The Hunted by Charlie Higson
The Hunted is Charlie Higson’s sixth terrifying installment in the thrilling The Enemy series. The sickness struck everyone over fourteen. First it twisted their minds. Next it ravaged their bodies. Now they roam the streets – Crazed and hungry The others had promised that the countryside would be safer than the city. They were wrong. Now Ella’s all-alone except for her silent rescuer, Scarface – and she’s not even sure if he’s a kid or a grown-up. Back in London, Ed’s determined to find her. But getting out of town’s never been more dangerous- because coming in the other direction is every SICKO in the country. It’s like they’re being called towards the capital and nothing is going to stop them…In the penultimate book in The Enemy series, the survivors’ stories cross with chilling consequences.
I am in love with The Enemy series and The Hunted continued that love. Higson creates a reality as realistic as a zombie apocalypse can be because of the attention to the mundane details. A realistic portrayal of teen behaviors, language, and reactions to the horrific events keeps the novel believable. The attention to detail in the character movement around places existing in real life London was fascinating. In my Barnes and Noble edition, the author includes a guide to London where he explains why he chose certain places for the events in the novels. A map is included as well with lines that track where the characters go throughout the story. I love attention to detail like this!
The Hunted focuses on the search for Ella, who left London in search of safety in the countryside. The kids from London are trying to find her to reunite her with her brother before the large amounts of sickos (their term for the zombies) make returning impossible. The two main narrative groups in the novel are Ella and Scarface as opposed to Ed and his search party. Ella realizes the notion threat the country would be free of sickos was wrong and Ed is afraid they will not be able to find her in the vast area. The children struggle to understand why the sickos are moving from the country to the city, massing for a greater purpose.
One of the strengths of Higson’s writing is the ability to keep the reader interested in all of the different points of view, especially when a new character is introduced. Throughout the series there have been no less than fifteen narrative points of view, with all of the characters stories and movements intertwined eventually. It is absolutely masterful. A new character perspective in this novel is that of Scarface, who helps Ella get away as her group is attacked by sickos. Higson does an amazing job of keeping the reader guessing as to who and what Scarface is. He looks like a sicko with rotting flesh and mangled features, yet he helped Ella and continues to do so. Is he an evolved sicko? Does he have different strain of the cause? Is he something else altogether?
The Hunted is the penultimate in a great series, and therefore is used more to set the characters up for where they need to be for the final book. It doesn’t offer very much new in terms of story, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. The Enemy has always reminded me of The Lord of the Flies. Children and teens are left to fend for themselves in a horrific world overrun by flesh eating sickos. They have to learn to cope with the horror and the danger of the sickos but also amongst themselves. When the endgame is survival, there can be little room for mercy.
- Great storytelling and weaving of multiple plots and characters throughout the series
- Uses history, real places, and science.
- Realistic portrayal of children and teens dealing with the unthinkable
- Included a guide to the historical London settings of events and maps of character movement
- Zombie action!
The Not So Good
- An installment for movement of characters and setting up the final books rather than anything truly new to the series
Yes! For fans of zombies, horror, and gore!