Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Dead by Charlie Higson

The first book of this series, The Enemy, came to me very highly recommended from a friend, so although I don’t usually read zombie-type books, I gave it a go and ended up thoroughly enjoying it - thus I was pretty eager to get my hands on the sequel, which is, unusually, just as good as its predecessor; I was slightly disappointed to find that it wasn’t a continuation of the story in The Enemy, instead set a year before and focusing on a new group of kids, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Dead.

It’s rather gory and quite descriptive in regards to the diseased adults and their slaughter of the children, so it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted and it certainly made me feel a bit queasy at times, but it makes it incredibly easy to visualise the danger that all of the kids are in, which causes you to genuinely fear for them, especially when you come to the realisation that literally any of them could die within the next few pages; no one is safe, and this is a very refreshing change from the norm, when it is guaranteed that the main characters will not die, no matter what – there are no get out clauses or deus ex machina – the very last person you’d expect to often dies, and this makes The Dead all more unpredictable and therefore enjoyable.

The novel is really well thought out with accurate insights, such as the fact that we would need range of people – chemists, entertainers, musicians, doctors, farmers and engineers–not just fighters–to survive and maintain sanity in a post-apocalyptic world. With a new dilemma every couple of pages or so The Dead never gets boring or repetitive; on the contrary, I found it one of the most addictive reads of the year. I also thought it was a nice touch for it to feature well-known places around London like the Imperial War Museum, which makes The Dead even more realistic and shows how well-researched it is.

I really tend to avoid gory/bloody/zombie books, but this is definitely an exception to my rule – it’s extremely realistic (well, as much as it can be), especially the ways in which the characters react to events, and well-crafted – so much so that you almost get an adrenalin rush whilst reading it.

You don’t even need to have read The Enemy to enjoy The Dead, though I really recommend that you do as it’s just as brilliant and helps to explain a few details too. I like the fact that it is very blunt, which shocks the reader a great deal, but makes the story a lot better for it. I also liked the alternating viewpoints – not just between Ed and Jack (the two main characters) but the reader eventually ‘hears’ almost every character’s narration, which enables you to hear titbits of their background, their view on life and version of events, which gives you a better sense of their character.

However, I do have a few slight niggles with the book, namely that I felt the characters acted older than their stated age, but in the world they now reside, I suppose they would be forced to grow up pretty fast in order to survive, plus what they have all been through has inevitably made them hardened. Another thing is that I found there were a few too many kids to keep track of who was who, especially when they’re given nicknames like ‘Jibber-jabber’, but that is being incredibly nit-picky.

It’s a bleak version of our future, where mere children are left to fend for themselves against vicious diseased adults who are out for their flesh but, frankly, it’s brilliant and you’ll enjoy it even if you normally abhor this genre of book, though as I mentioned, it’s definitely NOT for the faint of heart!
[SYNOPSIS: 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.]


Post a Comment

I really appreciate comments and try my best to reply to all of them :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...