Published: September 11th, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster books for Young Readers
Reeling from the tragic events of Dust & Decay, Benny Imura and his friends plunge deep into the zombie-infested wastelands of the great Rot & Ruin. Benny, Nix, Lilah and Chong journey through a fierce wilderness that was once America, searching for the jet they saw in the skies months ago. If that jet exists then humanity itself must have survived…somewhere. Finding it is their best hope for having a future and a life worth living.
But the Ruin is far more dangerous than any of them can imagine. They are hunted by fierce animals escaped from zoos and circuses. They must raid zombie-infested towns for food and medical supplies. They discover the very real truth in the old saying: In the Rot & Ruin…everything wants to kill you.
And what is happening to the zombies? Swarms of them are coming from the east, devouring everything in their paths. These zoms are different. Faster, smarter, infinitely more dangerous. Has the zombie plague mutated, or is there something far more sinister behind this new invasion of the living dead?
In Flesh & Bone, Benny Imura, Nix Riley, Lou Chong and Lilah the Lost Girl are pitted against dangers greater than anything they've ever faced. To survive, each of them must rise to become the warriors Tom trained them to be.
Regular visitors to The Paperback Princesses will know that Jonathan Maberry's Rot and Ruin series is one of my absolute favourites. Flesh and Bone did not disappoint me at all. It was so wonderful to meet the characters again, although their lives have not become any easier.
Flesh and Bone is a book about death and how different individuals cope afterwards with their grief. It is also a book about dying - in many nasty horrible ways. It surprises me that Maberry continues to introduce such horrible and depraved characters. Yet for all the depravity, he manages to get inside their heads and allows the reader to see why they think they are doing the right thing. Saint John - the major bad guy for this volume - is one of the most disturbing characters I've read about in a while, mostly because he believes, really believes, that he is doing the right thing.
Benny, Nix, Chong and Lilah are all coping in their own ways with the tragedies that have befallen them, and are struggling to keep things together. An awful lot happens to them in a very short space of time and it's hard to watch them cope and pull things together. Maberry's character development is superb. The characters start to feel real to me and I hurt for them. Yes this is a book about flesh eating zombies, but as I have said before, it is so much more than the sum of its parts. It is about growing as a person, overcoming adversity and strength of character. About not giving in and fighting for a better life.
".... Perfect doesn't exist. Not like she (Nix) thinks. There's a lot of hurt out here. A lot of pain, and a lot of people doing bad things."
"Is that all there is? Hard times and bad people?"
Tom smiled. "I didn't say that everyone was bad. I said that there are people doing bad things. Some of them, but not all of them. You met some good ones too. You know that right?"
"This is the world, Benny. It's seldom what we expect it to be." He took his hand away. "But here's the secret, here's the thing I wanted to say."
Tom smiled. "You can fix the world. You, Nix ... your generation. You can fix the world and make it right."
"You mean put it back the way it was?"
"Was it right the way it was?"
"Then there's you answer." ...... (p451/2)
Flesh and Bone does not end on a cliffhanger, thank goodness, but it does end on a very sad note for one of the characters, no spoilers though. I love this series and I was both disappointed and delighted to find out that there is to be a fourth volume. I wanted everything to wrap up with this one, but I'm happy I now have more to look forward to. I have just discovered that there is an ebook called Dead and Gone, available exclusively for ereaders - I have to get that one - but I couldn't find anything with a title for the fouth book. So starts the long wait.