Hello Internet. Welcome back for Review #24. Those gods-be-damned capital T’s. What the hell is with those? I mean, the title of a book should be something striking! Something amazing! Like “Skulduggery Pleasant and the Sceptre of the Ancients“. Look at how badass and mysteriously fantastical that sounds! Compared to “The Enemy”. Well, enough of that. Onto the review.
I have been scared to write a review of this infamous book series for a long time. It’s because the series is so damn intimidating. It may well be the gore. Actually, yeah, it’s probably really truly the gore. Gods below, the sheer amount of bloodshed in this book for something masquerading as a teen novel is just horrendous. Many adults I know would refuse to read this.
And the fact that this series alone is the fact that I have trust issues. I absolutely adored the main character of book 3. [Adored as in past tense. Talk about a diabolus ex machina.] Not to mention [killing off the main character of book 1 halfway in.] Only George RR Martin can get away with that! And the idiot characters which get left behind and not gleefully eviscerated and eaten from the inside out are all arseholes. Massive, glistening arseholes.
Oh, sorry, did I forget to mention that this guy is a brilliant author and his books are amazing and incredible? For a series set in a post-apocalypse world, Higson beautifully avoids sci-fi and serves up a series which is pure and simple horror. No waving of semi-magical tech-science horseradish over here, save for some slight speculation about the virus. Just the salivating, starving masses of zombies (called “sickos”, but actually zombies) which eat good old human flesh and chase after scared little kids who’re no older than 15 and currently shitting themselves. Because it seems that Charlie over here is a little old sadist, and has a large sense of schadenfreude. I admire all those qualities.
So as is previously aforementioned, the series happens after a cataclysmic virus kills off half of all the adults and teens over 15, and then infects the rest to turn them into honking big hordes of not-quite-dead undead which seek out the flesh of the teensy little kids remaining. And said little kids have to band together to form zombie-fighting groups which take turns to heap out servings of whup-ass. However implausible and stupid it sounds, the book pulls off the scary and drama parts of the plot to the point where you just believe whatever excuse the monsters have for existing and start worrying more about how your favourite character will *cough* survive *cough* this brush with death.
And they won’t. Everyone dies. And that’s not a spoiler. Think Song of Ice and Fire kinds of major character death. “#Insert character name here# dies” is a good warning for all readers. Except for the aforementioned arseholes. Oh no, they need to survive so the author can continue to hurt us by making them do sadistic things to other kids and get away with it. Pricks, all of them. Oh sod this, I’m off to read something happy. Preferably with no character deaths or major philosophical issues.
The Enemy was published in 2009 by Puffin Books. It can be found on Amazon here.
Yours: J.M. Pear