place 5 days before book 2. And so on. That's the only thing I don't like about the books.
When a YouTube video shows a boy terrified and filming a bunch of adults attacking and eating a kid in the streets, everyone thinks it is a joke. But a couple of weeks later, it becomes clear that was the first recorded outbreak of the virus that turns anyone 16 or older into zombies (sort of). They can still think in a way, and aren't technically dead, but they are creepy and want to eat little kids. A group of boys had been holed up in their prep school dorm, but when the adults threaten their stronghold, they know they must leave the school. Along the way, they pick up more kids, lose some kids, and eventually, just before a group of teen zombies wipes them out, they are saved by a man driving a bus. Greg and his son Liam have survived the plague so far, and Greg keeps driving, trying to find a safe place and saving kids on the way. What they don't know is the virus is slowing breaking Greg down until he becomes one of them.
Alex and Ed are the closest thing to leaders the motley crew of kids has, and they are reluctant to assume the roles. Ed can't bring himself to kill the adults, even when they are trying to rip his friends apart, and Alex just wants to go home. The boys finally arrive at the Imperial War Museum, but it is already being held by a group of boys who has no intention of giving up their stash. They agree to let the group stay, but only if they forage for their own food. In the meantime, a blazing fire is working its way up the south end of London, straight to the museum. The boys know they need to leave the only safe place they have found in weeks, but they are reluctant to do it, until they find the fire and a swarm of adults rushing towards them. Now it is a race against time, an inferno, and flesh eating zombies to get across the river. Can they make it?
This was an awesome prequel. Even though the first book did a good job with explanation, this book clears up some confusion, especially about the state of the virus and what it does to people. There are some chapters where the zombies are actually thinking/talking/planning, and you get to see how the virus affects them and creates the flesh eating monsters. It made the clear distinction clear between a traditional zombie and the virus that changed these people. While the story had the chance to be very bloody and gory, it really isn't. Of course their is violence, but it is tame compared to what it could have been.
Instead the focus of the book is primarily on character development. You see certain types of kids, like the dumb (but sweet and heroic) jock, the nerd, the brain they nickname Wiki, the natural leaders, and the power hungry bullies. The stereotypes are certainly there, but the characters don't really fit into these preordained molds. They tend to surprise you time and time again, giving real life to the kids in the book. This book, like the first, had a certain Lord of the Flies quality to it that is hard to miss. The language is very tame, but the content can be a little serious in terms of death and violence. I would say this book is good for most middle school through high school students. It might not be for the more delicate souls, but a feisty kid who needs a thrill-filled book would love this one! I think you can understand the story in either order, since this is a prequel, so don't be afraid to try this one even if you haven't read The Enemy. And remember... don't let the zombies bite!
The Dead is set in the immediate aftermath of the virus (a year before the events in The Enemy), and tells the story of a group of children who are at a boarding school when the virus breaks out. They realize that the school is not safe, and that they need to find a place which is not only safer but with food and water to support them. They have to decide where to go; some of the group want to seek refuge in the countryside, while others (lead by Matt, who believes that God is speaking to him through Revelations and telling him to go to London). Their decision is made for them when they are rescued by another group on a bus, and friends Jack and Ed are determined to lead them to the relative safety of London.
This is a different group of kids than in The Enemy, so those hoping for an update on characters from The Enemy will be disappointed. However the book is fascinating in its own right, and I would be happy to read a million stories about the children left to fend for themselves in this harsh world. It is bittersweet to see them form little family-units and try to help and protect each other, and especially sad that they often need to protect themselves from other kids.
Like The Enemy, The Dead doesn't pull any punches, with central characters dying, disappearing, or being wounded, which makes the story heart-breaking. But the strength and character of the kids as they rally around each other and fight to survive makes it worth the heart ache. Excellent, thought-provoking series which evokes "Lord of the Flies" along with "The Road". Highly recommended. I'm impatiently waiting for the third book in the series to be released in the US.
Top international reviews
The new characters are a great addition to the Enemy series and they are all some what relatable (even if I am 25 and they are teenagers) The Grown-Ups are more gruesome and more deadly compared the first book which is great to read, but also very scary. Charlie Higson's writing it great when it comes to describing the attacks, it full of gore.
The is a brilliant sequel to The Enemy and no one should be but off about it being about a new group of characters. Everyone who loved The Enemy or just loves great zombie books then The Enemy Series is the one to read.
I have seen others comparing these books to the Lord of the Flies. But the comparison is not accurate. The Lord of the Flies had a satisfactory ending. These novels offer no prospect of that. The nastiness is just going to go on for ever.
No, I do not like these books, but that doesn't mean they are bad. They are very well written. There are some very moving moments in them, The children are real characters with easily recognisable faults and virtues. And, above all, teenage boys, who generally never seem to read anything, clearly love them.
Higson is to be congratulated, but his older fans will probably join with me in praying he will have another go at writing less revolting adventures.
Just like in the first book, its action packed from the start and keeps up the pace throughout with the book. Some of the incidents would look brilliantly on film! But its the quiet bits where the traumatized children are trying to make sense of their new world that really hit home. Higson knows his zombie lore and like Robert Kirkman (author of The Walking Dead) he has the worrying trait of killing off his heroes, so giving the reader a real sense of dread when the zombies attack. You just don't know who is going to come out of the action in (literally) one piece!
I went straight into the third book and some of the lesser characters in The Dead become become the protagonist's in The Fear. Higson's really expanding the book's universe, the further the series goes the more entwined the disparate sets of survivors will become. Just like JK Rowling with the Harry Potter books, Higson knows where he's going with the books and I know they will go out with a bang not a whimper (fingers crossed anyway!)
Amazon, my only gripe is that I listened to the first book in the series on Audible (and it was fantastic!) but you haven't released the others in the series on Audible yet!
Mr Higson sticks with his system of not letting those who appear to be obvious heroes / villains / victims fall into those roles. You may find yourself liking one of the kids and then be left feeling sad that they are killed off. You could also really dislike another character, almost willing them to get their comeuppance only to be disappointed that it isn't happening. I found myself feeling nothing for some kids and feeling sad or elated as things happened to other kids. I won't say who it was but two characters stories brought lumps to my throat whilst another character had me grinning from ear to ear as they battled on through the story.
And battle on they do. The blood and gore still flows, (I know it's a text only book, but you can't help but picture these things in your mind), and I imagine could be quite stomach churning for those that don't like the sight of blood or hide behind a cushion when watching a scary film. In fact I would say it is more gruesome than book 1. It never seems as though it is there just for shock value though.
I have already downloaded book 3 ( The Fear (The Enemy) ) and will be starting it after posting this review. Fingers crossed that the excellent quality of books 1 and 2 continues on into book 3.
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!
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.
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!
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.
I read The Enemy and loved it, I couldn't wait for The Dead to be released.
The book was really well written, a little wierd at the start but I enjoyed it. I would recommend buying this book if you like a good horror with loads of suspense. Another good thing about this book is, I found it didn't link to the first book, The Enemy, until a small part at the end, so if you havent read the Enemy you don't really need to worry.
Overall I would say,this is a, "must buy" book if you are a person who enjoys a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
BUY THIS BOOK!
As a 39 year old reading his son's book Charlie Higson is a find. The Enemy. The Dead. Young James Bond. There all excellent reads.
The Dead should be on all childrens (and adults) must reads.