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Book Review: The Fallen by Charlie Higson

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Reviews11 Comments
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

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Book Review: The Sacrifice by Charlie Higson

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
The Sacrifice by Charlie Higson follows on from The Fear and focuses on the stories of Small Sam & The Kid and Shadowman. The book took me a few chapters to get back into the world and the story but this was helped with a lot of references to the previous books from Higson.

Sam & The Kid have managed to stumble their way through the no-go zone to reach the safety of Ed in the Tower of London. But Sam’s mission to find his sister isn’t over as his sister isn’t there. Sam learns that his sister might be at Buckingham Palace. The kids in the Tower of London don’t ever go into the no-go zone as the adults behave differently there making it much more dangerous.

Tish a lone girl comes towards the Tower of London from the no-go zone being chased by disease-ridden adults screaming for help. Tish fully dressed in green is rescued by Ed and his crew, taken back to the Tower of London and housed with Sam & The Kid.

Meanwhile deep in the heart of the no-go zone Shadowman continues to follow the The Fear the army of diseased adults led by St. George. Shadowman has noticed the unusual behaviour of the adults; the way St. George seems to command the army without any verbal communication and the sentinels – adults who stand with their arms out unmoving. Shadowman is watching as the ranks of the army swell everyday. More and more adults joining the army as if drawn there.

Tish convinces Sam & The Kid that Ed will never let them leave the Tower, but that she can get them to Buckingham Palace and then she can go home to her temple nearby. Tish creates a distraction at the Tower of London and all three of them escape back into the no-go zone.

When Ed learns that they have gone he feels guilty, he feels responsible for Sam & The Kid. Ed knows that Sam & The Kid will be heading for Buckingham Palace, knowing that Sam is hoping to find his sister there. Ed and his crew go into the no-go zone in search of Sam & The Kid.

While in this dangerous no-go zone Ed and his crew meet Nicola the Prime Minister in the Houses of Parliament. Nicola tells him that she’s met DogNut (a character who left the Tower of London in a previous book sometime ago) and that DogNut was also heading to Buckingham Palace. Nicola tells Ed about David the leader at Buckingham Palace and how untrustworthy he is.

Ed tells Nicola the story of Sam, The Kid & Tish hoping she’ll know something about them. Nicola reveals that Tish must be is a missionary from St. Paul’s Cathedral. Nicola explains that a religious nutter named Matt has a group of kids at St. Paul’s who all wear green. For the first time in The Enemy Series all the groups of kids know about each other.

Shadowman seems to have worked out that the sentinels are sending singles on a frequency that the kids can’t hear but dogs can. But who are they signalling too? What does this signal mean? Most importantly who is controlling the sentinels?

Tish has manipulated Sam & The Kid with them ending up at St. Paul’s. Among all the constant chanting, music and incense Mad Matt welcomes The Lamb and The Goat (Sam & The Kid) to St. Paul’s. Mad Matt decides The Goat (The Kid) should be sacrificed to Wormwood a diseased adult they keep locked up.

Wormwood isn’t just any diseased adult; he seems to remember things from before he was diseased. Although Wormwood’s mind is fragmented he remembers that the disease effecting all adults started in bugs in the jungle and then transferred to man. The Kid convinces Wormwood not to eat him and to help him escape, The Kid offering Wormwood his freedom in exchange for not eating him.

Shadowman has had close calls in the past, but this is set to be his closest. Shadowman see’s some kids about to attack some of the diseased adults in the street, unaware that close by inside a tyre centre The Fear army are sleeping. Shadowman goes to warn the kids but they don’t listen. Shadowman ends up trying to save them, ending up badly injured. Shadowman limps a long being chased by a slower herd of about twenty diseased ravenously hungry adults. Shadowman knows that he can’t keep in front of them forever as feels his body tiring.

Meanwhile Ed and his crew arrive at St. Paul’s and rescue Sam. The Kid and Wormwood are gone from the seller where they were being held, escaping in the tunnels underneath. By this time the army of adults led by St. George have made their way to St. Paul’s and overwhelm it after the kids inside. Ed, most of his crew and Sam escape to a building close to St. Paul’s.

Ed, his crew and Sam are trapped in this building as the hordes of adults approach. Ed goes deeper into the building in search of an escape route and finds The Kid. Sam & The Kid are reunited and The Kid tells them about Wormwood. Wormwood helps them escape by instructing the hordes to stand still, the kids walking through the hordes of still disease-ridden adults which are like statues.

The Sacrifice ends with Ed, his crew, Sam & The Kid seeing a lone kid limping a long – Shadowman. Ed and his crew save Shadowman from the herd slowly following him. Once they reach safety all of the kids know one thing, that things are changing.

Higson‘s use of description, settings and pace of the story are brilliant as usual; however there was less action in this book than previous ones. I liked Higson‘s use of different characters perspectives throughout the book and liked that towards the end of the book he added to the overarching storyline.

If you’ve ever read any of Charlie Higson‘s The Enemy Series then you’ll love the newest addition The Sacrifice. If you’ve not and are interested I strongly recommend you read them in order (see the reviews below). While they can all be read as one-off stories, in my opinion they are better enjoyed as a series. As always The Sacrifice is available to buy on Amazon.

The Enemy Series other book reviews (in chronological order):

Review soon,

Antony

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I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:


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