Second Review for the day. Lol you are getting all of the monster book reviews for the next few weeks. Third one coming to you soon!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The Dead by Charlie Higson
Synopsis From The Book
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.
Horror – Monsters | YA – M | Major Deaths, Cannibalism, Gun Violence | Friendship, Survival, Courage and Fear
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Alright! Onward! I’m not sure how this series has seven books, but it does. Time to find out how!
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Well! This is how it has seven books! It wasn’t the same set of characters, but I became so attached. I’m happy with how they are linking up, but I wish I knew what happened to some of the others. I really hope future books shows them.
The book opens with Ed and Jack being attacked at their school. It is shortly after the infection really began. Ed talks about the Scared Kid video, that first showed the Grown-Ups. He didn’t think they could be real then.
He and Jack escape back to the rest of their friends and the group decides they have to leave. The next day they do and rescue a girl who was trapped in an office. The group splits up into two, one going into London and the other to the countryside. Jack and Ed going opposite ways. On the way to the countryside, Ed’s group walks into a trap of teenager monsters. They are saved by a man (Un-infected) driving a bus. There are other kids on the bus.
The bus races to London and they learn that the country side isn’t much safer. They find Jack’s group and bring them to the bus. The bus travels south through London. The group gets closer. Greg, the adult, however, is infected. He kills his son and the group has to flee him and other Grown-ups. They lose more friends. They make it to the Imperial War Museum and meet with other kids namely DogNut and Jordan. In order to stake their claim to be there, they have to get food. A group goes out and after an attack narrowly come back with a lot of food. The French girl, Frédérique, they saved earlier, had to be saved again and later starts acting oddly.
Jack wants to go home. So Ed, and Bam (one of their friends), travel with them. They encounter a massive amounts of monsters and get out with an explosion. Bam shoots Jack by accident. Then Greg, who hadn’t died before, kills Bam and cuts Jack’s stomach. Ed gets Jack home before Jack dies. Then Ed lights the house on fire so that Jack does not get eaten. Back with the others, Frédérique is changing into a monster.
Ed tried to get back to the others but is surrounded. David’s group of boys saves him and they go to the museum. Ed finds out about Frédérique and has to toss her out cuz he can’t kill her. He then talks with the others. That’s when they see the raging fire coming towards them. Ed’s group packs up the museum and food on a truck and flees with David’s group. Jordan’s group stays until the fire is too close and they are overrun by monsters.
David and Ed’s group try to make it across the Thames River by boat but there is a hold up of crashed cars. Ed’s fighters have to fight as the truck and others get across. They are separated from their group and Ed is saved by a boy named Kyle and his group. Jordan’s group saves them more and they get on a boat.
Matt, who is a member of Ed’s group and was badly injured back in the ambush of the teenagers, (beginning) has been talking about the Lamb and his Shadow, who will save the world. He takes over the boat and it breaks apart from a crash. The remaining kids get of life boats and make their way to the Tower of London. Once there Jordan takes over the place. In one year he has made them a militia, and reformed the place. They have 67 people when Small Sam and The Kid arrive.
What I Liked:
Ed; I think he is my favorite character thus far for the two groups of characters we have gotten. His growth has been the most dramatic, and I know that isn’t saying much, considering that the other kids probably have grown too. Hist story has just compelled me more and I really want to know where it goes from here.
The Scared Kid Video; This video gave me literal chills. I don’t know how to explain it. Knowing that something like this could exist makes sense, but then knowing its not a prank but real in their world? Horrifying.
Jack; His death was so tragic. All he wanted was to get home, no matter what. I didn’t cry, but my heart did ache for him.
Frédérique; She was so interesting, trying to be normal. Not trying to fall to the disease. I really did feel for her. She was so sweet. She loved her cat (although the cat not wanting to go back to her makes so much sense in retrospect). I cared for her and her change. It was so sad.
Jordan; Listen. When you need a strong person to take over, you know what sort of people those are. They can be like Davids or Blues or Jordans and in many ways I think Jordan is the better option of the three so far. He has a tight control over things, but he doesn’t have some sort of Messiah complex. His goal is survival and I respect that. He is an interesting character and a strong one at that. A different kind of leader, who I hope is important later.
DogNuts; He was a great character for the little comedy that was needed to keep this book from being too dark. Also the fact that he’s a badass fighter helps. His name is great, he’s a gamer. I respect.
Kyle; He took to Ed so quick. I can’t wait to get more of him. I know we do, considering how The Enemy ended. I want to know more about him and his story, for sure.
Character Deaths; As before, these hurt. They came and they made my skin crawl. Charlie Higson pulls no punches. And honestly, with how the world has turned around it makes sense. There has to be death to give the weight. If there wasn’t death, and character death for that matter, there wouldn’t be the wight to the world as there needs to be. That and it’s realistic. Plot armor doesn’t exist in the real world, and this book shows that in a similar way.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
I still don’t think I want Greg’s perspective. It’s interesting to know he’s the main villain but I’m just not interested in reading his story as a monster. Having his thoughts when he turned was interesting but as a monster I just don’t care.
“Not scared of the dark are you?”
“Not the dark, only what hides in it.” – pg 211