September 9, 2011

Book Review: Dust & Decay

On Fridays I like step back and make sure that I am addressing boy readers.  It's so easy to review and highlight books for girls, but I also teach boys, so I need to make sure to find books for them! Today I have a book review of an awesome book.

Title: Dust & Decay
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Book Obtained: Won

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.
My Review
I don't know if you know how much I loved Rot & Ruin the first book in this series, but I LOVED it!  I shared it over and over with my students last year I think they got sick of hearing it.  But every student that I got to read it agreed with me.  One girl even told me "that is a books that more people should read".  So when I saw the second book coming out I was soooooooooo unbelievably excited.  Then I won a copy! Life was good.

So - did the sequel hold up to the original??? Yes.  Yes it did!  I've always said this book is the best non-zombie zombie book out there.  That it is about so much more than just running away from zombies.  This book continues that.  Oh yes of course there are zombies (more on this later), but it's about so much more.  About figuring out who you are and how you belong.  About learning to accept mistakes and moving forward from them.  About learning how to accept help.  It's all that set within the midst of a world given over to zombies. And for Benny and his friends in this book set within a struggle between them and people who have nothing but horrible intentions.  

Benny grew so much in this book - even more than the first book.  He became more of man.  Oh and wow the change in Chong! Talking about really becoming more of who you should be.  But the biggest change - Lilah The Lost Girl.  She went from mostly a myth in the first book to a full fleshed out person in this book.  She had been living alone broken off from everyone, but now is faced with how to deal with people around her that care about her.  Her reality is completely shaken up, and she doesn't know how to handle it.  Watching her struggle through this was better than any of the zombie battles.  Maberry did such a fantastic job looking not only how Lilah dealt with the world dissolving into chaos, but the different ways that people in general do.  

Ok about those zombies - this book, in comparison to the first book,  had more zombie battles that were definitely more intense.  I found myself cringing more.  Now this all makes sense because they are not out in the rot and ruin instead of being "safe" in the town. This change was also good, because it brought a newness to this part of the story - it didn't feel like the same old stuff recycled from book 1.  What's even scarier was some of the changes being seen in these zombies.  No answers about them, but just the beginning of a hint that much more is to come that they may or may not be prepared for.  It will be very interesting to see how they play out in the next (last???) book.  If I thought I had things figure out I was wrong - and I think the characters might be feeling that way too!

For the Guys?  YES!!!!! Great action.  Great intensity.  Love interest but in a way they could relate to.  Awesome food from Benny's situation that many boys could relate to as well.

Final Thought: Well done. Very well done!
Best stick-with-you image: When Benny opens the door the first night in the rot and ruin.  SCARY!
Best for readers:  Who like thinking with their zombies
Best for ages: 12+ for sure.  Younger kids might have a hard time with some of the graphic scenes.  


  1. So good!! I am just amazed at these books. Jonathan Maberry is a new favorite for sure.

  2. I have yet to read the first one but based on your ravings will have to pick it up. :)

  3. I'm delighted that yo enjoyed the second adventure of Benny Imura and his friends. More to come!

    There are thirteen pages of free prequel scenes for ROT & RUIN available on the Simon & Schuster webpage for the book.

    And there are twenty-five pages of free scenes set between ROT & RUIN and DUST & DECAY. Here’s a link to the main page; access the scenes by clicking on the banner that reads: READ BONUS MATERIAL BY JONATHAN MABERRY:

    Benny Imura and his friends will return in FLESH & BONE (2012) and FIRE & ASH (2013)