|Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry|
Hardcover, 519 pages
Published: August 30, 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Buy the Book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads
From Goodreads: In post-apocalyptic America, 15-year-old Benny Imura and his friends set out into the great Rot & Ruin hoping to find a better future but are soon pitted against zombies, wild animals, insane murderers, and the horrors of Gameland.
The book picks up just shortly after Rot & Ruin's ending. Benny is mentally preparing himself for the trip out to the Rot & Ruin, but there is some understandable hesitation by other members of his little group. Events in the village hasten their decisions and departure time. This is a game-changer at the beginning of the book and later towards the end. The "decisions have consequences" theme continues form this point on the characters come to many crossroads and have to weigh their options. I do like this because it reminds me of watching Benny grow up in the first book. Now, he and his friends are faced with challenges and situations that most adults would have difficulty planning a course of action for, especially including the life or death factor.
There are periods of downtime, but it is filled with interesting character interactions that keep the reader entertained while learning more about the group. The information you learn in this downtime is vital to understanding the decisions they make and the action that follows them. The action sequences are heart-stopping and keep you on edge until you catch your breath at the end. The culminating events are two-fold in my opinion. One will leave you in tears and the other will let you see Benny and the gang at their finest. It is an evil tug-of-war between your mind and heart because there is so much to process. At the end of the book you're left with so many feelings of "What if?" With Maberry's writing we're in a guessing game of how and if they're going to overcome this life dealt to them. I guess we'll be finding out with the release of Flesh & Bone in September and the announced final and fourth book in the series, Fire & Ash!