The Fear, by Charlie Higson
Charlie Higson’s The Fear follows DogNut, last seen in The Dead, and his Tower of London crew as they set off towards Buckingham Palace in an attempt to find their missing friends. Unfortunately for them, the Collector is roaming the streets and, even in a world where all of the surviving adults have become rotting living bodies with a taste for human flesh, he is one bad dude. There are also the regular sickos to contend with, to say nothing of the other crews of survivors, some of whom have their own plans for the new [regular] adult-free London. As if things weren’t bad enough already, DogNut is soon going to have to make a choice that will affect every kid in the city and leave them questioning exactly who the enemy really is.
The Fear is a prequel of sorts to The Enemy since, although it doesn’t directly present a back-story, it describes what the other groups of kids were up to while Arran’s crew were leaving the relative safety of their supermarket and trekking across London in search of other survivors. Towards the end of the book, the various threads of plot begin to tie together with the events of The Enemy so that a fuller picture of life and intrigue in zombie-riddled London begins to emerge.
In keeping with the other books in the series, The Fear is an unrelentingly terrifying and gory take on the zombie genre. It doesn’t matter that the central characters are children, absolutely no one in The Fear is safe from the undead menace and so it’s wise not to get too attached to the young heroes. Even for a horror story, The Fear can prove surprisingly gruesome. While the common-or-garden variety cannibalistic adults can be pretty stomach-churning, the scenes involving the Collector are particularly chilling and, indeed, rather disgusting. It doesn’t seem that life in London is going to be getting any easier for the kids in the near future either, as even the more average zombie seems to be becoming smarter and so more calculatingly brutal.
The Fear is a brilliantly creepy read. It’s pretty terrifying to think what horror might be lurking round the next corner of London for these kids to face. Luckily, the wait to find out more about the ongoing battle with the zombies shouldn’t be too long. Apparently, the next book in the series will be The Sacrifice and it will be out sometime in 2012. The Sacrifice will focus on Maxi and her crew as they venture out from Buckingham Palace.