quippe (quippe) wrote in cool_teen_reads,

The Dead by Charlie Higson

The Blurb On The Back:

A terrible disease is striking everyone over the age of fourteen. Death walks the streets. Nowhere is safe.

Maxie, Blue and the rest of the Holloway crew aren’t the only kids trying to escape the ferocious adults who prey on them.

Jack and Ed are best friends, but their battle to stay alive tests their friendship to the limit as they go on the run with a mismatched group of other kids – nerds, fighters, misfits. And one adult. Greg, a butcher, who claims he’s immune to the disease.

They must work together if they want to make it in this terrifying new world. But as a fresh disaster threatens to overwhelm London, they realise they won’t all survive ...

Jack and Ed are best friends at a private school when England succumbs to a strange disease that turns anyone over the age of 14 into a homicidal cannibal only interested in eating human children. Together with a handful of other survivors, they join forces with a rag tag group led by a grown-up called Greg, who claims to be immune to the disease. As they head to the capital, the group must work together if they’re to survive but the closer they get, the more the odds are stacked against them ...

This sequel to Higson’s excellent THE ENEMY is actually set over a year earlier than the events in that book and follows what happens right after the mysterious disease has taken hold of the adults. For fans of the first book who want to know what’s happened to the Holloway crew, this is a disappointment because they don’t feature at all in this story – indeed, the only characters from that book to appear in this are George and The Kid, who turn up right at the end.

That is the only criticism of the book because Higson’s created another fantastically dark and exciting book with plenty of death and violence and a sense of not knowing who is going to survive. Jack and Ed’s friendship is particularly well drawn. Although the two seem to have little in common (Ed is good looking, popular and confident while Jack has a facial birth mark and has always been more quiet) they are close and as each tries to come to terms with what is happening, their roles are reversed.

As with THE ENEMY there is a wide cast of characters here – too many to deal with in a review. Mention should be made of Greg though, a butcher seeking refuge with his son, Liam, whose behaviour becomes more and more sinister. Matt is also interesting – a young boy whose near death experience leads him to develop a new religion, which catches on with some of the other scared kids. All of this builds into the wider story arc and sets up some brilliant plot strands for the next book.

Although the violence and death may make this unsuitable for younger readers, it is still a fantastic read and ends with a great set up for the next book, which I will definitely be reading on.

The Verdict:

Although this bone chilling sequel to the excellent THE ENEMY is actually a prequel, it’s nevertheless a cracking YA horror read, with plenty of violence and death and a fascinating take on zombies. I’ll definitely be checking out the next book.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming, horror_novels and yalitlovers.

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