Booklist Reviews 2010 May #2
The imagined zombie apocalypse has been the inspiration behind dozens of movies, books, and comics over the past decade, and though Higson adds few innovations, his gusto is something to behold. Eighteen months have passed since everyone over 16 succumbed to a virus that turned them into rotting, ravenous monsters, and there are enclaves of kids all over London eking out survival. Barricaded inside of a store, about 50 refugees have constructed their own society—which is shaken when a boy arrives spinning tales of a wonderful settlement housed within Buckingham Palace. The action from that point alternates between the group's harrowing journey across the city and the grueling plight of Sam, a nine-year-old whose separation from the pack leads to an encounter with cannibals. Some of the characters feel like placeholders, but the action is of the first order—Higson writes with a firestorm velocity that inspires to the sweeping reach of Stephen King's The Stand (1978). A muscular start to what looks to be a series. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Small bands of children struggle to survive in London after an epidemic has killed most adults--and reduced the survivors to cannibalistic monsters. One kid-group leader, Maxie, deals with the aftermath of the violence while another main character, Sam, tries to reunite with the group. The story introduces and violently eliminates characters in a long parade of gruesome scenes. A vivid, grisly post-apocalyptic horror story. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
PW Reviews 2010 April #3
Lord of the Flies meets 28 Days Later in this disturbing postapocalyptic adventure. Higson (the Young Bond series) presents a kids-only world with shades of Michael Grant's Gone books, though in this case, a disease has turned everyone over the age of 16 into mindless, flesh-eating nightmares, terrorizing and devouring those unaffected. Packs of resourceful kids have holed up in supermarkets, constructing defenses, foraging for supplies, and fighting off feral "grown-ups." For the group sheltering in a Waitrose store, it's a ceaseless battle for survival, where even the simplest expedition can prove fatal. When the possibility of a haven arrives, the Waitrose kids band with new allies as they make a hazardous trek across London to the promised land: Buckingham Palace. Alternately bleak and defiant, this splatterfest doesn't pull any punches ("The skin blackened, shriveled and split, the overripe flesh inside squeezing out.... This was what happened if any grown-up lived long enough to let the disease run its full course") nor is any character safe. It's up to a sequel to sort out some plot threads, but this is a solid start. Ages 12–up. (May)[Page 54]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.