Tag Archives: The Dead

Book Review: The Fallen by Charlie Higson

the-fallen-charlie-higson-book-cover The Enemy Series is a series of books by Charlie Higson about all adults becoming diseased sicko’s that like to eat children. The stories are about the kids survival (or not).

This review will be like the ones I’ve done for the other books in the series – it will give an overview of the storyline. So please be aware that this review contains spoilers.

In The Fallen by Charlie Higson The Holloway Kids are finally back! These were the children introduced to us in book one of the series: The Enemy. Since then there’s been three books (The Dead, The Fear & The Sacrifice) with little mention of Maxie, Blue and the others.

The book starts by reintroducing the kids to the reader as they reach The Natural History Museum in London. They’ve travelled a long way to get there, but it’s not exactly the safe haven they imagined. They arrive to a scene of carnage. Grownup’s and lots of them are chasing the kids that have took up residence at The National History Museum.

The grownup’s were released from below the museum by Paul, a kid who got bit on the neck by and adult in one of the previous books and has started to get diseased. Blue, Maxie and Co get to work and help the geeky kids make the museum safe again.

The museum kids welcome the new comers and talk about their work – trying to find a cure for the disease. They explain that they need to get some supplies from a warehouse which used to be run by Promithios (a biomedical company). The problem is that the warehouse is a few miles away near Heathrow Airport. It might as well be hundreds of miles away, giving how dangerous the streets are.

So Blue, some of his crew and some of the museum kids set out on this perilous journey to the warehouse and back. The reader joins them on this journey, which is a throughly entertaining read. The excerpts of Lettis’s diary give the reader an insight to her character and perspective.

Big Mick’s death was a concern. It felt like Higson had been unsure where to take his character, so he killed him off. I recognise Higson’s need to develop Blue’s character to make him feel more vulnerable, more human, but killing off Big Mick didn’t fully achieve this for the reader.

Meanwhile back at the Museum: Maxie and the rest of the kids have got problems of their own – as Paul continues to cause trouble.

Blue is forced to leave some of the group in a Church, taking a smaller group onto the Promithios Warehouse. They reach the Promithios Warehouse to be met by The Twisted Kids. The Twisted Kids explain that they are the children of the Scientists at Promithios. That their parents found a lost tribe of people and were careful not to infect them with any diseases; but didn’t realise that the tribe had infected them with something.

An infection that only became apparent when the Scientists children were born odd and twisted. The Twisted Kids explain that they can’t stay there because the diseased grownup’s keep getting in. They agree to let Blue and Co take what they want, in return for letting them move into the Museum with the other kids. The Twisted Kids send a small group of their kids back with Blue and Co to check out the Museum.

Paul realises he can communicate with the diseased adults, leaves the Museum and heads back to David at Buckingham Palace.

Chapter 90 gives a summary of the over-arching plot. In North London Shadowman is following St. George’s Army; In East London The Kid is trapped in a dark cellar with The Green Man (a diseased adult) trying to stay alive; Southern London is a blackened ruin caused by a fire with Ed & Kyle crossing Lambeth Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral looking for Small Sam. Small Sam trapped by Mad Matt and his followers.

The Enemy Series has a very detailed storyline with lots of characters. Add to this a year between new releases and it means the reader (even one that’s an avid fan) looses track. It doesn’t help that the books in the series don’t always follow a straight forward timeline. So Higson should do more of these plot overviews like the one in Chapter 90.

The book ends with Small Sam finally arriving at the Museum to find his sister Ella. Only he’s a day late. Ella left with Maeve, Robbie and Monkey Boy a day ago for the countryside. Small Sam arrives with Ed, Kylie, The Kid, The Green Man and some other kids.

The Fallen is the best book of the series to date. Not as much action as some of the other books in the series, but as brilliantly written as ever. Lots of character and plot development that is starting to bring all of the kids together for the grand finale. It’s going to be an unbearable wait for the next book in the series.

Review soon,

Antony

Book Review: The Dead by Charlie Higson

The Dead is a prequel to The Enemy and like most I desperately wanted to find out what would happen to Maxie, Blue and the others on the cliff hanger at the end of The Enemy. I wanted to find out if Little Sam would ever make it back to the group and expected to be disappointed by this book. But I wasn’t, indeed I actually thought The Dead was better than the first!

In this book we meet Jack and Ed from Rowhurst all boys school. As the name suggests it’s a private school, with Jack and Ed being best friends. They fight night after night as the infected, disease ridden, zombie-like adults try to break in to get to them. They are running out of food and water and know that the school is not longer safe, so they decide to look for somewhere else that is safer and has more food and water on offer.

Along the way they meet Mat and Archie who have followers of their new religion with “The Lamb” as their god. Then in crisis with diseased adults at all sides they are saved by a coach driven by an adult named Greg. Greg claims to be immune to the disease – but is he? They meet and join with other kids on the bus including Brooke (a verbally strong girl), Alisha (who only says nice things) and Courtney (that they describe as the “larger” one of their group). The two groups join together to become one, on the bus they are safe. But this new found safety doesn’t last long…

After being forced to flee for their lives the group make it to The Imperial War Museum, finding another group of kids got their first. They make friends with this group, led by Jordan Hunter. Jordan allows them to stay, but they must find their own food. On a scavenge hunt they find a Tesco truck filled with food and after a struggle get it back to the museum. However by this point Jack and Ed’s friendship has been pushed to the limit with Jack calling Ed for being a coward. Jack has a deep longing to go home and decides as it’s close by that it’s now or never.

On the way they find the Oval, which was being protected before the adults got ill. They decide that it must have something valuable inside so go inside to check. This leads to several explosions and a fire that will consume the whole of the east London, where they are. They must get across over to the other side of the Thames river. The only problem? Every other kid needs to get across as well, as it’s the only way to escape the raging fire that now lights up the entire sky helped by the direction of the wind. The diseased adults are behind the kids trying to escape the fire and there’s some blockage ahead on the bridge. What will they do? How will they escape? If the diseased adults don’t get them first, the fire surely will.

Towards the end of the book this is were it starts to facinate me, it links in with The Enemy and Little Sam’s quest.

I’ve deliberately left out the details of what happens in the story as I don’t want to give spoilers away. Throughout the book what strikes me is the friendship between Jack and Ed as they try to adjust to this whole new world, each using their own way of coping with the stress and constant life threatening situations. From early on in the book you come to like Jack and then as Ed’s character develops turning from “Ed the coward” to “Ed the leader” you begin to like him as well. You gain an inderstanding of what Jack, Ed and the other characters are feeling and thinking as the book steps in to their thought processes from time to time.

Charlie Higson’s use of excellent description enables you to imagine every scene and the characters perfectly. Indeed at one dark evening walking home, I had to remind myself that it was only a story and there were no shaddows in the dark. Charlie’s writing is so easy to read that it makes the story flow along and before you know it, your hooked, desperate to read on and find out what happens. The book has the usual action scenes followed by slower reflective scenes, which add depth to the book.

What I most loved about the book is how it gave me a new set of characters with their own stories but linked in to what had previously been written, adding more information to the over arching story. The Dead seemed to hint at links that will be picked up in the next book. And I do think that when the next book comes out you’ll be able to read The Dead again and see that those links were cleaverly placed for the next book.

I utterly enjoyed reading The Dead and The Enemy both of which are available to buy on Amazon.

Another link you might like: Book Review: The Enemy by Charlie Higson.

Write soon,

Antony

New books, but is it a good sign?

The publishing industry have released a few books by some of my faviourate authors. I knew about The Dead by Charlie Higson, which I bought this month. I’m about half way through it, so expect a review soon! I’ve reviewed The Enemy which you can read here. I also bought The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition by Anne Frank and Everyday Moon Magic by Dorothy Morrison.

Two books I didn’t know about till yesterday were Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella and The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern. I’m trying to live frugally (see Living Frugally) so I’ll have to buy these next month. I think I missed the release of these books because publishers usually release them closer to Christmas.

This got me thinking, does the early release of these books signal that publishers are worried that Christmas won’t be a good time for selling? Are they in a way predicting that they think we’ll take our second dip into recession? Maybe I’m reading too much in to this? But I think if I was a publisher, I’d try and release as many publications as I could before we entered recession. What are your thoughts?

Antony

I want…The Dead by Charlie Higson

I loved The Enemy by Charlie Higson, indeed I even wrote a book review: Book Review: The Enemy by Charlie Higson.

Now I´ve just discovered on The Young Bond Dossier that the much awaited sequal entitled The Dead is to be realised in October 2010. And look here´s the cover:

I´m so excited, I´ve found it on Amazon: The Dead by Charlie Higson. The plot from Amazon:

Product Description
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 realize they won’t all survive
(From: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0141384654?ie=UTF8&tag=theyoungbondd-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=0141384654, Last Accessed: 16 June 2010)

It goes a year before the first book when adults start getting ill and sounds like it promises to be another gripping book. You can be assured when it´s in my hands and has been read it will be reviewed.

Looking forward to the release,

Antony


A book review can now be found here: Book Review: The Dead by Charlie Higson.