The Enemy by Charlie Higson
Lori picked up this book from the library because it looked interesting. She had a few others to get to first so she handed it to me and said I might like it. After the disapointment that was Justin Cronin's The Passage (my review) I wasn't sure I was going to be all that interested in a book about zombies. And then ironically, the day I after I started reading The Enemy I also read this Basic Instructions comic.
But I devoured this book. I could not put it down. I read every night, staying up past my bedtime to get more reading in. I took it to work and read it for an hour each day at lunch as I took the 2.7 mile walk around the lake. I even skipped the "Anyone walking?" Skype call-out for fear that someone would say "Yes" and I'd have to skip a day of reading.
The Enemy pictures a time when everyone over the age of 16 a zombie. Or they're dead. No one knows why but it seems like something happened about 16 years ago and people started getting sick. Everyone born after that time seems to be OK, but everyone before that time begins to lose their minds and their skin begins to deteriorate. Everything grinds to a halt and groups of children are left to fend for themselves against these creatures that are pretty much only described as "mothers" or "fathers" - stupid, slovenly decaying creatures to be pitied. Sure, they eat children, but it's only because they're starving. In small numbers, they can be scared off. It's only in large numbers or in close quarters that you've really got to worry.
So the children are left to fend for themselves. The story starts with a group that's made their home in a grocery store, venturing out only to find food until there's a reason for them all to leave. It's interesting to observe that the enemy isn't simply the zombies, other enemies (figuratively and literally) present themselves. It's got some great layers.
The nice thing about the book is it's not graphic. It's descriptive and gross but it's violence is not described in detail.
Most of the way through I was told the book was part of a series and then I got a little bit worried. I liked the story but I wasn't sure I wanted to be getting into a series - and I was scared that this would lead to a cliffhanger or something stupid. Those fears were all unfounded. The book ended well with a definite launchpad for the next book. And I look forward to reading the next one.
(In other news, this is the 3,000th. post on my blog. Woo.)