Charlie Higson,
The Enemy
(Puffin, 2009)

Monster books dominated my October reading list. The Enemy is the fourth horror book I've read so far but, sadly, I can't say it is as good as the others I've read. It starts out very ambitiously, and I honestly believed this book would top my list of zombie novels, but I was wrong.

The Enemy is a young-adult novel that takes place in London during a zombie-like apocalypse. An unknown disease has turned all people over the age of 16 into lumbering monsters who only wish to eat the remaining children. They are called "grown ups" for obvious reasons. Arran and Maxie lead a ragtag group of youngsters who are struggling to survive in a supermarket. Food and medicine supplies are extremely low, and Arran is worried that they won't last much longer.

After a few attacks, Arran and his group rescue a boy named Jester, who informs them of a thriving community established at Buckingham Palace. They decide to investigate.

This book is very divisive to me: one second I don't like it, and the next second I'm glad to be reading it. You just have to trust that the author will make up the boring passages with something more interesting later. For me, that never really came. The first 150 pages were written very well, but the plot quickly became boring. I had to force myself to keep reading.

Everything is too simple. The characters are pretty flat. There was only one character I liked and, well, he didn't meet a very good end. The story itself was like something I've read in many other books. Along with that, every twist was obvious about 10 pages before you got to it.

There are some positives. The zombies are more interesting than most other novels, changing and developing as the novel proceeds. There are moments of depth, such as a discussion among children about the planet healing itself now that most of its people are dead, and the obvious metaphor about "grown ups" harming innocent children.

Ultimately, though, the writing is mostly boring, and you don't really end up caring about any of the characters. As a result, you just sort of plod along with the book, wishing it would get more interesting. I wouldn't really recommend this novel; however, if you really need a zombie fix and you've read everything else, then put this one next on your list.

book review by
Vlady Kozubnyak

29 November 2014

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