Tag Archives: zombies

Book Review: THE HUNTED by Charlie Higson

*Synopsis contains spoilers for previous books in The Enemy series — review spoiler-free:)*

Published 4th September 2014 by Puffin Books.

20550277Goodreads Synopsis: The Hunted is Charlie Higson’s sixth terrifying installment in the thrilling The Enemy series. The sickness struck everyone over fourteen. First it twisted their minds. Next it ravaged their bodies. Now they roam the streets – Crazed and hungry The others had promised that the countryside would be safer than the city. They were wrong. Now Ella’s all-alone except for her silent rescuer, Scarface – and she’s not even sure if he’s a kid or a grown-up. Back in London, Ed’s determined to find her. But getting out of town’s never been more dangerous- because coming in the other direction is every SICKO in the country. It’s like they’re being called towards the capital and nothing is going to stop them…In the penultimate book in The Enemy series, the survivors’ stories cross with chilling consequences

My Review: I was so incredibly excited when this came through the letterbox! I’ve been a fan of The Enemy series pretty much since it began, and the first book was the second title I ever reviewed here. (I was eleven, ignore the awfulness:P) Higson is one of my favourite writers in the horror genre.

Needless to say, though, I’m always terrified when the latest installment of the story is released – partially because Higson is like JK Rowling and loves to kill characters I like, but also because I’m scared I won’t love the latest book as much as the previous one. However, I dived into The Hunted with pretty high expectations, and all of them were met. I really loved it.

I love siblings Ella and Sam in these books – Sam is a lot more central to the plot though, and the focus has never been entirely on Ella.. I was so glad The Hunted focuses largely on her. She’s such a small but brave girl and makes for a great protagonist. I loved her even more after this book. Her bond with Scarface, the unlikely ally she picks up along her journey, was really memorable and the plot twist that spirals from their friendship was so unpredictable – as was most of the plot!

I love horror books but I’m rarely genuinely freaked out by events in them – but Charlie Higson’s books are exceptions. I should probably be used to jump-scares and gory plot twists hiding around the corner in his books by now, but Charlie Higson is amazing at weaving eerie tension into his stories, and I found myself again jumping at the most horrific bits.

The only thing I disliked a little was the structure… I can’t actually remember if it’s how the other books were written, though! I was expecting alternating chapters between the two different groups of characters the story’s focused on, but the first half was one focus, then after a certain point it switched. Though I did enjoy that I do love alternating chapters more!

Overall, The Hunted was thrilling, gory, emotional and terrifying – just as I’d expected! I loved the characters Higson’s focused on for this instalment, and the story was so original and clever, with a genius ending that’s gotten me really eager to read the last book. There’s a lot of foreshadowing for the events in the next title, and I would talk about them more but I’m scared I’ll give spoilers… I’ll just say that I can tell the final book is going to be incredible. If you haven’t yet started The Enemy series, I highly recommend you do – and if you’re up to date on it, it’s definitely worth rushing to the nearest book store as soon as this is released later this week! (:

My Rating:

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I received a copy of The Hunted from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

ZOM-B: BABY

By Darren Shan, published by Simon and Schuster.

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Kicking off Halloween Reads on my blog, I’ve got a five star review of a brilliant zombie book! Yay, awesome way to start my horror marathon! ;D

Zom-B Baby (Zom-B, #5)Goodreads Synopsis: B has spent the last few months bunking with the Angels, a group of teens dedicated to eradicating the evil dead from the face of the earth, beginning with the undead roaming the abandoned wreckage that was once London.

But the Angels’ mission is a bit more complicated than that, and B takes to the streets of a very changed London to decide: is it a mission really to be believed? But instead of answers, B finds a horror beyond imagining.

My Review: **Spoilers for people who haven’t read book one!!!**

Eek! ZOM-B!!! If you’ve been following my reviews for a while now, or my tweets, you’ll know that I am an obsessive when it comes to ZOM-B. I just love the series so much, and this title’s definitely become my favourite of the five out so far!

One thing I’d almost completely forgotten about from this series was B Smith’s nightmares in Book One. She had recurring, macabre dreams, of flesh eating babies crawling over her… (If you’ve gotten freaked out by this, avoid this series at all costs. It gets worse. 🙂 ) and then the dreams vanished because she became a zombie- therefore not needing to sleep. The nightmare themes had been abandoned in ZOM-B: so I thought. But, now the babies are back- and they’re even more terrifying! Darren Shan has managed to create another horrific creature that will keep you awake at night. Do not read this book in the dark!

As this is the fifth book, we’re nearly halfway through the series now. I was, again, slightly worried. What if this is where the plot just dies? What if the story just runs out, and then just stretched out aimlessly over the next books? I really need to stop doubting the critically acclaimed master of horror- Shan can throw in plot twists that open up new doors in the plot and leave you shocked, beyond comprehension. After a book focusing entirely on the ANGELS- teenage zombies who are more human than others, I was lured in to trusting them, wanting the series to settle with them. Then, B, being her entirely unpredictable self, has decided to take a new route, re-visiting a character that I really loved, who’s been left alone for a while!

Though I first interpreted this as “she didn’t get on with certain characters, she needed to move,” I later realised that maybe that linked back to the religious aspects of the series. B’s father was a racist and his actions sometimes influenced B’s. Was it because she was uncomfortable being part of this religious army? I think, if that was true, it had a really interesting hidden point to it. As for the re-visited character… I can’t really detail here without giving away any spoilers about the book- all I can really comment on is Darren Shan’s methods of twisting your emotions. Mr Shan, why must you make character I love suffer so much?!

B Smith, you awesome person. I hated your personality a bit in the first book… but I’ve grown so attached to you now! B’s developed so much throughout this series- and that’s definitely visible, in ZOM-B: BABY especially. I could, also, see her torn, apocalyptic version of London through her eyes so well. I felt what she felt, as well as saw what she saw. She doesn’t show it, but B really does have a lot of emotions that affect her actions in the book. I really loved her, just entirely! She also makes me laugh a lot, with her cocky retorts and insults.

Overall, I just loved ZOM-B: BABY. It’s probably the best book in the series by far yet. Darren Shan has made clever ties with events from previous books in order to create a plot-twist-ridden, pacy, thrilling book, that I was unable to put down! I love these books because they’re full of action. They’re fast paced, they’re tense… and they’re addictive. I devour each of these books in a few sittings; they’re great for fans of horror of any age to curl up with! Highly recommended, though obviously read the first four books or you will have no idea why zombie killer babies have been created and are prepared to kill people with their fangs and general freakiness. Oh, yeah… not for the faint hearted people out there…

 

My Rating:

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My copy of ZOM-B: BABY was purchased as a gift. 

The Fallen

By Charlie Higson, published by Puffin (Penguin).

The Fallen (The Enemy #5)Goodreads Synopsis: First the sickness rotted the adults’ minds. Then their bodies. Now they stalk the streets, hunting human flesh.
The Holloway crew are survivors. They’ve fought their way across London and made it to the Natural History Museum alive – just. But the fight will never end while the Enemy lives, unless there’s another way. . .
The kids at the museum are looking for a cure. All they need are medical supplies. To get them means a journey down unknown roads. Roads where not only crazed, hungry sickos hide in the shadows.
SUDDENLY IT’S NOT SO CLEAR WHO – OR WHAT – THEY’RE FIGHTING.

My Review: about a week before I read this, I read The Sacrifice (the previous book) and I was blown away by its sheer gory amazingness. I thought to myself “Nope. There is no way that The Fallen could top it.”
And then it did. So I was wrong.
Firstly, I was a bit worried because this book revisits Maxie, Blue, and the Holloway crew. They’re my favourite characters of the series! However, they’ve been pretty absent in the last couple of titles. I was a little worried it’d take me too long to get use to reading about them again.
Again, I was so wrong!

Despite Higson’s series having so many gangs, so many main characters, it was surprising how quickly I adjusted to the change (In The Sacrifice, it was about completely different people!). That was great, because I then got really absorbed into this story.
The Fallen has, probably, the best story line in the series so far! It was brilliant… And genius, in terms of how things all connected from The Sacrifice to The Fallen. If you’ve been reading this series so far, you’ll know that Sam and Ella are brother and sister, searching for each other, but both secretly think the other is dead. Well… The Fallen’s ending, including those two people, will make you cry and want to throw the book at at wall. CHARLIE HIGSON, YOU JUST DEMOLISHED MY HOPES AND DREAMS. I will say no more.

Whilst some of the Holloway crew and some of the Natural History Museum gang search to find equipment to make a cure, they encounter lots of bloody zombies on the way. As that’s going on, back at the museum two kids have gone missing and something-or someone- is murdering children slowly and building up to something big. The whole plot was very unpredictable, and it was possibly twice as gruesome as the rest of the series. Yay! Also, the origin of the disease that zombified the world was revealed in this book- and… Just… wow. honestly, I was not excepting that, and it was revealed in a very clever-and twisted- way.

Maxie was my favourite character from the first book. I think I loved her even more in this one, even though the focus on her wasn’t entirely huge. Another character I adored was Lettis. Eccentric name, loveable new character. She was a scribe who recorded the journey that she and the other people looking for a cure made. A chunk of the novel was of her diary entries of the journey and… They were just heartbreaking and extremely emotional. All of the characters, who I won’t go further into, we’re really relatable: one of Higson’s series’ strong points is that the character are so realistic that you can really relate to any of them.

Overall, The Fallen was an absolutely brilliant instalment of The Enemy series. It delved into the previously unanswered mysteries of the disease with shocking plot twists that kept me on the edge of my seat. It revisited some of my favourite (who I thought had been abandoned) characters, which I loved! The plot was extremely terrifying and so if you thought the previous books were bad, then think again. If you love gore, though, read on! This story was much darker! Every horror fan needs to read this series. It is just amazing. Enough said- go grab a copy!

My Rating:

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I received a copy of The Fallen from the publisher via an agency. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

The Sacrifice

By Charlie Higson, published by Penguin.

The Sacrifice (The Enemy #4)Goodreads Synopsis: The sickness destroyed everyone over the age of fourteen. All across London diseased adults are waiting, hungry predators with rotten flesh and ravaged minds.
Small Sam and his unlikely ally, The Kid, have survived. They’re safe with Ed and his friends at the Tower of London, but Sam is desperate to find his sister.

Their search for Ella means Sam and The Kid must cross the forbidden zone. And what awaits them there is more terrifying than any of the horror they’ve suffered so far . . .

My Review: I really don’t know why I’d not gotten around to this yet, being a huge fan of the series, but I’m glad I finally got around to it! The Sacrifice was another brilliant installment in a brilliant teen zombie series.

I was so glad to be getting back to the character of Sam! I just loved him, and have adored following his journey as he survived zombie attacks by himself, being just a small boy. I really admired his courage and bravery. He’s a great, vital character to this series! This story was pretty much focused all around him and that was just awesome. Also, of course, it focused around The Kid, Sam’s newest accomplice. I loved The Kid because he seemed very different to any of the other teenagers in the book. He was a little… strange, but I loved that. His humor and general random-ness really brightened up the book! The bond between The Kid and Sam was just beautiful, I think, and had very intriguing links to this religious warning given by a teenager that went mad after a gas poisoning. Sounds a bit random, right? It all makes sense if you read the book, haha!

The plot was really great. The focus frequently switched between Sam and The Kid’s journey, to Shadowman, a mysterious guy stalking the increasingly intelligent zombies, to Ed and his crew from The Tower, who go out in search for Sam after he disappears with The Kid and the strange new Tish (Who I thought was bad news from the start. And I was SO right). Higson handled this really well: He didn’t switch every chapter, which would’ve been annoying, but he did flip the focus leaving huge cliffhangers that meant I really couldn’t stop reading!

The descriptions, as ever, were bloody and gory and stomach churning. Obviously, though; what else could you expect from one of teen’s biggest horror writers? I absolutely loved it (don’t be fooled by the cute looking blog I have. I love gory stuff ;)). The vivid and horrific descriptions captured Charlie Higson’s apocalyptic world so brilliantly! As always, also, the settings were great. I love the whole concept behind it; how the teenagers were all taking advantage of famous London Landmarks. Not only do you get a great insight into the landmarks, like St. Paul’s and The Tower, but the author has definitely made them seem a whole lot darker. Maybe I’ll avoid St. Paul’s Cathedral if I’m ever in that area. Some creepy stuff happened there in The Sacrifice! 

Overall, The Sacrifice most definitely did not disappoint. Full of violence, action and brutal, terrifying zombies, fans of horror in any form will gobble Charlie Higson’s brilliant Enemy series up! Though, these books are especially not for the faint hearted. The plot was probably the best that I’ve seen in the books so far, although it did seem like this installment was very much about showing all of the settlements to the reader… hopefully for a huge connection to be made in the final books? The characters in The Sacrifice were great: I loved all of them so much and felt like crying a bit at some of the deaths. I’ve now jumped on to reading an ARC of The Fallen, published tomorrow, and that’s great so far, too!

My Rating:

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I received a copy of The Sacrifice from family as a Christmas Present (I KNOW, I can’t believe I never got round to it until now, either! :/). 

Zom-B: ANGELS

By Darren Shan, published by Simon and Schuster.

Zom-B Angels (Zom-B, #4)Goodreads synopsis: After spending the last few months wandering around London–a city filled with the dead–B Smith has given up hope for any sign of normal human existence. But then B finds strange signs all over the city–a “Z” plus red arrows. Following them, B finds The Angels– a group gathered in the hopes of combating the evil dead and the forces that introduced them. But all is not as it seems and it’s up to B to find out: what battle are they truly waging?

My Review: What a brilliant fourth installment to my favourite horror series! I enjoyed Zom-B: ANGELS so much. After so much action and awesome stuff happening in the first three books (reviews of all of them on this blog. Just search for Zom B :)) I wasn’t quite sure where the rest of the series would be heading. What would happen? I was scared that things would go downhill, the plot losing its enjoyment.

But then again, this is a Darren Shan book, right? Of course it wouldn’t get boring.

Of course it didn’t.

Plunged straight into the horrific zombie-infested world of B Smith, I was totally immersed in her story all over again, scared of every corner she goes around (Mr Dowling might be hiding there! Eek!). Then, B began to notice more of these signs on the walls, and she accidentally stumbles upon the Angels, who are currently camping out by the London Eye. She joins their ranks, and tension, fondness, and hatred builds up between her and various other Angels. It was so tense, the whole book, with loads of great plot twists. B discovers the truth about her Zombie self and how long she’s going to live for (trust me. This one will shock you.) and other things as she begins a whole new chapter in a new place with new people.

The was no point where I was bored of the plot at all! This book really was quite page-turning, with lots of surprises in store that kept me on the edge of my seat. I think that I devoured the whole book in under an hour and in one sitting- desperate to find out what happens next! The setting was brilliant. Quite a familiar place to me, The London Eye and surrounding areas, and so I understood everything really well. I’m also now quite scared of that area, thanks, Darren! Darren Shan’s writing was just amazing. B’s dialogue and thoughts were witty and sharp as a knife, while the imagery made by Shan’s words conjured up some terrifying, dismal visions of a possible future.

B Smith, again, was just a brilliant protagonist. As I said, she’s so witty at points, serious, aggressive, and brave at others. There’re so many sides to her shown throughout the story, and I even loved the nasty ones. B Smith is the kick-butt horror heroine. Honestly, she’s just so brilliant. Her narration is believable and gives such a great insight into being a zombie. I don’t know why that’s cool, it just is.

Overall, Zom-B: Underground was a really great fourth installment to my favourite currently-ongoing series. Full of gore, action, wit and horror, it’s the perfect read for young teenage horror fans! B Smith is a brilliant, understandable zombie, who I really enjoy reading about. I loved the well-known setting. I think the significant London sights Darren Shan uses as backdrops make the story seem even more real. As always, the plot was delivered in a satisfying way, not without its plot twists, and the story overall left me craving for more. Keep writing, Darren Shan, I just need to know what happens next!

My Rating:

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I purchased a copy of Zom B: ANGELS from a local bookstore.

Zom-B: City

By Darren Shan, published by Simon & Schuster.

Zom-B City (Zom-B, #3)

After the events of Zom-B: Underground, B Smith has emerged into the zombie–infested city of London. She discovers the mass effects of the zombie infection breakout, and that hardly anybody survived and remained humans. She explores this new, gruesome and blood-coated London, only to find that the evil zombie clown who broke into her old underground home, Mr. Dowling, is at large in the capital of England. What will he do when he finds B?

After waiting so long to buy a copy of City after reading Underground, I was so excited to start this one… and it totally lived up to my expectations. In the last two books, there had been not as much action as I had expected, but in this book, there was constant action throughout: in the form of brain eating and lots of gore. I think the backdrop for the story was great- never before have I read in a zombie book so much description, and so much detail into the setting. I really loved it.

Mr Dowling, the evil zombie clown who has a human eyeball on his nose, entrails wrapped around his limbs, and severed ears stapled to his trousers, terrified me! He was a totally horrific, yet brilliant antagonist, who did so many evil and heartless actions that chilled me to the bone. Darren Shan has still not yet revealed what the intentions of Mr. Dowling and the Mutants are, but that left me with questions in my head after reading the last page, so I’m already eagerly awaiting the publication of the fourth epic, gory installment. There was much development in the personality of B Smith, in my opinion, in Zom-B: City. I thought she’d  begin to crave brains more and become less conscious of her actions, but she still maintained a level head and was trying to save people, even though they were trying to kill her. I really loved that courage in her; she’s a really great protagonist because of that.

Overall, Zom-B: City was a very enjoyable read. Even at only 210 pages, it packed a real punch. I read it pretty quickly and was left craving for more (not brains, books. Don’t worry!). I can’t wait for the next book!

Warm Bodies

By Isaac Marion, published by Vintage (Also coming out as a movie in a few days).

Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1)

“Who says romance is dead?”

R is a Zombie in a crumbling world, living in an abandoned 747 at a zombie infested airport. He can remember nothing at all about his life before his death, only the beginning letter of his old name, but he can think, and talk… kind of. He craves brains, like every other zombie. They crave them because they can live the memories that they hold.

One day  on a hunting trip with his pal M and some other undead, he eats the brains of a boy called Perry, and experiences Perry’s memories of his girlfriend, Julie Grigio. Finding Julie, he takes her as a hostage to his airplane home, planning to feast on her insides later. But Julie has triggered something inside of him, and his emotions are changing. He is in love with her, but it’s not that simple. This love is reigniting life inside R, and he’s getting warmer. As he hides inside the hideout of the remaining humans, he and Julie are about to uncover something big- something that could change the apocalyptic wasteland of a world forever…

Move aside, vampire romance novels. It’s zombie romance time.

This was, by far, one of the most intriguing books I have ever read. It’s not really a romance, despite the reviews saying it is. In fact, they kiss once. At the end. Yes, he is in love with her, but none of this was lovey-dovey, thankfully! I was more interested in the zombies and the apocalyptic story line… which was brilliant. It was perfectly executed, and imaginative. It had its scary points, and its funny points!

R was a brilliant main character. He was funny, and full of personality. I thought that the whole idea of a zombie narrator was strange at first, but I really, really loved it. Julie made a great character too- a broken girl with a haunting past who is the light that begins to cure the zombies. She was outrageous, adventurous, and seriously cool.

Their journey together was so fun to read, and I really recommend it! This was, by far, one of the best zombie reads I’ve ever encountered, and I now really want to read more from Isaac Marion, and watch the film (Although, of course, the films are NEVER as good as the books).