The Enemy – Charlie Higson

Posted on 17 May 2010. Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , , |

Before I head into writing a few words about this book I feel you deserve to know why I haven’t been writing much lately. I’m having the odd trouble with my website and have been spending a lot of time trying to fix it up behind the scenes to ensure customers don’t have any problems with it. Things are progressing well, although somewhat more slowly than I’d expected. I hope to have everything right by this weekend, but until then my writing might suffer. I’m trying to ensure I spend enough time on Twitter and Facebook but this is at the expense of some other forums. Just before this happened I did manage to sign up as a Supporting Member of AussieCon4, I hope to be able to pay the full amount by July as I’d really like to attend. There’s exciting things happening in the Australian science fiction and fantasy writers world and I’m going to be on the periphery of it. I’ll give you more information in due course. Heading into the book now, promise.

This is one of those books I got through Twitter. Penguin were good enough to send it to me when I pointed out a typo in their online book extract during a competition. This book is set in post-apocalyptic London. The premise of the story is that every person over the age of 14 has been struck down with a deadly disease. The lucky ones die quickly, the unlucky live on with few brains just wanting to eat meat, they don’t discriminate; dogs and children are both on the menu. We don’t know what caused the disease and we don’t know what happens when people turn 14. This story shows us some of the children one year after the disease first strikes. We see it from several points of view, kids in charge, kids not in charge, boys and girls. We see what sort of person they need to lead them now and what qualities they must have in order to get their charges through this dreadful time. This is mostly from the point of view of a group of 50-60 kids who have holed up in a place called Waitrose only venturing out to find food. One day a boy comes in and says there is a group of kids building a better life in Buckingham Palace. So, off they go to Buckingham Palace with their weapons. Yes, they do make it there but it’s not the end of the story.

I have so many questions about this book and I don’t know where to start. Many of them won’t ever be answered as the story couldn’t ever go there but some of them will most likely be answered in sequels. I can’t talk knowledgably about the sequels as I can’t find anything on the web and the only mention is in the back of the book. The Enemy Is Waiting is due to come out some time this year and I will be waiting with bated breath for it as I need some answers.

Charlie Higson is a talented writer who knows how to keep the tension well and truly tight. I’m not really a reader of horror books, I have read some in my time, classics such as Dracula and the first official sequel, Dracula the Undead, some Stephen King and various other horror authors so I do have some idea of what makes a good horror book. Yes, I even saw Alien, but that was in a movie double immediately following a zombie movie so I actually laughed during Alien as it just wasn’t scary in comparison to the zombies. The Enemy lays it on the line, it tells you exactly what to be scared of and then details it again and again and again without ever letting go. The characters are believable and the situations seem credible. We are told of what happened at the beginning of the disease and it harked back to Lord of the Flies (a terrifying book) but also gives us hope by telling us that the behaviour changed when the adults started killing the kids.

Oh, and that typo? It’s not in the book.


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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Suzie Eisfelder. Suzie Eisfelder said: Blog Post: Book review The Enemy by Charlie Higson with thanks to @PenguinBooksAus for sending it to me […]

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