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elenalikesbooks

Elena Likes Books

I am an avid reader of YA, fantasy, and romance, a librarian, and a writer of fantasy short fiction.

Currently reading

Cut & Run
Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius
John Joseph Adams
The Thousand Names
Django Wexler
The Duchess Hunt
Jennifer Haymore
The Enemy (The Enemy #1) - Charlie Higson This book has a pretty great (if not entirely original) premise: A year and a half ago, everyone over 16 contracted a horrible disease that killed almost all the adults and turned the rest into what are essentially zombies. A group of ~50 kids has been making do by turning a Waitrose grocery store into their fortress, but food is becoming scarce, the grown-ups/zombies are becoming bolder, and kids are getting picked off one by one. Then comes word that Buckingham Palace is safe--no grown-ups, a walled yard, and the beginnings of agriculture. But first the kids of Waitrose have to get there through miles of hungry grown-ups, and even if they manage it, Buckingham Palace may not be the paradise it seems.Sounds pretty good, right? It should have been.My main problem with this book is that I didn't really connect to the characters at all, an issue that has two sources:1) The book is written from an omniscient point of view. Not rotating points of view, mind, but true omniscient--the book skips around from one person's thoughts to another on a sentence to sentence basis. And the cast of characters is huge, with 50 Waitrose kids plus all the other folks they bump into. Hell, we even get one or two zombie perspectives. This means that the reader spends so little time with the characters that it's hard to form a connection. I like to crawl inside a character's head and live there, but I couldn't do that with this book.2) Characters drop like flies. In this setting, it's super realistic to have a character die about every 20 pages, but it had the effect of numbing me. There were so many deaths that none of them really had the emotional impact that they ought to have had, and it also meant that I didn't want to get too attached to any of the characters, because there was about a 25% chance that the character would be dead before the end of the book, if not significantly sooner. In this case, I feel that Higson's emphasis on realism came at the expense of good storytelling.Another problem I had is that I couldn't make heads or tails of the disease itself. I'm no biologist, but I am a fantasist, and worlds have to adhere to an internal logic. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the internal logic was here. The two things that bothered me the most: 1) How the hell does darkness/subterraneanness prevent zombification? The cannibal couple was creepy as hell, but I was so confused when the dude just disintegrated when he got up to the surface. WTF? 2) I was also really confused by the fact that the zombies still had vestiges of personality. I can understand the killer instinct, I can understand the mob mentality that makes them smart in a pack. What I can't understand is zombies that go to department stores to get some new threads, and zombies that hate kids due to having been teased in school when they were young. I...just...what?I really love this sort of premise (one of my favorite books as a pre-teen was The Girl Who Owned a City), and Higson has written some really deliciously creepy scenes. I'm a little bit curious about how he'll develop things in the next book, but the omniscient POV that prevented me from really getting into this book will likely prevent me from picking up the second.