What I like about a good zombie narrative is that you never quite know who’s gonna die. The Enemy by Charles Higson is no exception.
London has been over-run by infected adults who highly resemble zombies—flesh is melting off their faces, they move in seemingly unstoppable hordes, and they eat kids for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Why only kid’s meals? When the disease came, everyone under the age of 16 was unaffected, but now thousands of fresh-flesh youth are left to fight off the zombie-like abominations while finding food and running the new world. Where is the best place to rule in an over-run London? How about Buckingham palace? Our unfortunate heroes make their way across a post-apocalyptic cityscape to find other kids, but now they have to face factions of warring teenagers, which highlights the old zombie question: Who really is the enemy here?
I like The Enemy for all its traditional zombie elements and I think Higson did them well. There is significant suspense throughout multiple battles, though the most hair-raising storyline revolves around the exploits of a single character who gets separated from the group. He lands in a lair of “zombies”, left to desperately devise a way of escape alone, only to fall into a situation that I would consider much worse!
Speaking of escape, don’t get too attached to any character, you never know how long they’re going to last in this book. Though I whole heartedly respect an author willing to sacrifice main character immunity, this constant risk led to having a hard time connecting to characters, coupled with the struggle to learn the new ones along the way.
Overall I enjoyed The Enemy and recommend it with an anticipating eye on the following sequels: The Dead, The Fear, and The Sacrifice.
Review by Gigi, CLP-Brookline