Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Let's Hear It for the Boys - Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry

  To be Published: August 30th, 2011
  Publisher: Simon and Schuster
  Pages: 519 ?
  Copy: Arc, courtesy of Simon and Schuster
  Summary: Goodreads

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.

I didn't think it would be possible for Jonathan Maberry to improve on the amazing story set out in Rot and Ruin, but by George he did it.  Dust and Decay is even better! I know I was very effusive in my praise of Rot and Ruin (check it out here) so I will try and calm down a little this time, but it will be difficult.

Our main protagonist Benny Imura is back again, 6 months older and wiser, and stronger.  He and Nix, Lilah, Chong, and the others  have been training hard for their trek East, and continue to grow as people and learn about themselves.  Dust and Decay also introduces a host of new secondary characters that were an absolute hoot.  Dr Skillz and J-dog provide major comic relief, while at the same time help to illustrate yet another way of coping with disaster.  Sally Two-Knives with her mohawk and Fluffy McTeague, with his pink carpet coat are yet more positive examples in amongst the bad guys.

Oh, and the bad guys this time around are really something.  Totally depraved and, though still alive, virtually soulless - very frightening people that invoked true horror for me. The zoms were nothing on these guys.  There is a major character twist towards the end that I just didn't see coming at all, but made so much sense in hindsight and the last 100 or so pages were a pure adrenaline rush.  There was so much going on I had to put the book down and take a break.   There is also a major death (that's not a spoiler, it says so in the blurb) and I will admit to shedding a few tears. The whole book takes place over the course of just 2 days, and so much happens it's unbelievable. I'm sure there are enough blood, guts and mayhem to satisfy most guys out there, and there is just a teeny bit of romance to keep the girls interested.

I would love to give you some quotes, because I really enjoy the way Mr. Maberry writes, but since I was reading an arc this time around I can't do that.  The prose is very lyrical and easy to read, giving the reader lots of  insight into the human soul, examining why people turn out the way they do and how they cope. Just like Rot and Ruin, there is so much more to the story than zombies, like making mistakes and living to regret them, and apologize for them.  I loved every word of it. 

Dust and Decay isn't out until the end of August, and I know this review is way early, but I highly recommend pre-ordering.  I'm certain you're are going to love it.  I'm off now to see if I can find me a carpet coat.  I want to be prepared - just in case!  Oh, and Mr Maberry, please hurry up with number 3.


  1. How could you do this to us? I've been waiting (not very patiently) for this one -- and now I want it even MORE. Sounds great. Thanks!

  2. Wow! Thanks for that wonderful review. (And thanks for not giving away the ending!) I'm currently writing the third in the series, FLESH & BONE.