With giant firestorms, rampaging hoards and continual life-and-death scenarios, though, Higson delivers an action-packed...

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THE DEAD

When all adults turn into zombies, kids must fend for themselves.

Before London was filled with shambling husks craving fresh meat, there was an Internet video of a scared boy ranting about adults killing children. Months later, both video and Internet have disappeared. After constant battles with ravening adults, 15-year-olds Jack and Ed rescue the trapped Frédérique and break out of their barricaded school to find food and stronger shelter. Despite a misadventure with a cannibalistic bus driver, the youths arrive at the Imperial War Museum only to discover others have claimed the space. When London starts to burn again, they all must work together to flee the coming firestorm. Higson delivers this prequel to The Enemy (2010) in similar style, with multiple narrators allowing for even more action than the first offering. While most of these threads lack strong emotional resonance, Frédérique’s narrative harrows, as she descends into madness when infection overtakes her. Jack and Ed have a good rapport, too, though there’s a bit too much sentimentality toward the end. Gun combat takes precedence over melee here, a choice that makes sense given the protagonists’ ages and the setting, though it tends to break the action more than the fisticuffs that dominated the first work.

With giant firestorms, rampaging hoards and continual life-and-death scenarios, though, Higson delivers an action-packed summer read. (Horror. 13-16)

Pub Date: June 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3412-1

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion

THE PACK

A group of shape-shifting runaways from the circus, on the run from genocidal hunters, tries to find a home.

Flo, her boyfriend, Jett, and the other shifters just want to find a strong pack to join. The teenagers (all either white or with no identified race) can all shift into an animal form: bears or tigers, parrots or rats, elephants or horses. The frightened escapees, who’ve lost many of their loved ones to hunters, have been seeking some safe place in the woods. The members of this huge cast (with too many names and animal forms to keep track of) have a wide array of agendas. Should they join the wild pack? The wolf pack? Should they even stay together? After brief dramas, many of these newly introduced characters vanish, never to be heard from again. Finally, Flo and the shifters are captured by hunters, who are in league with the lion who used to run their circus, who’d been betraying them for years and who now seeks to strike a bargain. Further dramatic revelations and betrayals await, of course. There’s no attempt to summarize the events of The Wanderers (2015), and with so many characters, side quests, and double crosses, it’s often difficult to keep track.

Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1218-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Though it’s a bit of a slog, readers of Book 1 will find it worth the time for its unexpected conclusion

THE SHADOW'S CURSE

A lost prince and his ladylove must defeat the tyrant rampaging over the steppes with an army of enslaved spirits in this sequel to The Oathbreaker’s Shadow (2015).

Raim is haunted by the spirit of his best friend, Khareh—a spirit that appeared when Raim accidentally broke an oath made by another, leaving him magically marked and exiled from his nomadic tribe as an oathbreaker. Khareh yet lives, but with the best part of himself lost in the spirit, his ambition has become megalomania. Not content to be khan of his tribe alone, Khareh aims to join all the northern nomads into one massive khanate. Raim seeks control over his spirit but also yearns to rescue Wadi, the dark-skinned desert girl to whom he's given his heart. Wadi is Khareh's captive, and she is more than capable of freeing herself from the cruel young khan; nevertheless she must stay a captive. It's her destiny to make a king of Raim, she learns from a blind seer in one of the stalest tropes of superpowered disability. Raim, Khareh, and Wadi travel all over the steppes of Darhan, giving a solid glimpse of this fantasy world roughly based on the lives of Mongolian nomads. A dense narrative of tiny chapters with shifting points of view leaves little time to become invested in each character's journey.

Though it’s a bit of a slog, readers of Book 1 will find it worth the time for its unexpected conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4512-1

Page Count: 456

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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