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Book Review: The End by Charlie Higson

By Amazon, Books & Authors10 Comments
the-end-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).

The End is the final instalment in the series. The first book in the series was The Enemy, which I reviewed here. The second book was The Dead, which I reviewed here. The third book was The Fear, which I reviewed here. The fourth book was The Sacrifice, which I reviewed here. The fifth book was The Fallen, which I reviewed here. The sixth book was The Hunted, which I have reviewed here.

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.

Wow. Just Wow. The End is the pinnacle of The Enemy Series. Showcasing Higson’s fast-paced plot, excellent description and an ability to capture the reader’s attention throughout. A superb finale to the The Enemy Series.

At the beginning of the book is a double-page map of Kensington Gardens, where the great battle between the diseased zombie grown-ups and kids will take place. This map is useful visual aid and well worth glancing at when reading the final chapters of the book.

The book starts with a statement: The events in The End run parallel to the events in The Hunted, until the closing chapters when all seven books come together.

The End starts with Achielleous, Paddy, Ryan, his hunters and their dogs are heading towards Hyde Park looking for some grown-ups that have been spotted. At first the streets are eerily quiet, but then they spot a single sentinel father. Paddy manages cut down the father with some difficulty. The father offers no resistance. This shows just how much of a small kid Paddy is. He wants to be a hero and this will be his undoing. Paddy gets to keep a Labrador dog that gets named Bright Eyes.

Shadowman (Dylan Peake) is angry at Jester for leaving him behind when they were attacked at King’s Cross station in a previous book. Shadowman takes Jester by force to see the enemy they face – the sicko army, led by St George.

In the Natural History Museum, Small Sam is still hoping that Ed will bring Ella, his sister back.

At the Palace, David discovers that Paul Channing (the kid who was bit on the neck and then went mad at the Natural History Museum in The Fear) can communicate and control grown-ups.

Wormwood & Fish-Face (father & daughter) reveal that Small Sam’s blood might hold a cure for the disease effecting the adults. Einstein, other kids and Wormwood work on a cure in the museum labs using samples of Sam’s blood. Wormwood is to be the test subject for these experimental vaccines. Over time as the storyline proceeds the vaccines begin to have some good effects on Wormwood.

Lettis spends her days with Ollie, in the library with Chris Marker or with the other little kids. She is practically mute since a group of grown-ups had cornered her in a church and Ollie saved her in a previous book.

Jester can’t believe the size of the sicko army, it looks like a big black mass of bodies. Shadowman knows a huge battle is coming and that all the kids need to come together and fight together. He has an idea of how to cause some damage to the enemy and where more fighting kids are. IKEA. So that’s where Shadowman and Jester go.

Shadowman and Jester tell all the groups of kids about the army of grown-ups. The kids begin preparing for battle, the fighters training with their weapons and the archers gathering projectiles. Shadowman and Jester invite Maxie, Blue, Whitney, Jackson, Achilleus (all from the museum), Nicola (from The Houses of Parliament), David (from the Palace), Ryan (from the Hunters) and Will and Finn (from the Tower) to a meeting, held at The Houses of Parliament. They agree that Jordan Hordern (Leader at The Tower of London) will be their General as he knows the most about battles, military tactics and is somebody that everyone respects. David doesn’t like this idea and feels that he should be in charge but is outvoted.

Jordan Hordern has a secret – he is going blind. Only his two assistance’s, Jim and Hugo, know just how bad it is. But despite this, Jordan gathered and commanded his army to save Mad Matt, Archie Bishop and Matt’s disciples when they were under siege at St. Pauls. He has created a safe area from the Tower down to St Paul’s cathedral using barricades and having regular guard patrols. Matt and his green-robed followers now live in safety, all thanks to Jordan.

Meanwhile David plays the political game. He tries to influence Nicola to side with him and join him. Nicola is well aware that David fancies her, in fact he is in love with her. But she can’t convince David to accept Jordan Hordern as a General over him. David is also in talks with Just John, from the squatters camp whom he has an uneasy truce with.

Jordan Hordern chooses Hyde Park, more specifically Kensington Gardens as the battlefield for the great battle with the sicko army. Jordan sets up a camp using anything that kids can find for barricades. St. George (aka Greg) is the leader of the sicko army.

Jordan takes Blue-Tak Bill to count numbers on the battle field, both of the enemy’s adult army and of his kids. Jordan takes Bright Eyes, Paddy’s dog, as it was trained to be a guide dog for the blind and Jordan need’s the dog’s sight. But Jordan who is still keeping his blindness a secret, doesn’t tell Paddy the reason. Paddy is upset about his dog and Achilleus refuses to fight. About half of the fighter kids from the museum follow Achilleus’ lead and also refuse to fight.

The rest of The Twisted Kids leave the warehouse, including: TV Boy, The Warehouse Queen and Monstar. They head to the centre of London to help out in the great battle. They will use their skills, along with Fish-Face, Skinner and Wormwood to interfere with St. George’s signal. So that St George can’t communicate and control his army.

Minor character Yo-Yo dies when with Shadowman, Ryan and his hunters are travelling from Westminster Abbey to the Museums and come across a second army of St George’s. Shadowman blames himself for Yo-Yo’s death, as he’d promised to take her safely back to the Museums, but there was really nothing he could have done. When the leaders of the other kids meet again, to discuss this second army, they are understandably panicked. But they decide to stick with the original plan, despite David’s efforts to make them reconsider and make him their leader. David refuses to take orders from Jordan Hordern.

Paddy decides that he and the smaller kids, whom he has earlier trained and named ‘Young Bloods’ will go to join the battle. Small Sam and The Kid try to convince him that they’re only little, but Paddy wants to be a hero and won’t take no for an answer. Whitney has been charged to look after the small kids at the Museum. Whitney is telling Paddy that he and his group are not going out to fight, when she is called away because of an accident.

Paddy spots his opportunity and leads the small kids out. What follows is that a small group of grown-ups sent by St George to try and get Small Sam attack the young kids, resulting in the deaths of Paddy, Froggie, Zohra and Whitney. I liked Whitney’s character and it was one that I felt was underdeveloped. Still I was gutted that she died, especially because she died because of Paddy’s stupidity.

The sicko army move forward towards Jordan Hordern and the others camp. Jordan orders Ollie and the missile kids to launch their projectiles. David and Just John have set up their own camp, safe from the grown-ups having used Paul Channing to communicate with St George and broker a peace.

Achilleus is still refusing to fight. He finds out about Paddy’s death and is devastated. It is revealed that Achilleus is gay and fancies Will from the Tower. This is a disappointment to Jackson who fancies Achilleus, but they remain good friends.

Once the missile kids have launched everything they’ve got and the sicko army are pushing against the camps barricades, it’s the job of the fighters to strike down as many of the grown-ups as they can. Jordan instructs small openings to be made in the barricades at key times to act as a funnel, allowing a small number of grown-ups through to be cut down by fighters behind the barricades. Ollie and the missile kids job is then to pile up the dead grown-up bodies along a particular section of the barricades so that they can be set alight a further defence against the sicko army if required. It’s a long hard slog and by the end of the first day of the battle many kids are exhausted.

Jordan goes to speak to Achilleus and convinces him to fight. Jordan explains why he took Bright Eyes, revealing his secret to Achilleus. He picks up his spear and so do the other fighting kids at the Museum who follow him. Achilleus and Jackson make a great fighting duo.

David, frustrated that the kids are doing so well instructs Paul to tell the grown-ups to attack the weak point in Jordan and the others camp barricades. St George instructs the diseased adults to attack this point, but then The Twisted Kids and Wormwood interfere with his signals.

That night, Nicola goes to speak to David. She tells him that he’s on the wrong side. That he shouldn’t be with the grown-up’s but against them. She implores him to see reason and to join forces with Jordan. But David is more interested in speaking about their relationship. Nicola is brutally honest, goes to walk away and is shot in the back by David. She dies.

The next day Ben and Bernie set off car bombs made using cars provided by IKEA group and explosives from nearby stadiums that authorities had put there to dispose of the bodies, prior to the collapse of society.

Saif, the leader of the IKEA group, arrives with his fighters in cars at this vital point in the great battle. At the same time in David’s camp, Jester tells Paul to stop helping St George. Paul refuses and Jester kills him. But without Paul, the grown-up’s close to David’s camp soon target the camp. David’s barricades are no where near as good as Jordan’s and soon David’s camp is in chaos.

Just John along with his squatters seizes this opportunity to invade the Palace and successfully take it. They begin to casually destroy the Palace. Franny, a kid that had been a grower of food at the Palace looses her temper when the squatters start pulling up the crops. She kills John in a rage and the other squatters just laugh and continue their destruction.

Meanwhile David’s camp is overrun by adults and David and Jester both die. Their deaths are not stated but implied and they probably die by being torn apart by grown-ups.

Then Ed arrives with his army that he won in The Hunted. This changes the course of the battle and for the first time the kids realise that they are winning and can win. Ed kills St George. The remaining grown-ups are cut down by the army of the kids.

The last two chapters of the book are emotionally touching. In one Lettis is in the library with Chris Marker finally starts writing in her notebook, signalling that she is finally getting over her trauma and wants to contribute to the new recorded history. In the very final chapter, Small Sam is finally reunited with Ella, his sister.

At the end of the book is a timeline of events. The timeline clears up the order in which things happen and in which books they happen in, which is important as the books in the series were not written in chronological order and do jump along the timeline.

There’s an awful lot of characters in the series. All of the characters are well thought out. Just the sheer number of them means that some of the characters lacked growth.

Overall The Enemy Series is a brilliant series. Anyone into zombies will love the series. I will no doubt read the series from start to finish again.

Review soon,

Antony

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