- Charlie Higson
Publisher: UK - Puffin
They'll chase you. They'll rip you open. They'll feed on you...When the sickness came, every parent, policeman, politician - every adult - fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry. Only children under fourteen remain, and they're fighting to survive. Now there are rumours of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city - down alleyways, in deserted houses, underground - the grown-ups lie in wait. But can they make it there - alive?
How to describe this book? A modern version of Lord of the Flies with zombies is probably most accurate but doesn’t cover the full exhilaration of the ride, the excitement, tense atmosphere and emotion of this book. In a London where everyone over the age of 15 was infected with a disease that either killed them or turned them into flesh eating, mindless crazy people, only kids remain. Hold up in Waitrose together and desperate running out of food and hope, a group of young teens look after even younger kids when they are given some hope by a visitor…
Pretty much from the start you are aware that this isn’t a safe world. There are many dangers especially from the adult – or the mothers and fathers as the kids call them. Death is brutal and common. The children see violence – bloody and frequent and no-one is safe. Main characters are not guaranteed to make to the back cover. And frequently don’t. There is a wide cast of characters – leaders, followers, thinkers, warriors and survivors which cover pretty much any point of view. Some you will love, some you grow to love and others you don’t understand at all.
As well as plenty of action and fight scenes, there are enough decisions and thoughts to give the book real depth as well as being a rollicking good read. The spooky scenes of a deserted Oxford Street and empty London are enough to send a shiver up any local’s spine, while the battles will take your breath away with intensity and raw emotion. You are drawn in and just can’t out the book down. These children are all too young to be making life and death, good and evil decisions but they have no choice. I was glued to their story with my eyes and my heart. I immediately ordered the second book in this series, The Dead, as soon as I finished and I can’t wait to see what Charlie Higson has in store for the rest of the series!
Recommended for fans of Jonathan Mayberry and Michael Grant. 9 out of 10