An Enemy on Page
They prey on the young, they take over the night, The Enemy is everywhere - or at least that's what it feels like when reading Charlie Higson's acclaimed zombie series. Higson and his publishers released the final volume of The Enemy on October 29. Fittingly titled The End, this last installment has been coined as the epic battle that wraps up the seven volumes.
The entire series takes place in London and its surrounding suburbs. It begins in Waitrose supermarket and follows a young group of survivors and their attempt to rebuild after a harsh winter has depleted their resources. Unfortunately for the children, the mothers and fathers have the same goal. That's what the children call them, “mothers,” “fathers,” “sickos”: everyone over the age of sixteen has gone out of their minds, and it seems that their sole purpose is to eat. The concept strikes terror into readers and causes sleepless nights for many a young bookworm.
Higson’s writing is terrifyingly vivid. Each page reveals another horror that seems insane, though due to Higson’s refined writing these impossible nightmares transfer seamlessly onto the page. At points in the books it feels as if the sickos could launch out of the text and take hold of the reader.
While Higson’s writing is excellent and vibrant in nature, his stories can feel disjointed or over-stressed at pointes. Each installment takes place over a short period of time, yet so many plot points are hit with each book that the series could stand to be extended further. Although the story can feel confusing, Higson’s countless hours of research and outlining can be seen through the wonderfully imaginative twists and turns the plot takes.
Higson has written and directed for television, as well as writing many other books, including the Young Bond series. By the time the first Enemy book was released, Higson had been in the literary world for decades. In addition to his time as an author and screenwriter, Higson fronted a UK based band known as the “Higsons.” The creative edge he developed from his variety of works is apparent in the Enemy series’ dialogue and plot, and the amount of depth added to over fifteen different characters, of a variety of ages, gives the series of books an overall finished and thought-out style.
Despite the occasional confused or overstressed plot point, which Higson’s skillfully crafted writing often cancels out, the Enemy series is a solid read for the weekend zombie enthusiast, to the horror book lover. With the perfect amount of plot, and action, Higson’s newly completed series is sure to please.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.