Mitchel Broussard's Reviews > The Dead

The Dead by Charlie Higson
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May 17, 11

bookshelves: apocalypse, series, thriller-suspense, dystopia, ya-fiction, summer-2011
Read from May 13 to 17, 2011

The Enemy was a complete and utter surprise for me personally. I hadn't read a good no-holds-bar zombie gore-fest since King's Cell, and hadn't expected a teen-targeted YA novel to be that kind of book. It was fresh, ferocious and un-putdownable. It's sequel (or rather, prequel) had a lot to live up to because of that. And, for the most part it does, but it also didn't do anything new, either.

So this one takes place a year before the first book, and focuses on an entirely new crew of kids, who are introduced and usually murdered 20 pages later. Higson still manages to give each kid a unique attribute or personality to keep tabs on them all, and he is most certainly not afraid to off main characters, almost to a laughably extreme extent. The focusing relationship between best friends Jack and Ed is really nicely handled and evolves beautifully within the context of a zombie apocalypse, but other than that I wasn't a fan of many of the new kids. I mostly just wanted the Holloway crew from the first book back.

Another thing that felt wrong her was the pacing. It is very much relevant to a zombie apocalypse because most of the plot is the main characters shambling from one safe house to another, but there were few actual tense scenes peppered throughout. The Enemy's really scary scenes still stick with me today (those cannibalistic adults were terrifying), but The Dead hasn't got two really horribly scary scenes it could rub together to make a third. I felt sorry for characters when they met their doom, but I was never so utterly forlorn and aghast as I was in book one when these crimes against children took place.

The last bit of negativity I will peck at would be the ending. Book one ended with a cliffhanger, seeing the zombies organized and building an army. Well, none of that is resolved anywhere here because this is a prequel, obviously. Okay, I thought, third book, hopefully. Then this book ends with an oddity of a dual cliffhanger that I won't get into for spoiler reasons.

My guess is that Higson will combine the two groups for the third outing of the series and address both books' endings at the same time... but that may be wishful thinking. All I know is that this outing of the zombie series just wasn't as fresh and fun as its predecessor. I have high hopes for the third now, but I really am afraid that the surprising brutality that was caught in the original will never be so shocking again.
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Reading Progress

05/13/2011 page 1
0.0% "Bought this from the UK for a friend's B-day, so getting to read a month before its US release!"
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