It's several weeks after DUST AND DECAY. Benny, Chong, Nix and Lilah are looking for the jet they first saw in ROT AND RUIN but things aren't going well - the zombies are adapting, moving faster, learning how to use tools. And the dead aren't the only threat. An army of reapers is gathering that's intent on bringing the apocalypse to every settlement they come across ...
The third in Jonathan Maberry's BENNY IMURA QUARTET is a return to form with an action-packed, fast-paced YA story that expands on Benny's world and introduces a new and dangerous threat to everything he knows. As Maberry says in his foreword, this is also a book about grief - both Benny and Nix are dealing with the deaths of those closest to them, which is having consequences for their own relationship and gives the book a solid emotional core. St John is an interesting antagonist, whose background I won't spoil but who represents a very real physical and ideological threat but Mother Rose was less well rounded and I wished there'd been a scene between her and new character Riot to expand on their relationship. That said, it's another dark book, I enjoyed the pace and the ending is such that I will definitely be reading the conclusion.
Fans of Maberry will be delighted to see the introduction of Joe Ledger from his `grown up' books and I liked the way he brought a sense of the wider world to this quartet. His scenes with Lilah (who remains my favourite character) were some of my favourites and I loved the dog. The zombies are even more dangerous in this novel and there's more scientific explanations for what's happened, which I thought gave more credibility to the book.
The mystery surrounding the poison used by reapers went on for too long given how obvious it was but it does set up a gut wrenching ending to take readers into the final book. I also would have liked a bit more of a set up for how the teens set about their search for the jet and I wanted a bit more about Riot who reads to me as being a little too similar to Lilah (and in fact, I'd have loved a scene between them). However these are minor nitpicks and certainly won't stop me from reading the finale.
Quite often when I read a series, I find that my interest starts to wane as the series goes on - it's almost like I've completely invested myself in the first books and by the time we roll around to number three I'm feeling a bit tired and jaded and just want to find out how the whole thing ends already.
However, the Benny Imura series has had the opposite effect on me. I enjoyed, but didn't love, Rot and Ruin, and Dust and Decay had me a little more charmed, so I was curious to see where Maberry took things in Flesh and Bone and whether the upward trend would continue.
Flesh and Bone begins shortly after the end of Dust and Decay. Benny, Nix, Chong and Lilah are on the track of the jet they saw flying overhead earlier in the series, determined to find out what is really out in the Rot and Ruin. The action begins straight away as Benny finds himself in a rapidly decaying (yep, I totally went there) situation alone, and the first new character of the series is introduced in rather dramatic fashion.
Introducing a new character halfway through a series can be hit-and-miss because the long-term characters are so much more familiar, but Maberry brings in a completely unexpected character which makes it far more interesting and emotionally compelling.
The Benny Imura series has a familiar theme in pitching the teens (the good guys) against a range of characters who have completely different intentions (the bad guys) and although it could get a little stale having the same formula, Maberry's imagination saves the day. The bad guys in Flesh and Bone stomp all over the previous baddies in the series and are far more frightening than even than those in Dust and Decay. These guys are completely crazy and so far removed from normal human behaviour that I was completely aghast at what they were actually trying to do.
Maberry is very good at developing characters and relationships in the midst of action scenes, and Flesh and Bone is no exception. There are two couples in the awesome foursome, and both are developing along with the characters and the series itself and I love that it all fits together so well. All four are becoming braver and stronger physically, but they also develop emotionally and start to have more insight into themselves and relationships which endeared them to me even more
For fans of Jonathan Maberry there is one awesome thing that happens in Flesh and Bone that was completely unexpected but I totally loved it - and that is one of the characters from his other series pops up as a recurring secondary character.
This series continues to go from strength to strength, growing the 'old' characters and introducing new characters for a fresh perspective - I'm going to be very sad to say goodbye to Benny and the gang.
I enjoyed the first two books in the series. They are thoughtful and mature for a series aimed at teens. This is just as good. When I realised the various plotlines weren't going to be resolved by the end of the book I was a little disappointed: in general, I don't like books in the middle of a series becasue they sometimes seem like "filler". However, this works really well and, of course, there's more to come as Maberry gradually explores the ruined world and its scattered groups of survivors, cults and remanants of the old USA. The zombies have changed a bit too, from slow-moving and fairly easy to kill, to fast-moving and cunning. While this is a little derivative of films such as Resident Evil and 28 Days Later (I know, they're not zombies but they may as well be), it still works very well. Can't wait for the next one (and nice to see a comic book-style crossover with the Joe Ledger series -- hope he plays a bigger role in the future). Highly recommended and hard to put down.
Brilliant. I read this in less than a day and it is the best book in what is a fantastic series. If you like Zombies AND a good story then look no further. I hope Jonathan writes more but it is a fitting end if he does not. Nice to see Joe Ledger as well:-)
This book is absolutely amazing. It makes you want to keep reading it. I picked this rating because I think that it is very good and is full of sad and happy turns in the story and I can honestly say it is one' of the best books I have ever read
I fell in love with this series of books and i was not disappointed by the latest installment. I finished the book within 2 days as i just couldn't put it down. I would definitely recommend this book to every one who likes zombies and heroism.
This is the 3rd in the Beny Imura books and is definitely a series to keep a eye on and follow. The story is sharp with plenty of plot twists and turns and more than enough action and suspense for that 'just one more chapter read'.