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The Enemy (An Enemy Novel) Hardcover – May 11, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Enemy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up In this dystopian thriller set in London, everyone over 16 is dead or diseased, and youngsters are in constant danger of being eaten by boil-infested grown-ups who roam the streets like zombies looking for children to kill. Led by teens Arran and Maxie and armed with makeshift weapons, a group of kids sets out from the uncertain safety of an abandoned supermarket to travel to Buckingham Palace, where a young messenger promises that food, medicine, and a haven are available. Along the way, Arran is killed. One youngster selfishly decides to stay behind with a secret stash of food and is there to tell Small Sam, who had been abducted and feared dead, where the others (including his sister) have headed. Sam's quest to find Ella parallels the story of the large group with similar run-ins with marauding adults and mistrustful children who scavenge about the city. The bleak setting is filled with decay, danger, and puss-oozing parents who have turned into butchers. On arriving at Buckingham Palace, Maxie decides that David, the teen leader there, is too tyrannical, and she must regain control of her brood and convince them to leave for a new location. The last chapter squelches any real hope for the future and will leave readers somewhat haunted and chilled about the doomsday scenario. Descriptive and suspenseful, this title is similar to but less imaginative than Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking series (Candlewick). Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
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From Booklist

The imagined zombie apocalypse has been the inspiration behind dozens of movies, books, and comics over the past decade, and though Higson adds few innovations, his gusto is something to behold. Eighteen months have passed since everyone over 16 succumbed to a virus that turned them into rotting, ravenous monsters, and there are enclaves of kids all over London eking out survival. Barricaded inside of a store, about 50 refugees have constructed their own society—which is shaken when a boy arrives spinning tales of a wonderful settlement housed within Buckingham Palace. The action from that point alternates between the group's harrowing journey across the city and the grueling plight of Sam, a nine-year-old whose separation from the pack leads to an encounter with cannibals. Some of the characters feel like placeholders, but the action is of the first order—Higson writes with a firestorm velocity that inspires to the sweeping reach of Stephen King's The Stand (1978). A muscular start to what looks to be a series. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus
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Product Details

  • Series: An Enemy Novel
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; First U.S. Edition edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423131754
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423131755
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Everyone over the age of 16 has been infected with a disease giving them zombie-like characteristics. The novel takes place approximately a year after the illness first begins to infect adults. A motley crew of pre-teen/early teen girls and boys are fighting for survival in an abandoned grocery store in London that they have converted into a fortress. When a stranger arrives, they must choose to remain in the relative safety of their "home" or strike out on a journey across London toward the unknown in Buckingham Palace, which has become a refuge for another group of young people.

There is also another, for me anyway, even more intriguing subplot of a nine-year-old boy who has been kidnapped by the "grown-ups" and must escape. He goes on a harrowing journey through the subway system and finds a "healthy" adult couple with sick intents. (This subplot is reminiscent of The Dark and Hollow Places, the third installment of Carrie Ryan's Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy. An absolute must-read in the zombie genre.)

There is a very understated, yet convincing, romance element. Most characters are well-developed, and the interaction between them is believable. The time frame of the novel is very condensed, happening over a few short weeks, which makes it a very harrowing and exciting read. I truly couldn't put it down!

I'm a high school English teacher. I recommend the title fully to fans of young adult horror and adult readers as well.
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Format: Hardcover
The Enemy is a good read. The pacing and plot are superb. This novel zips along at the speed of light! What stands out for me about this book is not only it's non stop action, but the fact that the author was able to work in some great character development along the way. This is a truly unique cast that we are treated to in this somewhat common story of a disease that kills off or infects the entire adult population of London. I've read quite a few books in this "end of the world" genre and while there's not much new with the storyline, these characters add a freshness to the tale that brings this one up to a new level. I really fell in love with some of these kids!

My only complaint with this one is that the dialogue is somewhat stilted in spots. The pacing of the story is so intense, the dialogue blips sometimes served as a roadblock to a very fast car chase. The author is expert at writing all the action, and I see this one having big appeal to high schoolers and adults. Be forewarned: there is a lot of violence in this story, and a lot of kids die. There are gruesome killings, hints at cannabalism, and disease crazed monkeys. All of this is made more compelling and grotesque because some of the kids involved are quite young. This is not a story for the squeamish.

I hope this continues as a series, as the author has set things up for a great next installment that I look forward to reading. I would give this 4.5 stars, and will recommend this to any fan of apocalyptic/dystopian fiction age 15 and up.
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Format: Paperback
Please understand that all my reviews focus on the interests of my middle school students.

All my top ten favorite heroes/heroines come from YA literature. And now there is Sam Small. Wow, that little guy moved me.

Higson is masterful at the fast pace action plot. You won't get bored, that's for sure. There are two story lines, but he moves them so quickly there are no frustrating gaps in the action. He leaves you guessing, but you are also ready to see what is happening in the other line. His character development is uneven. For example, there is a character with a dysfunctional Napoleonic personality, but Higson does not let you see enough of the kid's psyche to really get it. Other characters, however, are well developed, and I think Higson really gets kids. Finally, be warned that Higson does not mind killing characters he makes you like. I am afraid that Collins has started a trend in YA literature that we will be living with for some time. In all, I found it a very good action book, although the ending is very strange.

So why only three stars? Go back to my first line. About two hundred pages into the book Higson introduces some mild profanity which quickly escalates into moderately severe. It caught me a bit off-guard, since there was no hint of it coming. This moved the book to the "Parental Permission" shelf in my classroom library. There is one sexually oriented derogatory remark. None of this is gratuitous, however, and you know that kids would talk this way; it's just that if Riordan, Patterson, Rowling, Nimmo, etc. can write great books for the YA crowd and leave that stuff to our imagination, why can't others?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The world has been hit with an unknown disease that turns everyone over 16 into zombie like creatures that seek to kill the children they left behind. The book is set in London and follows the saga of a ragtag group of kids as they try to stay alive in a world turned upside down.

The kids have found refuge in the local supermarket. They have been there a year, but things are getting desperate as the older kids have to travel farther from their store base to find food to keep them alive. The older kids know it is only a matter of time until they cannot hold out any longer and are looking for a way out. They find it when an older boy arrives telling them to come to Buckingham Palace, where there they have set up a safe zone, with food and comfort within the palace walls. Knowing their plight is grim, the older kids decide they should leave the shelter of the store and make a dash to the palace. The story follows them as they make their way across London. Who will survive the trip, and when they get there what will they find?

Little Sam is a nine year old with an imagination who is stolen from the supermarket grounds by the grownups in the opening pages of the book. He keeps his wits and is able to escape only to find himself alone in the big city of London. The book follows his adventures as he strives to stay alive and make his way back to the little sister he left behind in the supermarket. He is a wonderful character who just wants to be a kid again, but is forced to grow up too fast in a world where everyone must take care of themselves.

The book is fast paced with plenty of zombie type violence. The world as Higson creates is a dangerous one and many characters do not survive their odyssey.
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