Saturday, March 24, 2012
Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
*Rating* 5 Star Seal of Approval
When last we saw Benny Imura, his older brother Tom, Lilah, the so called lost girl, and Nix Riley, they had just witnessed a jet flying overhead and then heading back towards the east where nobody is supposed to be alive. Thus why it is called Rot & Ruin. This has been a puzzle that has been on everyone’s mind since.
Now, seven months later, Tom has started an intensive training routine to get them ready for anything, including his own desire to leave Mountainside behind and find out where in the world the jet came from. Tom isn’t the only one who wants to leave, Benny and Nix feel they need to find out where the jet originated from. Nix’s desire is based on the fact that she is basically alone now that her mother is dead.
Tom has become disheartened by the lack of what he believes is the town’s inaction when it comes to defending itself from those on the outside. Tom wanted a militia to be formed so that he has more time to explore and teach Benny all there is to know about “quieting” zombies. He, like Benny, also believes that the survivors should attempt to retake the land lost to the zombies.
"Sometimes it’s harder to tell which side of the fence the dead are on.”
Dust and Decay cuts to the chase this time around, and doesn’t waste time with the whole re-exploring or explaining what happened to the world to cause the zombie apocalypse. We know already that there were several factors that played in the rise of the zombies, but not one thing can be fully explained.
There are more characters introduced, like bounty hunter friends of Tom as well as a villain who is pure evil, who end up playing crucial roles at the most opportune of times for characters like Benny, Chong, Lilah, and Nix.
One of the underlying stories is the newly formed Gameland, which has been destroyed by Tom time and time again, and the fact that children are once again being taken and brought to fight the zombies to the death. There is also the fact that there is a major bounty on the heads of Tom, Benny, Nix, and Lilah for their participation in the death of Charlie Pink Eye in Rot & Ruin.
Some of the newer characters are fun, while others are out of their ever living minds! Take for instance the surfer dude bounty hunters:
“Far out,” said Dr. Skillz. “Benjamin Imura and Phoenix Riley. Wassssabi?”
Dr. Skillz nodded. “Seriously, brah, and Jessie’s daughter’s gone all aliham.”
“Babelini!” agreed J-Dog, though he was smiling, not leering, when he said it. The surfers gave Benny the thumbs-up. “Good call, dude.”
“Huh?” asked Benny.
Yeah, that was what I was asking myself as well!
Something extremely interesting is also happening in this new world Benny and crew live in. The dead are actually staying dead, and not reanimating like on First Night and the last 15 years since. Does this mean whatever caused the First Night in the first place has started to fade away? Or is another new challenge awaiting our characters fate?
I love Tom, I really do. His character has a wide range of abilities as well as some surprises that we learn along the way. Tom also has some nicknames that Benny discovers after being split up from his brother: Tom the Swordsman, Tom of the woods, Fast Tommy and Tom the Killer.
We also get a look at Lilah and realize what she has truly lost along the way to being basically by herself for many, many years. We see that she really does have emotions and can fall in love like everyone else, as well as being one hell of a fighter.
The villain? Nastiest piece of work you will ever read about.
Preacher Jack shrugged. ”This world may be paradise for the Children of Lazarus (zombies), but to snot-nosed little sinners like you…this world is hell. How’s that for a cosmic paradox? Heaven and Hell coexisting out here in the Rot and Ruin, and the two of them forming a brand-new Eden. The towns-why, you might consider them limbo, where souls are just waiting for judgment. As for Gameland….now it would be God’s own truth to say that Gameland is purgatory. It’s where you have a chance to expunge your sins.”
The ending is a classic tear jerker and heart breaker. All I am going to say is that a hero falls, long live the hero. Oh, and I meant what I said about if you can make it to the very end without grabbing for a Kleenex, you are a much stronger person than I.
I love the world Maberry has created. I love the fact that there really is a mystery surrounding the events of First Night when the zombies first appeared and forever changed the course of the world and now things appear to be changing and not necessary for the good.
Benny’s character has also come a very long way from the snot nosed little twerp I wanted to smother in Rot & Ruin, to someone who now must pick up the mantle and carry on into discovering the truth about the jet they say 7 months prior.
If you love zombies, you are going to love this story. There are literally thousands upon thousands of zombies who appear out of nowhere to wreak havoc as well as test our characters to their limits.
Cannot wait until September 11, 2012 for the third installment called Flesh & Bone.