Review Blog

Nov 17 2011

The fear by Charlie Higson

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Penguin, 2011 ISBN 9780 14 132505 7
(Ages: 15+) Dystopia. The third in the series beginning with The enemy, where all adults in the world die from some horrible disease, leaving teens under 15 or so to fend for themselves, is bloodthirsty and violent from beginning to end. The enemy set the premise with groups of children aggregating together, forming small pockets of survivors in a London beset with bloody war between similar groups. Some hole themselves up in supermarkets, holding on to their realm for the food, barricading themselves in against attack, some rake over the museums (with access to weapons) and Buckingham Palace is the target of many. All groups develop various forms of loose organisation, mainly autocratic. It reads like an extension of Lord of the flies, where the kids go on unrescued, combined with the appalling future in The road.
In this book, Dognuts, the leader of a small group who have taken over the Tower of London as their patch, leads a smaller cohort to Buckingham Palace to find out what happened to another small group led by Brooke, who Dognuts admires. Along the way they meet several other cohorts of children surviving as best they can against the sickos, the adults who have survived the disease but are horribly disfigured and have a taste for children. One particularly nasty sequence involves a huge sicko who takes children as his pets, eventually killing and eating them.
This is a violent and blood thirsty story of survival, made more interesting because of the angst that exists between the leaders of each group as they vie for supremacy. Fans can find out more information from the website, and await the fourth in the series, The sacrifice, due out in 2012. But I can imagine that many will have problems with these books because of the sustained violence. Higson also writes the series, Young Bond, which has the young James Bond embroiled in all sorts of adventures.
Fran Knight

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