Jonathan Maberry, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Reader, 469 pages.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
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.
Wow, another intense, page turning book by Jonathan Maberry. I absolutely love this series and was not disappointed by Flesh & Bone.
Flesh & Bone picks up right where Dust & Decay left off. Benny, Nix, Chong and Lilah are making their way through the rot and ruin, trying to find the elusive plane they saw on their quest to find a better life. It seems that the zombie plague has mutated and they must also contend with a fanatical group of reapers. Each character is pushed to their limits, having to evaluate and redefine what it is they are each after.
A large part of this book is about grief, so much so that Maberry even addresses the issue in a note at the beginning of the novel. Each character has lost someone, their old life, and even has had to reevaluate what they are looking for and why. They are each stripped raw and have to put themselves back together. They've even lost their certainty about what a zombie is and how it acts. That being said, each of the four kids grows up a lot in this book.
The reapers add a very dark and disturbing element to the series. Once again, it is not the zombies who are the monsters, it is human beings. Some of the book is told from in Saint John's head, which is creepy and terrifying.
On a fun note, Maberry added Joe Ledger, a character from his adult series, to this novel. I have read some of those, so thought it was clever.
I highly recommend this entire series for young adults and adults. Once again, these books are more than zombie books, they are decidedly human books -- they explore both the good and bad of humanity in a post apocalyptic setting.