Jo's Reviews > The Dead

The Dead by Charlie Higson
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's review
Sep 20, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: ya, hometown-ya, 2012
Read from September 12 to 13, 2012

Right, so I’m not entirely sure what to do with this review. Writing reviews for series kind of makes me anxious because on one hand I want to talk about it and entice you and hypnotise you with my words to make you want to read this book. Because you should read it as it’s fantastic.

But on the other hand I am very aware that the majority of the people who will be reading this review won’t have read The Enemy (my review), the first book in this series. Now, I’m not saying this is because I am unique and original and like to read against the grain (can even you do that?). But, I have snooped on Goodreads and in blog land and, in comparison to other YA books, there are so few reviews for this series!
Which is sad for two reasons: One, this is a series and an author that deserves your time. I’m talking to you, dear reader, who grumbles that all YA books are getting samey and boring and there all safe and blaaaah. And also two, I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ALL ABOUT IT.

Of course, there are people who have read this book and they will be who I choose to be in my team first in the inevitable YA Readers vs Zombies that will happen… eventually. Especially Erin who got me involved in this series.
So I have to kind of make you want to read this book (but first The Enemy) at the same time as telling you absolutely zilch about it.
This is why I usually write letters or poems about series. I take the easy way out. But not with this book because there’s something about Mr Higson’s books that makes me want to be brave and fearless and… um… other things. And seeing as I’m not going to daub myself in blood and launch myself into a gaggle* of zombies armed only with a cricket bat and a Cornetto, you’re getting a review.

*cracks knuckles*

Let’s do this.
I liked this book and I liked it a lot. I am very aware that in my review of The Enemy I used the other ‘l’ word. I did love The Enemy and I liked this one. The story is just as great; fast-paced, exciting and full of twists and turns that genuinely surprised me.
I guess the main ‘problem’ (and it wasn’t even a problem) was the fact that I just didn’t connect with the characters as much as I did with Maxie, Blue, Arran and the rest of the gang. I’m not sure whether it was because this book was more about the story and the physical journey as opposed to the connections and the relationships between the characters in the first book. I guess in that way, because I felt a little bit removed from the characters, I found this book a lot less creepy. The first book made me shiver at the thought of children running around London (and, presumably the rest of the country) trying to fight adults who want to eat their brains. Braaaains. I felt their hearts pound as they peered through the glum darkness after they heard a soft scuffle, I felt their helplessness when the truth that they were never going to see their parents again finally sunk in and I felt their horror when they saw their friends die in horrible, vile ways.

However, that’s not to say that this book lacked emotion. One scene in particular (Floppy Dog) was so moving, I had to blink a bit fast because…. Floppy Dog. I just think it lacked the heart-wrenching ‘oomph’ the first book had.

And also, another tiny problem, seeing as I learnt pretty early on that Mr Higson likes to SLAUGHTER his character, I was kind of expecting it in this book. So when the characters that I had become attached to got cornered by a snarling pack of Mothers and Fathers or, actually, if they got a bit of a sniffle, it wasn’t difficult to guess that their future wasn’t bright… or long.

ALSO and this is a
proper spoiler for The Enemy and The Dead: (view spoiler)


I actually preferred the story to the The Dead, though. Maybe it’s because I knew that this book was a prequel and I knew how it would end (SAM!) but I found that it had a lot more structure to it and you could actually see why they were going to these places as opposed to just accepting that they were.
A large part of that was because of the setting. You probably know I am a huge geek. I love museums and I love history. So throw in some zombies at the Tower of London and The Imperial War Museum and I am one happy lady. Also… GENIUS. In all these films where the characters fall over themselves to find the nearest shopping centre and supermarket but I want to be in the gang that goes to either a place that was built for keeping the enemy out (or… in duh duh duhhhh) or a building full of weapons. Plus, there is bound to be a Pret a Manger or a Costa Coffee nearby that you could plunder.
There’s one of those bad boys on every corner in London.

Also, a bit randomly, I have mentally cast Christopher Eccleston as Greg. Because I always seem to associate him with turning nasty when zombies are about.

I already have the third book, The Fear, lined up so I can read it before The Sacrifice comes out at the end of this month. And then, of course, the films.

OK, I’m joking, there aren’t any films of this series. And that thought alone is making me as sad as Floppy Dog.

You can read this review and lots of other exciting things on my blog, Wear the Old Coat.
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Reading Progress

09/12/2012 page 78
17.0% "I need to stop getting emotionally attached to Mr Higson's characters. Another one bites the dust. No... wait... another three bite the dust. No wait... OK, I'm just going to accept that a lot of dust gets bitten in this book. *sobs quietly*" 3 comments
09/13/2012 page 327
72.0% "Floppy Dog." 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Erin !!!!!!!!
no words my friend. no words.

message 2: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo I am genuinely anxious.

But excited! :D

Erin Awww, I appreciate the shout-out. And guess what? I have The Fear sitting on my bookshelf right now! Excitement!!!

(view spoiler)

Your reviews make me so happy. :)

message 4: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Thanks Erin (both for your comment and introducing me to this series!) You're too sweet. :)

(view spoiler)

Have you pre-ordered The Sacrifice?

Erin I haven't pre-ordered it and probably won't, because I have been getting them from the library. I am considering purchasing them because I like them that much, but we'll see. It depends if it finishes as strong as it began. :)

Laura Yeah, I know I’ve said it before, but damn…I love your reviews, Jo!
Must run away before I click on spoilers! :)

message 7: by Fabianne (new)

Fabianne I was told that the movie "Don't Grow up" has the same plot of this book, Have you watched it yet?

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