This was a novel I had heard was a 'quality' YA read. I went into this with the expectation that it might be entertaining, a kind of literary junkfood, a nice detour from the author's Young Bond (Silverfin) series. However what I found was a readable, yet forgettable, mash of prose and plot. While I had hoped for a fun, light-hearted (apart from the blood and gore) YA version of I Am Legend: And Other Stories I got nothing like that. I got a book that was easy to read yes, but not fun. It was simply entirely pointless and I have no reason to want to go on and read the next book (there was nothing to suggest that there even was some intended aim to the series for me).
This book was clearly aimed at YA adults. The plot followed a world where children under the age of fourteen alone were free of a sickness that turned all grown ups into drooling, mindless infected beings. As a result I thought that perhaps there would be a lot of action, certainly a lot of fun carnage. But somehow the author managed to make the action and the bloody killing so mindless that it made me drift through the novel. I hate to stick a brand on any fiction work but 'pointless' is what comes to mind. So many pointless character deaths for the sake of it, so much blood and gore for the sake of it, without it having some deeper moral or reason.
Another thing that ultimately led me to give this one star rather than two was the writing. I quite like the author's writing in his Young Bond novels. I admit that like most YA it's not the greatest writing - but I can always forgive that if I like the underlying story and the writing doesn't take too much away from that. However this novel was mediocre in the type of prose used. It was at once clearly targeted at young adults but it was simplified to the point where the writing would have been more suitable for 7 to 10 year olds to read. But would I give this to a ten year old? Not at all.
Ultimately I would say that for me this book lacks clear definition. It is not written in a way that I feel is targeted at the likely intended 13 to 17 year olds while the plot does. However that said the plot is a mash of blood, character deaths, more blood, more character deaths and added gore. I only completed it for the hope that there would be something worthwhile nearer to the end. Well that and the fact that it was incredibly fast to read. My final summation is that this book was not what I had hoped but other readers who are into violent YA 'zombie' apocalypse type stories might find something to drag out of the plague ruins of humanity and enjoy.