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Book Review: The Sacrifice by Charlie Higson

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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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Book Review: The Dead by Charlie Higson

By Books & Authors6 Comments

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 fascinate 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 understanding 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 shadows 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 cleverly 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

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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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