Author: Charile Higson
Release Date (U.S.): May 11, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Genre: Science Fiction,Fantasy, Horror
Rating: 5/5 stars
Description From Goodreads:
They'll chase you. They'll rip you open. They'll feed on you...When the sickness came, every parent, policeman, politician - every adult - fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry. Only children under fourteen remain, and they're fighting to survive. Now there are rumors of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city - down alleyways, in deserted houses, underground - the grown-ups lie in wait. But can they make it there - alive?
The world has been hit with an unknown disease that turns everyone over 16 into zombie like creatures that seek to kill the children they left behind. The book is set in London and follows the saga of a ragtag group of kids as they try to stay alive in a world turned upside down.
The kids have found refuge in a local supermarket. They have been there a year, but things are getting desperate as the older kids have to travel father from their store base to find food to keep them alive. The older kids know it is only a matter of time until they cannot hold out any longer and are looking for a way out. They find it when an older boy arrives telling them to come to Buckingham Palace, where they have set up a safe zone, with food and comfort within the palace walls. Knowing their plight is grim, the older kids decide they should leave the shelter of the store and make a dash to the palace. The story follows them as they make their way across London. Who will survive the trip and when they get there what will they find?
Another part of the story is little Sam, a nine-year-old with an imagination who is stolen from the supermarket grounds by the grownups in the opening pages of the books. He keeps his wits about him and is able to escape only to find himself alone in the big city of London. The book follows his adventures as he strives to stay alive and make his way back to the little sister he left behind in the supermarket. He is a wonderful character who just wants to be a kid again, but is forced to grow up too fast in a world where everyone must take care of themselves.
The book is fast paced with plenty of zombie type violence. The world created in the novel is a dangerous and many characters do not survive their odyssey. We never learn why the new disease has affected grownups, but it really doesn't matter. These decomposing, flesh eating creatures are the things nightmares are made of. But they are not the only thing the kids have to worry about. All is not as it seems at Buckingham Palace and the kids have to determine who besides the diseased grownups are the enemy.
At its core the book makes one think about how children and young teens would be able to cope and survive if left in a world without adult authority. The characters find themselves longing for the structure and love their families provided, and note the unfairness of how they had to grow up too fast. The characters are wonderfully developed and this allows the reader to care about, cheer for and mourn with them. There were twists and turns in the novel I didn't see coming, something that is refreshing. I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down. There is a prequel book that will be published in North America later this year. I can't wait to read more about the fascinating world Charlie Higson has created in this series.
Rating: An outstanding read, don't miss this one