Title: Dust & Decay (Rot & Ruin #2)
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Source: ARC from Publisher
Return to the Rot and Ruin...Benny Imura and Nix Riley can't forget the jet they say fly over the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot and Ruin. Now--after months of rigorous training with Tom, Benny's zombie-hunter brother--Benny, Nix, Lilah the Lost Girl, and Chong are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future.But from the start, everything goes wrong. They are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, and insane murderers, and are faced with the horrors of a rebuilt Gameland, where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all...could Charlie Pink-Eye still be alive?
When I finished reading Rot & Ruin, I knew I had to read Dust & Decay as soon as possible. And even that wasn't soon enough. I was so happy to have a copy to read and I dove right into it. If it was at all possible, Dust & Decay was even better than Rot & Ruin.
Months after coming back from their first trip in the Rot and Ruin, Benny and Nix are back in Mountainside to train to go back in the Ruin. Only this time they are leaving for good, hoping to find the jet they saw flying over their heads seven months ago. But as they set out to leave, nothing seems to go as planned and things get stranger the further into the Ruin they get. When things couldn't possibly be getting any worse, Chong disappears, Benny and Nix get separated from Tom and Lilah just seems to vanish. And then things go from bad to worse. Everyone comes to find that the horror that is Gameland has been rebuilt and is more terrible than ever. But that's only the beginning of all the horrific things Benny and his friends are going to be facing. And much like last time, zombies may not be the worst monsters out there.
One way to describe Dust & Decay is epic. But not epic in the traditional sense. I mean, for me, zombies and child killers aren't the first thing that come to mind when I think epic. But his book was epic in its own way and that made it that much better. Once again, the post-apocalyptic world Jonathan Maberry created was amazing and felt completely real. Though I do hope I don't come across any zombies any time soon no matter how real they felt in the books. Everything about Dust & Decay was absolutely amazing, so much so that I'm having trouble putting it all into words. And there was that ending. I saw it coming to a certain extent but it still completely took me by surprise. I could not help the tears and even now, just thinking about it makes me feel like tearing up all over again.
This time around I liked Benny right from the start because he was actually a decent person and not a first class jerk. And his relationship with Nix is just adorable. What is particularly amazing about their relationship is that it is so much more than a first love because of everything they've gone through together. I also really liked that we got to see more of Chong and Lilah. Sure, at times their actions were questionable at best, but they were still good people. And Tom was just as great as ever and he is easily my favorite character in the book. The way he is with Benny and his friends really says a lot about him. And once again he was always ready to help those he cared about and do just about anything for them. As for the rest, I didn't think it was possible but the villains were even more villainous this time around.
Dust & Decay was an amazing read. I didn't think it would be possible, but it was even better than Rot & Ruin. If you are looking for a zombie book, this is definitely the one you will want to read.