Jonathan Maberry did it again…but better. Unlike AMC’s The Walking Dead which turned a terrifying zombie apocalypse event into a very boring soap opera with more melodramatic characters than a Fox TV show, Maberry took his characters from immature teens that feared zombies in Rot & Ruin, to fight-to-the-death warriors in Dust & Decay, and now, intelligent, savvy defensive players in Flesh & Bone.
Flesh & Bone picks up where the second book left off, with Bennie, Chong, Nix, and Lilah in the wild Rot and Ruin looking for the jumbo jet they saw pass over them in the desert sky a month earlier. Nix is desperate to find somewhere to belong, other than among the head-in-the-sand people of Mountainside where she and the boys grew up. Those people were content living in their small space, playing defense against the zombies. Bennie followed Nix, both because of love and support. Chong followed the Lost Girl Lilah because of love. The foursome was off on another adventure.
But no Maberry book is complete with someone or something trying to kill the worn out foursome. They meet two groups at war with each other and with anyone who gets in their way. The Reapers believe they are on a mission from the Greek god Thanatos to send as many living people into the glorious land of the Darkness…death. They believe the are doing good, despite what the people they are killing believe. Sadly this is a common problem with religious (and I use that word loosely)zealots. They believe they are right, and those who don’t agree are wrong and need to be corrected.
I will recommend this book/series to zombie-lit fans, and teen readers who enjoy action and adventure. I cannot wait for book 4!!
Lastly, I must mention the Author’s Note. In fact, the minute I read it I re-read it twice more and then I tweeted the author:
After [my friends] died, I found it painful and difficult to accept that the sun shone, the birds sang in the trees, and the world turned without them. Grief is like that. To resist or deny grief does no good. It hurts us to pretend that we are not hurt.
and his recommendation to readers,
Find someone who will listen. There are always people willing to listen. Always. If you are having trouble dealing with personal loss, please reach out….People will listen, and grief is something that we all share. Don’t let yourself be alone with it.
Teenagers are already going through so many things, struggling with so many conflicting emotions, feelings, and physical changes. Adding grief onto that can be psychologically destructive, and I am hopeful that teens who read Flesh & Bone will read Bennie’s strength, and work through grief with Nix, and get better because of it.
NOTE: I made significant edits to a portion that was written hastily, and without edits. I basically called the author an atheist and put words into his mouth/pen that were inaccurate. Yu can read his comment below. My apologies, as no harm or insult was meant.