A red-washed close up of an eyeball with a skull in the pupil.

About the Book

Title: The Dead (The Enemy #2)
Published: 2010

Cover Story: Love It!
Adoption Certificate: YAY!
Talky Talk: Get Out Your Blood Pressure Medication…
Bonus Factors: London, Zombies
Relationship Status: This Book And I Are Repopulating the World

Cover Story: Love It!

This cover is simple, bold, and intriguing. And maybe a little intense. But that is nothing compared to what’s in between the covers. I’m going to expose my uber-nerdishness now by confessing that I may have carried it around proudly, just hoping someone would ask me about what I was reading.

The Deal:

If you haven’t read the first book in this series, The Enemy, or my review of it, never fear! Most of the events that happen in this book take place a year before we meet the Waitrose kids.

Ed and Jack are best friends and fellow students at Rowhurst. At least, they were fellow students, until everybody over the age of 14 started getting sick and dying, or worse, not dying, but staggering around in a zombified state –complete with rotting, pustulous flesh– and seeking one thing: the flesh of the kiddies.

Realizing they can’t stay at the school much longer, Jack and Ed –along with most of the members of Rowhurst’s Rugby team and a few smaller kids– head out to find a saf(er) place. The daily terror of trying to stay alive tests Jack and Ed’s friendship as they pick up more kids along the way, including a small group following one boy who’s had a ‘spiritual vision’ and started a crazy new religion and a French girl and her cat, before they find themselves traveling into London proper with Greg, a butcher by trade, who claims he’s immune to the disease…

Adoption Certificate: YAY!

Paper doll family (mom, dad, and two children) with a red heart above them and a paper cut out house next to them

I would adopt any one of these kids! Even Brooke, Courtney and Aleisha, with their attitude and the annoying-ness of what I can only imagine as ‘Chav-speak’. I would adopt Jack and Bam and Ed, and bring all the younger kids over here with promises like there are no cats in America, and the streets are paved with cheese!

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Like its prequel, this is not a kissing book, but there is a little bit of ‘liking’ that goes on, and a couple of sweet moments in between all the running and fighting to stay alive.

Talky Talk: Get Out Your Blood Pressure Medication…

This book literally gave me heart palpitations. Higson once again packs so much action into the story that it’s hard to believe he’s also able to give such detailed, fully-realized characters, making you care so damned much that the fighting and dying hits you that much harder.

Also, Charlie Higson, sir, you are brutal. First off, I’ve waited over a YEAR to find out what happened to Blue and Maxie and Small Sam (light of my life) and I FINALLY get my hands on this book, only to find that it’s about a whole new set of kids!!!! And then you make me care for them in the first few pages. This book, if it’s possible, is even more ferocious than the first one, and there were many times when I blurted ‘eeewww-blech!’ while reading. Charlie Higson, why you gotta kill off your characters after you make me love them?

Bonus Factor: London

A street in London featuring Big Ben, a red telephone box, and a double-decker bus

Oh city that I want to live in one day when I’m rich, you are the perfect setting for any story! Even a terrifying one with zombies! There’s a lot of awesome London in this book, including the Imperial War Museum! Seriously, what better place to live when the zombies are trying to gnaw at you, than a place stocked full of weapons!

Bonus Factor: Zombies

Rick from Walking Dead stands in front of double doors that say "Don't Open, Dead Inside".

In a time when authors are pushing the boundaries of fantasy with their romantic tales of faeries and weres and the odd sparkly vampire, it’s awesome to read an inventive story that doesn’t try to make its monster cuddly. Higson’s zombies are terrifying–he even bridges the divide between slow zombies and fast zombies in this one–and GROSS. Just like zombies should be. We do get a little bit more in the way of information about the disease, too, as well as some characters we recognize (Shudder). And as always, I LOVE that he has the kids referring to the older zombies as ‘mothers’ and ‘fathers’.

Relationship Status: This Book And I Are Repopulating the World

I already had the first book’s baby, since there were no adults around to teach us about safe sex, but now this book and I decided that it’s our DUTY, really, to make sure the human race doesn’t die out. So it’s a good thing that our relationship is as intense as the times we live in.

Full Disclosure, I received my copy of The Dead because Erin is AWESOME and braved the children’s section at Waterstone’s (they apparently don’t HAVE a YA section, what the cuss?) in Surrey when she visited the UK, because this book isn’t out in the US until June! So I suggest you coerce/make deals with/beg anyone you know in the UK to send you this book, or go to Amazon.com/UK and order it now!

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.