"The Sacrifice" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Puffin Books
Written by Charlie Higson
2012, 456 pages, Fiction
Released on September 20th, 2012
I'm a big fan of familiarity and characters in a series of books. That doesn't mean I won't read outside of a certain universe, laws no. But there are certain authors whose next part of a particular series I eagerly look forward to and will put off anything else until I devour that next novel. Generally you'll find this in the thriller genre, like Lee Child's "Jack Reacher" line or Robert Crais' "Elvis Cole" series, and not so much in horror. There just isn't a lot of continuing storylines in our beloved genre. Fortunately, we have Charlie Higson's "The Enemy" series.
The Sacrifice marks the fourth book in this ever-growing "The Enemy" universe. It all started with The Enemy, which was followed by The Dead and The Fear. The first three novels are very enjoyable, so I expected the same from the latest and I was not disappointed.
The starting point for The Sacrifice is almost immediately after The Fear, and we join Small Sam and his friend The Kid in the search for Sam's sister Ella. Of course, this is now a world where the all of the adults have been stricken with a sickness that makes them hunger for the surviving children, so Sam's journey will not be easy. Fortunately, the adults are a bit dense and have a one-track mind, so they are unable to plan too well. Oh, wait; there's that St. George guy. He's organizing the grown-ups into one massive horde of flesh eaters. To make matters worse, Sam's search takes him through the castle of Mad Matt and his cult. Yeah, Sam and The Kid have their work cut out for them.
I'm going to come out and say it: I love this series. When I first received The Enemy, I figured I would enjoy it, but I expected it to be light on the blood and violence due to the fact that it's targeted to young adults. Boy, was I off the mark. The Enemy...hell, the entire series is filled with brutality. I'm now four books in, and Higson still manages to surprise me with what he puts his characters through. I've mentioned in my prior reviews that Higson will kill off characters you love, and The Sacrifice is no different. And we're not talking cannon fodder here either. We're talking characters that have played integral parts in the books, only to die glorious – or not so glorious – deaths.
But where Higson's genius lies is where he's able to still give you hope for those kids that have survived up to this point. While he's striking down loved characters on one hand, he's making sure they aren't dying needlessly. In addition, it nails home the point (of which I've mentioned again and again) that no one is safe. And since any one can die at any given moment, you learn fast to appreciate the characters now, because they may not be around in the next chapter.
While The Sacrifice is the fourth in the aforementioned "The Enemy" series, it's not necessary to read the others before jumping into this one as it stands alone quite well. However, I highly recommend you pick up the first three novels as there are so many characters intertwining in this universe that it amps the enjoyment.
Originally set to be a trilogy, the word now is this series will be an epic seven books. If you haven't got to know your Enemy yet, now is the time to do it. You won't be disappointed.