2012 Book 151: Flesh & Bone, by Jonathan Maberry
Reason for Reading: Third book in the Benny Imura series
Benny, Nix, Chong, and Lilah are on a quest through the zombie-infested Rot & Ruin to find a rebuilt civilization that they can only hope is out there. In the Mojave dessert (doesn't that just scream "Area 51" at you?) they clash with a religious death-cult whose goal is to send all living humans into the darkness before they, themselves, are allowed to enjoy the eternity of dark peace. However, our team of teens also discovers more evidence that somewhere out there civilization is trying to re-exert itself. This book isn't as strong as the first two in the series, but it was still enjoyable. Maberry tries to squeeze in so much action into his books that I go into action overload and start to get bored. I think the first book this series was strongest because Maberry spent a good amount of space developing the characters and setting. But the characters, setting, and plot don't make a whole lot of progress in this book...That space is reserved for extra action scenes. The theme that I appreciated from the earlier books was upheld in this one (zombies were people too, and sometimes the real monsters are human), and there is a newer theme of coping with loss. This theme could have helped the characters develop, but their development was pretty shallow. (As an aside, I notice that other reviewers liked the "mature development of Nix's and Benny's relationship," so I may be alone in feeling that they didn't really develop any. :p) That said, I'm not trying to tear the book apart...it was a fun read and had lots of action. :) It's good fluff and I'm eager for what I believe is the fourth and final book.