Book Review: Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry

Book Review: Dust and Decay by Jonathan MaberryDust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry
Series: Benny Imura #2
Also in this series: Rot and Ruin
Genres: Horror & Ghost Stories, Post Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Pages: 519
Published by Simon and Schuster on August 30, 2011
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Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them.

Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?

In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.
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After spending months training and preparing to go after the jet they saw heading east, Benny, Nix, Tom, and Lilah head out into the Rot and Ruin, with Benny’s friend Chong in tow to see them off. Things go bad from the start. Wild animals are acting strangely, the dead are moving in ways Tom’s never witnessed, and there are rumors of a new Gameland spreading. A new Gameland under new management. Tom wants to leave it all behind, but when Chong splits from the group in a moment of stupidity, the forces of evil in the Ruin (not including the zoms) start moving in. In an insane two days, Benny’s life goes from hopeful to horrifying, especially when he discovers the real enemy is not the zoms.

Holy crap this series is AMAZING. If you haven’t read Rot and Ruin, you need to push that to the top of your to-read list (you can find my review HERE) and start reading it NOW. This is one of the best series I’ve read in a long time.

If I could move like this champ, that’s what I would have done at the end of this book. This book covers about two days, and SO MUCH happens in that 48 hours. More action is packed into the last 100 pages than is in the entirety of many other books.

I love the characters in this series. I think they are all interesting, and each responds to situations differently; each has to rise to the occasion (which doesn’t always happen). Each one of them fails from time to time, but they pick themselves up and dust themselves off without too much unnecessary drama. Post-apocalyptic books are all about survival, so there’s very little room for superfluous drama.

I want to start a Tom Imura fan-club. I’m sure there’s one out there. He’s awesome. And I LOVE that you see a scary side of him in this book. I knew it was there, but you never really saw it in the first book. He gets pushed over the edge and the result is terrifying. He’s like an angel of death. I kept picturing River from Serenity, mowing down the Reavers. Except Tom was taking out EVERYONE. Zoms and humans.

Yeah, this book gets INTENSE.

Benny and Nix grow up a lot this book. They spend some time on their own, and you see them working through how they relate to each other. It’s a nice little journey and even though they are only 15, they have very complicated feelings. They’ve been through more already than most adults will ever go through, which brings a certain level of maturity. I really like them as the central figures of this story. They both make a lot more mistakes than right decisions, and watching them try to clean up their messes is rather interesting.

The two that grow the most, though, are Chong and Lilah. Chong wasn’t even a major player in the first book, but he steps into the spotlight here with a really rough story. He makes one very idiotic decision that leads to his captivity for a big portion of the book. Lilah has to figure out how she relates to other humans since she’s been on her own in the Ruin for so long. I really enjoyed getting to see these two grow. That’s one of the best part of this series is that the characters are truly dynamic.

So, the writing is amazing, the characters are interesting and dynamic, the romance is sweet, the action is RIDICULOUSLY INTENSE, and the end is this:

It’s a bumpy ride.

Similar reads: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

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