This second installment of The Enemy is actually a standalone prequel to the series starter, thus giving readers the perfect lead-in to this popular zombie series. At its center are a harried pack of London teenagers attempting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where food is scarce and flesh eaters run free.
In this gore-soaked prequel to The Enemy (2010), Higson expands on the horror inherent in a world where disease has ravaged everyone over age 16, killing many and turning the rest into flesh-eating monsters. When the disease struck the Rowhurst School near London, a handful of students survived, including popular Ed, self-conscious Jack, rugby star Bam, and know-it-all Wiki. Aware that their school is no longer safe, the Rowhurst boys break out, embarking on a brutal quest for a new haven. Along the way they gather more refugees, even as they experience steady attrition due to constant "sicko" attacks and other threats. With religious fanatic Matt, military-minded Jordan, unpredictable adult Greg, and alpha-male David vying for dominance, the future looks rocky. This visceral tale sheds light on several key players in The Enemy, while sealing the fate of others. With the book's immense cast and substantial body count, it doesn't pay to get too attached to any one character, while the intense descriptions of violence and sickness will get under readers' skin. Ages 14–up. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Events in this prequel take place just over a year before those in Higson's The Enemy (Hyperion/Disney, 2010). A disease has infected everyone over the age of 16, beginning with coldlike symptoms and progressing to hideous boils. Many people are killed outright but others become mindless cannibals who seek out the flesh of young teens and children. The living dead are described in hideous detail—flesh decomposing, boils oozing pus, mucus, and blood dripping from what is left of their noses. Ed, Jack, Bam, and their mates are overmatched by these horrors but must try their best to protect the younger kids around them as well as scavenge food and water in a world with no functioning power supply, distribution network, Internet, or media. Jack leads them from a rural school into London in the hope of finding food and a defensible location. Inevitably, in a story of a handful of children against a good fraction of the adult population of London, the casualty list is extensive. The cast is large but the author does a fine job distinguishing his myriad characters and giving them their particular motivations, going so far as to present the viewpoints of some of the diseased. This is definitely not for the squeamish, but zombie stories are on the rise, so this action-packed tale ought to have a wide audience.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
When all adults turn into zombies, kids must fend for themselves.
Before London was filled with shambling husks craving fresh meat, there was an Internet video of a scared boy ranting about adults killing children. Months later, both video and Internet have disappeared. After constant battles with ravening adults, 15-year-olds Jack and Ed rescue the trapped Frédérique and break out of their barricaded school to find food and stronger shelter. Despite a misadventure with a cannibalistic bus driver, the youths arrive at the Imperial War Museum only to discover others have claimed the space. When London starts to burn again, they all must work together to flee the coming firestorm. Higson delivers this prequel toThe Enemy(2010) in similar style, with multiple narrators allowing for even more action than the first offering. While most of these threads lack strong emotional resonance, Frédérique's narrative harrows, as she descends into madness when infection overtakes her. Jack and Ed have a good rapport, too, though there's a bit too much sentimentality toward the end. Gun combat takes precedence over melee here, a choice that makes sense given the protagonists' ages and the setting, though it tends to break the action more than the fisticuffs that dominated the first work.
With giant firestorms, rampaging hoards and continual life-and-death scenarios, though, Higson delivers an action-packed summer read.(Horror. 13-16)
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR THE ENEMY"
The Enemy grabs you by the throat . . . and bites off your ear. It's kids versus zombies and no one is playing nice. The actionand boy, is there actiontakes us through a London transformed by the unexplained illness that has turned every adult into a shuffling, drooling, kid-crunching machine. Bonus: zombie royals. Sheer fun."Michael Grant, author of the Gone series
PRAISE FOR THE FEAR"
The third book in Higson's terrifying zombie series will continue to enthrall horror fans."VOYA
PRAISE FOR THE DEAD"
. . . Higson delivers an action-packed summer read."Kirkus
PRAISE FOR THE ENEMY"
...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."ALA Booklist