Do you ever find yourself reading books that are surprisingly similar in one way or another that you never intended to? I realized today that I've not read a book that wasn't set in England for something like a month and half now. All my reading has been more or less British for a month and a half, and the connection only just now dawned on me. I wouldn't say that the books are terribly similar but for their setting, but I like to mix it up quite a bit, and it always surprises me when I've fallen into an unrealized pattern. The Enemy was the book that started the trend. It's the first and so far, only, book I've read of the BEA plunder, though I've just started another book that I could've gotten at BEA but got from a different source.
The Enemy is a young adult title set in a London decimated by disease that turns anyone over the age of 16 into a rotting zombie, unable to speak, and intent only on survival by devouring the healthy children who have managed to survive in a world where grown-ups really are the enemy. The story centers on two groups of kids who have taken refuge in two supermarkets, one in a poorer area and one in a more well off area, whose numbers are dwindling daily. When the two groups who are rapidly running out of food and supplies and are being daily threatened by encroaching grown-ups meet a strange new kid, they're forced to choose whether to unite their forces and have to decide whether to take a big risk for a chance at a better, safer life.
I found myself thinking repeatedly while I was reading The Enemy that it is a book that would be great for boys. It's got blood and guts and assorted unpleasantness. More importantly, though, it's got the pace of an action movie. Its crowd of characters is always fighting against zombie grown-ups and amongst themselves, and there are countless "action movie" moments where just when you think the hero is safe, the next threat is already being revealed. This emphasis on action and moving the plot forward can make the story seem a bit shallow at times. That said, though, given the action driven plot and the sheer number of characters in The Enemy, Higson does an admirable job of fleshing out an impressive array of main characters, giving us ways to understand who they were before and how they became what they are after the disease struck and civilization crumbled.
Even though I would hardly call myself the ideal audience for The Enemy, I really enjoyed it. It's definitely a fast-moving action-packed romp of a post-apocalypse story that even, for a few fleeting moments, contemplates the possibility of the survival of goodness, loyalty, and doing what's right even when the world has gone horribly wrong.
Read other reviews at...
My Favourite Books
Carrie's YA Bookshelf
A Chair, a Fireplace, & a Tea Cozy
P.S. I've still got some books to give away. Check it out!