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)