|Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry|
(Benny Imura #4)
August 13, 2013
Simon and Schuster
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Personal purchase
Benny Imura and his friends have made it to Sanctuary, they've found the jet and they've discovered that civilization is struggling to regain its foothold in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. Scientists are on the verge of finding a cure for the zombie plague. It should be time for celebration, but it's not. Benny's best friend, Chong, has been infected by an arrow dipped in the flesh of a zombie and he hovers between life and death and Dr McReady, a researcher who may have the critical formula for a cure, has gone missing. So Benny convinces Captain Ledger to mount a search and rescue mission to find the doctor and help Chong. But with the Reapers still pursuing their plan to turn all zombies into super-fast shock troops even if they can save Chong, can they save themselves? In the fourth book of the thrilling and emotionally charged Rot & Ruin series, the battle to end all battles is about to begin...My Review:
You can find my Series Review for the Benny Imura series here.
I was excited and nervous to read Fire and Ash. I've been burned by other authors in the conclusions of their series and being that this is my first series read of Jonathan Maberry's, I didn't know what to expect. Well, if I wasn't already a fan of Maberry's before, I most certainly am now. He concluded this series brilliantly.
Like in the previous book Flesh and Bone, we continue to follow multiple POVs, getting the full picture of what is happening not only with Benny, but throughout the other areas in the Rot and Ruin, and with the other characters (whether you like them or not). I loved getting all the vantage points. It made me anticipate things even more. I felt like I was constantly nervous about what was going to happen to my beloved characters. Plus the shorter chapters kept me continually engaged with each group. The first two chapters alone already had me close to tears.
We also continue to follow Benny along the ride of his continual character development. He's no longer the 15 year old boy we met in book one. Reading about his inner and outer journey was beautifully done; watching his struggles with himself, with his friends, with his emotions, with his future - it all played out brilliantly. I loved watching who Benny became and who he grew into. Benny's friends are no longer the same either. All of their struggles, their emotions, their personal revelations, all played out amazingly. These are definitely the kind of kids you'd want around to restart the world. I miss reading about them already.
Maberry does not lighten the battle and starkness that is war. The things these kids see and do is heartbreaking. There are no rose-colored glasses here or sugar-coating going on. The final battles, the final choices - this final book is packed full of emotion, packed full of ugliness, packed full of bloodshed. The predicament and lasting effects of war and violence are continually analyzed, the choices of the past are speculated, even the secrecy of adults and government, all this makes for a bit of philosophizing that I really appreciated. But through it all Maberry also continues us and our young friends along the journey of keeping hope. Even when that hope is a flickering flame, a winking spark, there is still hope.
Bottomline: If you are looking for a satisfying conclusion to the Benny Imura series, you'll find it here. If you're looking for a book that's real and ugly but speckled with hope, you'll find it here. If you're looking for characters that continue to grow and change and fight, you'll find them here. If you're looking for the continued depths and philosophizing you've previous enjoyed, look no further. Thank you, Mr. Maberry, for this incredible series and characters I don't want to forget.