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If Forever Comes (Take This Regret, #2)
A.L. Jackson

Enemy, the

The Enemy - Charlie Higson 5 Stars.An undiagnosed disease has wiped out (almost) everyone over the age of 14 leaving London's children to fend for themselves. Higson bases his story on the exploits of a group living in the remains of the Waitrose store in Holloway, a year on from the initial catastrophe. But this is no permanent picnic for the children. Food and water are scarce commodities, fought over with other kids (the nearby Morrisons crew), stray dogs but also the remaining adults not killed by the disease who are vicious zombie-like figures covered in boils, wounds and scabs.The "grown-ups", as the Waitrose crew call them, are completely wild, as well as cannibalistic, and present the primary threat to the children as becomes apparent in the first couple of chapters during which one child is taken away and others expierence a vicious attack. The hand-to-mouth existence the children endure is nasty, brutish and potentially short, and so when a stranger appears at Waitrose with tales of a safe haven with food, water and comfortable beds it does not take the Waitrose and Morrisons group long to decide to risk leaving their fortresses for the dangerous trek across London.The Enemy is clever, imaginative, a hell of a good ride, and absolutely not for the faint-hearted. Kids kill and kids die, sometimes horribly and nobody is immune: being popular or a leader of the group saves nobody in Higson's world.Charlie Higson is a motherf*cking genius. In a book with really no down-time between massive threats, he manages to develop his characters (and there are a lot of them) in such a way that I really felt like I knew each kid. Higson is also a bit of a sadist. While reading this book, I had an imaginary one-sided convo with him (where he was addressing me) that went something like this: "Oh, hey Cee, you like this story? Like this character a lot, yeah? Think I won't kill him? Bam! Dead! Or this one over here? Snap! Eaten! Oh, you don't like this kid? How 'bout I MAKE you like him, then Splat! Dead, dead and dead! Ha!"Higson also leaves plenty of secrets hanging - how did the disease start? what happens to the older kids as they reach a certain age? that helps to add an air of mystery to the strong suspense that is sustained throughout the 400 pages. He also finishes the story with a strong hint of the battles to come.