Fire & Ash by Jonathan Maberry

Benny Imura and his friends have found the jet and Sanctuary, but neither is what they expected. Instead of a refuge, Sanctuary is a hospice, and the soldiers who flew the plane seem to be little more than bureaucrats who have given up hope for humanity’s future. With Chong hovering between life and death, clinging to his humanity by a thread, Benny makes a startling discovery: A scientist may have discovered a cure for the zombie plague. Desperate to save Chong, Benny and his friends mount a search and rescue mission. But they’re not the only ones on the hunt. The reapers are after the cure too, and they want to use it turn all the zombies into superfast shock troops and wipe humanity off the face of the earth.

In this riveting conclusion to the Rot & Ruin series, the battle to end all battles is just beginning.

Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ 

And so I’ve finally finished the last of the “Flesh & Blood” quartet by Jonathan Maberry. It took a little longer then expected, however I think part of the reason it took me longer to read (besides getting distracted by other things) is the fact that these books are heavy reads. In a lot of ways, the weight of the world and the materials is as heavy as the epic tales in some adult novels; heavy reads take time to read and ingest while other books while containing valuable gems of information and life are ‘lighter’ that it doesn’t take much to read and take them in.

When I started this journey with Benny and his friends, there were just turning fifteen and really coming to terms of the life they have lived since mankind suffered under a zombie plague. They have come very far from those first few pages, the situations and things they have to to live through to survive has made them age much faster then the average teen we see today. They have proven that they are the future, whereas the adults in the novel are just surviving or burying their heads in the sand. It’s a grim reminder of how much our youth are our future, they are the ones that will take up the baton and make them world better then we adults have managed in our own times to shine. Honestly, you can see it now in our country. We have some teens who have fallen short and continue what the least of us adults have allowed to happen, and then you see other teens determined to rise up and do better for the world.

In any case, Benny and company have lived to survive the crazy ass family of Charlie Pink-Eye that we were intrduced in the first book, although not without loss (SPOILER: TOM DIES BECAUSE OF CHEAP-ASS SHOT IN THE BACK!!!!). They have learned that there is people beyond their part of the world and that there are people still working to fight back the zombie virus. While they never learn how the zombie apocalypse starts, they know the cause of it and the kids push back to remind the adults that they aren’t kids anymore and that this is their world too. We see a crazy religious cult that proves that zombies may be bad, but a living man is always worse then an undead cannibal. And we see how sometimes to fight monsters, you have to be willing to allow yourself to go past the line in the sand to become someone scarier to make the monsters die.

I won’t give away the ending totally. I’ll leave that for any of you who read this who chose to give the series a shot. I’ll just leave the ending as appropriate for a dystopian apocalypse novel: not a happy ending, but one that leaves hope.

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