Saturday, July 5, 2014

What Would You Sacrifice?

Life in London hasn't been easy, but with strongholds going up to protect the kids who survived, everyone stops thinking about not getting eaten on a daily basis and starts thinking about how to put their lives back together. In the fourth book of Charlie Higson's Enemy series, The Sacrifice, the kids of London have to remember, danger is all around them. 

Little Sam survived being kept by an adult for a future snack, but now all he can think about is finding his sister. It is so hard to get from one place to another that friends and family members are scattered in strongholds all over the city. Jordan won't let him leave, but Sam is determined to get to his sister. Even Ed, the nicest guy around, thinks the idea of traipsing across the badlands to find a girl who might already be dead is a bad idea. When the group saves a strange girl named Tish from a horde of sickos, Sam and The Kid get the opportunity they were looking for: a girl with the gumption and determination to leave the Tower of London and help Sam and The Kid find Sam's sister, Ella. 

Meanwhile, Shadowman has been doing some traveling of his own. He has been following the nasty father, Saint George, and George's crew. He is the only on who knows the scary new potential of the mothers and fathers. No longer the stupid, shambling, mindless eaters, they have started to hunt and plot against the surviving kids. Something even more dangerous is happening- they are also beginning to congregate and Saint George's group is getting larger and larger. Soon, they will have the numbers and power to overthrow even the most secure stronghold in London. The problem? The kids Shadowman comes into contact with don't believe the adults are changing... until it is too late. 

My pet peeves with this series continue to be frustrating, but at least one has been mitigated. I still struggle to pick up one of these books and get right into it because there isn't a good recap in the beginning. I find myself looking up a plot summary for the previous book and reading reviews to remind myself what happened in the book I read more than a year ago. Not ideal. I really wish Higson did a better job of taking a moment to catch you up before jumping right into the insanity, just so I knew what was bloody happening! However, it seems the last two books have gone in chronological order, which I appreciate. At first, the books bounced around, but lately, one follows the next, which makes it far easier for the reader to understand exactly when and where things are happening. 

As a story, this series just never lets up. Even though it is a long series, every book is packed with mystery and excitement (or terror). I find myself sucked right in and reluctant to let go. The idea of the adults learning to reason again and plot against the kids is a thought so creepy it gave me actual nightmares! I think this series continues to be a strong plot, writing, and entertainment form the first book to the last, and I think that is a testament to Higson's writing. It just doesn't get old with this series! I think my favorite part of this story is Sam and The Kid, as they are so sweet and innocent yet left to fend for themselves in this ugly world where the flesh-eating adults are the least of your worries. Still, the Shadowman story line is fascinating as well. I can't imagine having all this important knowledge and no one listening to you. He warns kids over and over again not to underestimate Saint George and his crew, but they just won't listen to him, and his guilt over watching the result is palpable. 

This series can certainly be gruesome at times, but if you have a kid who watches "The Walking Dead," or any other zombie stories, they should be fine with this series. The interesting part is the complete lack of sexy times so far. I find more parents and teachers find the sexy times to be more objectionable than the violence, so this story would make a great, captivating story that is relatively unobjectionable for readers craving more mature material. Even though the book is long, it reads really fast, which makes it perfect for a struggling reader who wants mature material. Higson sure knows his stuff!

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