four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
54-Sept-Oct-2011
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A-EnemyCharlie Higson is a British author and actor. He is best known for his Young Bond series (SilverFin [2005], Blood Fever [2006], Double or Die [2007), which features a teenage James Bond during his years at a stuffy English boarding school.

The Story: The first in a planned series, The Enemy follows a group of children as they struggle to survive in postapocalyptic London. Everyone over the age of 16 is dead or has succumbed to a frightening disease, one that transforms moms and dads into raggedy, dimwitted zombies who bumble about the city and eat children. Living in fear are the Waitroses and the Morrisons, two groups of youngsters named after the supermarkets they hole up in. When the kids learn of a possible safe haven at Buckingham Palace, they band together as they attempt a harrowing, zombie-filled trek across London.
Hyperion Books. 448 pages. $8.99. ISBN: 9781423133124

Guardian (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"The problem with the zombie genre much of the time is the 'so what?' factor. ... Where Higson has been clever is in never losing sight of the fact that--however fast-paced or exciting or gory or inventive or just plain gross he's being--it's ultimately the characters that matter." Philip Ardagh

The Times (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"Among all the gore and action there are memorable characters, including convincing and courageous girls. It also explores how society might be organised, the dangers of political ambition and values such as loyalty, and even suggests that bookish thoughtfulness makes better leaders of men than knee-jerk aggression." Nicolette Jones

Jen Robinson's Book Page 4 of 5 Stars
"The Enemy is an edge-of-your seat thriller, a book that will keep you up late at night, unable to resist one more chapter, and then one more. ... [A] must-read for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction, and is worth a look for anyone who enjoys a fast-paced adventure (and doesn't mind a bit of gore)." Jen Robinson

Critical Summary

The Enemy was released in 2009 in the United Kingdom, but its timely confluence of both postapocalyptic worlds and zombies has led a new round of attention to its paperback release in the United States. Usually with zombie fiction, characters are killed off by the dozens (or more), and readers barely bat an eyelash. Not so with The Enemy. Charlie Higson has created an intelligent thriller for a young audience--a monster tale with lots of heart. Characters are explored in-depth so that we inevitably come to worry about them, and by the end of the book, our nails are bitten down and our nerves are frayed. The Times critic described it as "great at adrenaline-inducing conflict, and as yucky as could be wished for." Readers will be eager to read The Dead, the second book in the series, which was also recently published in the United States.