Monday, September 9, 2013

Flesh and Bone

** spoilers for the previous books in the series**

In spite of tragedy, Benny Imura surges on to find the airplane he saw flying through the air with the help of his friends, Nix, Chong, and Lilah. They still traverse the Rot and Ruin towards the unknown, but their hope stays strong. The world is a wild place now. Exotic animals hunt them. Zombies attack them in swarms and not just slow, normal zombies, but faster, evolving zombies. A death cult grows large and picks off towns and villages one by one, leaving a wake of blood and death. A small band of survivors try to fight back, but the odds don't look good. Benny and his friends must remain constantly vigilant that everything in the Rot and Ruin willy try to kill them in order to survive.

Flesh and Bone is the third in the series and it's going very strong.  Benny and his friends are in emotional shambles at this point because of Tom's death. Benny is acting recklessly to prove to a disembodied Tom in his head that he can be the samurai he was taught to be. Nix is distant and lost in her own thoughts much of the time, making her relationship with Benny strained even further. Nix's journal is interspersed in between the chapters, giving insight to her emotions and thoughts that she keeps from the others. Her journey to find the airplane means more to her than the others know. Lilah and Chong are both suffering from the loss, but maintain more of who they were before. Through most of the novel, these characters are separated and each go through their own struggles. I enjoyed seeing the story from each character's point of view and I especially liked the insight into Lilah who has a weakness for classic romantic literature underneath her steely exterior.

A new Big Bad is introduced in this novel: the Night Church. They are a fanatical death cult that see survivors as an affront to God's will because the zombies were created to destroy the human race. The cult feels it's their duty to "open red doors" in people and release them into the bliss of death. These people are incredibly frightening because of their stalwart faith that what they are doing is right. Saint John of the Knife is the most zealous and frightening of the bunch, thinking of bigger and more effective ways to accomplish their goal. The leader of the cult is Mother Rose, who doesn't believe in the dogma at all and uses the cult to gain power and eliminate the opposition. These two main villains are incredibly dangerous in their own way and are the best of the series so far. Their dynamic together is interesting and you wonder who is really fooling who in the situation and when they will find out the truth about each other.

Flesh and Bone has character development, super creepy villains, and, of course, zombies. Interesting things happen with these zombies that I never saw coming. The zombies still have a huge presence in the novel and become even more frightening than before. Paired with the human villains, the odds against our heroes are astronomically high. I can't wait to read the final book in the series, Fire and Ash.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

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