Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Enemy by Charlie Higson

The Enemy
Author: Charlie Higson

Publisher: Hyperion

 3½ out of 5 stars

What if there were no adults to tell you what to do? No more chores. No more getting grounded for not listening. It would all be one big free for all. Wouldn’t you like this to be real? Well, it is… at least in an alternate London it is. An incurable illness has struck all those over the age of sixteen. Thousands have died, leaving children and teens on their own. However, not everyone died. The adults that have survived the disease have become gruesome, incoherent, walking corpses. They have boils and growths covering their bodies, and are slowly decomposing. They are like the living dead, real-life zombies. And guess what… they will do anything to eat and satisfy their hunger, including consuming their own children.

With all of the adults either dead or like zombies, all of the children and teens have to fend for themselves. Many died right off the bat because they became reckless and drunk on their newfound freedom. However, there are still those that have pulled through. The survivors, who have kept their wits about them, haven’t given up. But with ever depleting food stores, and no electricity, the children are slowly dying off.

With each day that passes, the adults are getting stronger, and smarter. Now instead of roaming around the streets and eating what they can, they are banding together. They are starting to use tactics and strategies to catch the kids. But the kids are learning too. There is one group of kids in particular, who live in Waitrose. They have taken shelter in a supermarket and have made it their fortified castle, with defenses and lookouts. Despite all of this, the going is getting tough. The Waitrose kids don’t know what to do, as everyday they seem to lose a kid to the steadily cleverer adults. But there is still hope. One day, they are offered refuge in Buckingham Palace. It turns out that kids are living there growing their own food and surviving better than they ever thought possible. How will they survive the journey and cross London? Is this too good to be true? All is revealed in Charlie Higson’s harrowing adventure of true survival, The Enemy!

Right from the start I was immersed in this alternate world, and grabbed by the collar by these kid-hungry, diseased adults! Charlie Higson took the idea of kids being let loose with no authority, only to have it turn into a deadly test of their wits and survival. The Enemy is a tale of fighting for your life, and a good one at that. Maybe we kids, we shouldn’t give our parents such a hard time, because we really can’t live without them.

I recommend this book for teens, as it will entertain most with its gross gore and deadly anticipation. I should mention that there is inappropriate language in this book. The kids use swear words, as they have no adults to stop them. Also, there are many gruesome scenes that may not be appropriate for younger kids. I would not suggest this book for young children as it may give them nightmares and be very intense.

I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of this book. I loved going on scavenger hunts for food and fighting adults with the Waitrose crew. I thought that the idea for this book was the perfect setting, and I especially liked how maybe it wasn’t such a good thing, having no adults to protect you and do things for you. That was something that I thought contributed to the story greatly, how this illness overcoming the adults was like a slap in the face to the kids. They realized that they need their parents, and life is hard without them. Numerous times the main characters thought back on what it was like to have their parents tuck them in at night, and they missed it very much. Now, the children were fighting against their own parents, and they were killing them if they had to.

However, since The Enemy had such a strong concept, I felt like the details of the story could have been worked out better. As I was reading, I felt like the story could go more in-depth with a part here or there. I felt like the author, Charlie Higson, was barely skimming the surface in many scenes. Maybe if there was more detail and emotion throughout the book, then it would have made more of an impact on me, like when a kid lost a friend or when the going got especially tough.

One aspect that I liked was how this story didn’t only focus on one character, but on a whole group of characters. That way I didn’t only get to feel what one kid was experiencing, but many. I hope to see this continue in the sequel The Dead. However, I do wish that I could have known if this disease was happening in other parts of the world as well. Since there was no electricity, the kids weren’t sure what was going on around the world anymore.

Overall, The Enemy is a tale of what it takes to put your feelings aside and keep moving forward to survive. The adults are growing stronger and the kids don’t have much time before something devastating happens. Join the Waitrose kids of London as they fight for their lives and remember who the real enemy is, in The Enemy!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

Check out The Enemy website at
The Enemy is available from Amazon here.

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