Monday, August 12, 2013

Can You Outrun the Fear?

The kids of London have survived a lot since the sickness changed all the mothers and fathers into sickos, but they have no idea about the other horrors waiting for them outside their strongholds. In Charlie Higson's third book in the Enemy series, The Fear, the kids are about to learn just how ugly things can get.

DogNut is determined to find Brooke. He isn't the only one who has lost friends or family in the fray of battle. A number of other kids are willing to leave the safety of the Tower to hike across the city and find those they lost. But traveling in London isn't as easy as it used to be. In addition to the dumb, mindless, shambling sickos, there are new kinds who have grown stronger thanks to all the kids they ate, who are growing accustomed to the sun, and who are smarter than anyone could have anticipated. DogNut and the others manage to make their way up the river, but when they get to Buckingham Palace, they find that not all groups of surviving kids are welcoming visitors out of the kindness of their hearts. Some have bigger aspirations.

For David, the ruler of the Palace, ruling all of London is all he can think about. With plenty of other kids to do his dirty work, he has plenty of time to plot against those who spurned him and those who refused to join his group.  The girl DogNut is searching for, Brooke, was the one who started it all by taking the truck full of supplies she promised him for his protection and driving off to the Natural History museum to start her own group. While David doesn't want DogNut and the others to know about the group at the museum, DogNut didn't make it this far by being stupid. In fact, he was built for this world, not for holing up in some fortress pretending the world wasn't being devoured by sickos. Unwilling to remain a virtual prisoner, DogNut and his group manages to escape the Palace and David, but what they find outside might be worse than what was hidden inside. 

Higson really has a great series going here. My only qualm about it all is that the stories aren't released in chronological order. They jump all around and each book seems to start earlier than the last, but end up later. It can be really confusing, especially when you are reading about something you know already happened, but can't quite fit the puzzle piece into the whole equation. I struggled with this a bit, but I have just allowed myself to sink into each book and enjoy it. It's a shame about the order of the books, because otherwise, this is a near perfect series. It has excitement, twists, action, and some terribly tough, butt-kicking kids! 

Even though the sickos aren't true zombies, they still love to eat little kiddies. In fact, they are learning to think and plot and hunt, which, in my opinion, makes then all the more scary. Obviously, this makes the book pretty violent at times, but all the different kids' stories come together to make a true masterpiece. While DogNut was the focus, Courtney, Brooke, Shadowman, Jester, etc. are all fabulous characters, for better or for worse, and you want to hear more and more about them. As a chapter jumps to a new character, you find yourself wanting more from the one you just finished and still dying to dive into the next story. If you can get a student into this series, you will watch them plow through every book, they are really just that good!

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