Title: Flesh & Bone
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Published: September 2012
Genre: Action/Adventure, Dystopian, Zombies
Series: Benny Imura, #3
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 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 invasions of the living dead?
In Flesh & Bone, Benny Imura, 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.
Unfortunately, I haven't done reviews for the first two books in the Benny Imura series, so you're gonna have to cope with the confusion and discombobulation that comes with being out of the loop. Sorry.
Basically, this story follows Benny, Nix, and Chong--"townies" who ditched their isolated community to follow a jet that they saw flying east. They are accompanied by the "Lost Girl," Lilah, who's been living in the wilderness her entire life, which of course makes her a badass ninja assassin killing machine. Benny's older brother Tom, a wise Japanese samurai, started out with them, but he died tragically at the end of the second book.
Oh yeah, and the entire planet is infested with zombies.
In Flesh & Bone, the main antagonist (besides the zombies) is a psycho, wacked-out religious cult who refers to themselves as "the Night Church," or "the Reapers." Basically, they have this sick idea that life itself is an abomination and are deliberately seeking out survivors of the zombie apocalypse and killing them.
This kind of pissed me off. Not because the idea is so unbelievable and ridonkulous (though it is), but because it seems like as soon as someone is out of ideas, they fall back on the good ol' reliable insane, brainwashed, religious cult. It's been overdone. Not only that, it implies that any member of any religion is completely lacking common sense.
But that wasn't that only aspect of the book that annoyed me. Nix. Nix was one of the most irritating heroines I've ever come across. I'd put her in the ranks with Bella, Luce, and Katniss (Mockingjay Katniss, not Hunger Games Katniss). She spent the entire book being stand-offish and b*tchy, simply because, "You just don't get it, Benny." Not only that, but she seemed to think the entire world revolves around her. There's this one part where she's basically saying, "Benny, you left town because of me, because you love me so much. Tom left because of me, to take care of me, because he loved my mom so much. It's me me me me me me me me me me me me....."
Seriously? Someone needs to serve this girl some serious reality-check b*tch-slapping. Both Nix and Benny were completely useless in this book. Chong was saving little girls from evil killers and battling the zombie infection like a warrior; Lilah was going ape on freaking giant zombie boars, while simultaneously injured. Everyone else was finding their way to the safe haven of Sanctuary, or else battling the Reaper cult to make things safer for the people who can't. Even the evil religious cult members were being productive in wiping out the remaining human populace.
But Benny and Nix? They pretty much spent the entire book in a crashed airplane "talking out their feelings" and "discussing their relationship" and, "You just don't get it, Benny. My pubescent hormones are making me angsty and cranky, and I'm taking it out on you because hey, you don't have enough crap to deal with, what with your dead brother and the zombie post-apocalypse. I figure a PMSy girlfriend would be just the cherry on top, wouldn't you?"
Ugh! Even more, Benny got a concussion in the middle of the climax, making him stupid and us readers completely unaware of what even happened in the climax. Maberry pulled a Mockingjay maneuver there, and I no likes it.
While I liked the first two books, Flesh & Bone just disappointed me to no end. I give it 2 stars out of 5.