Release Date: May 22nd, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic
Source: I bought it.
Description from Goodreads: THE DEAD begins one year "before" the action in THE ENEMY, just after the Disaster. A terrible disease has struck everyone sixteen and over, leaving them either dead or a decomposing, flesh-eating creature. The action starts in a boarding school just outside London, where all the teachers have turned into sickos. A few kids survive and travel by bus into the city. The bus driver, an adult named Greg, seems to be unaffected by the disease. Then he begins to show the dreaded signs: outer blisters and inner madness. The kids escape Greg and end up at the Imperial War Museum. A huge fire in South London drives them all to the Thames, and eventually over the river to the Tower of London. It is there they will meet up with the kids in THE ENEMY in Book 3, THE FEAR.
Review: The blurb for this book is terrible. I know. This happens, and then this happens, oh and then they end up here and this happens. It's like the blurb writer didn't even try. For that reason you might be thinking that this book is not worth reading. I know I do when I read crappy summaries. Well, I can assure you that this book IS worth reading, and it is worth reading in a big way. This was my first read of 2013, and if the rest of them go this way, this is shaping up to be a big year.
I loved this book. Maybe a little less than the first because that book was a major BAMF, but this book was close. So close. I can assure you that this will probably still be on my list of favorites at the end of this year and the year is just beginning. You get attached to the characters. And the suspense. If you are looking for a book that forces you to keep flipping the pages and read late into the night, this is your series. Do you like zombies? Do you like gross and descriptive scenes? Like being terrified and holding your breath? Being propelled to drink to relieve the stress?
Pulling your hair out? Excessive flatulence from nerves? Inability to sleep because you just have to finish? Ugly crying? (And I mean ugly.) More drinking? Late night eating? Hugging your dog until she squeals? (I may or may not have done all of these things. I'll never tell.) But clearly this is one of those books. You can read this if you haven't read book one, but I wouldn't recommend it, because The Enemy is fabulous.
One of my favorite things about Charlie Higson's books is the writing. It's simple, uncluttered, flows well, and yet still manages to load you up on sensory language without overdoing it. His books are perfect for every reader. If you love amazing world-building and detail, you will love his books. But if you are one of those readers that have to have a snappy plot and fast pacing, you will enjoy them as well. The only reader I wouldn't recommend them for are readers who don't like being scared. Stay far, far away. Although I will say that I didn't find this one as scary as the last.
Once again, he kills off the characters I was least expecting to get killed off. The ones I got attached to. But the amazing thing is that I got all upset because there was no one I liked left, but then somehow the author is ace at developing the remaining characters so you fall in love with them and are okay with moving on. I don't know how he does that. Because I am one of the most stubborn readers around. I was ready to throw the book at the wall. But because I have faith in this author, I stuck it out. At this rate though I am concerned there will be no characters left by the time I finish this series. And I hear it is SEVEN books long! WHAT?! If he keeps killing them off at this rate, what will he write about? Haha! But I'm happy it will be that long. I love the world and the characters and I am anxious to know more.
I guess I should summarize the plot, but lord knows I hate plot summaries. I'll make it quick before I go. This book takes place before the events of The Enemy. There are a bunch of boys at a private school and all the teachers have turned into zombies/sickos/grown ups. They escape there and are ambushed by a group of younger zombies who are decimating their numbers. An adult bus driver named Greg rolls up in a monster bus and saves them. They are worried about him because he is an adult and all adults so far have gotten the disease, but he seems fine so maybe not! Well, he starts developing symptoms. And they must escape him. I don't know whether or not to keep telling you more or not because I don't want to ruin it, but the blurb basically lays out the entire plot which sucks, but much more happens than that, so you should still read it. Definitely read it.
And now I'm gonna go. Because I ramble. And there is nothing to criticize. I love Charlie Higson. I love London. I love zombies. I love his characters. And I love this series. *grin*