Saturday, June 1, 2013

BOOK REVIEW - FLESH AND BONE by JONATHAN MABERRY - BENNY IMURA # 3 - SIMON & SCHUSTER - 5 FUNNY, FRIGHTENING, HEART BREAKING STARS!

By: Jonathan Maberry
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Released : Available Now
Details: Library, Paperback , 469 Pages

RATING:  5 FUNNY, FRIGHTENING, HEART BREAKING STARS!

Blurb: Goodreads

Reeling from the tragic events of Dust & Decay, Benny Imura and his friends plunge deep into the zombie-infested wastelands of the great Rot & Ruin. Benny, Nix, Lilah and Chong journey through a fierce wilderness that was once America, searching for the jet they saw in the skies months ago. If that jet exists then humanity itself must have survived…somewhere. Finding it is their best hope for having a future and a life worth living.

But the Ruin is far more dangerous than any of them can imagine. They are hunted by fierce animals escaped from zoos and circuses. They must raid zombie-infested towns for food and medical supplies. They discover the very real truth in the old saying: In the Rot & Ruin…everything wants to kill you.

And what is happening to the zombies? Swarms of them are coming from the east, devouring everything in their paths. These zoms are different. Faster, smarter, infinitely more dangerous. Has the zombie plague mutated, or is there something far more sinister behind this new invasion of the living dead?

In Flesh & Bone, Benny Imura, Nix Riley, Lou Chong and Lilah the Lost Girl are pitted against dangers greater than anything they've ever faced. To survive, each of them must rise to become the warriors Tom trained them to be.



BOOK REVIEW by Michelle:

Joe sighed and stood up. He looked up at the endless stars.

“It’s been a long night,” he said softly, “and there are still a lot of hours of darkness left. But...”


He started to turn away, and Benny said, “But what?”


Joe gave him a small , sad smile. “No matter how long the night is, the sun always comes up.”



I can’t recommend this series enough to readers. It is YA genre , but Jonathan packs a punch in his story telling. He will have you laughing, cheering, scared for his characters and also heart broken.

Jonathan has a list of things to his name, among those being a writer for Marvel.

I am not ashamed to say, Jonathan had me in tears at the end of Dust & Decay. He just broke my heart , shattered it, I didn’t think he would go there.

He did.

It hurt.

A lot.

But what I loved about Flesh and Bone is Jonathan brought my heartache from Dust and Decay and made it a part of this story. He brought Tom along for the ride in a very clever way.


While he fought, he could almost hear Tom whispering advice.

Be warrior smart.

“Go away! Benny yelled, half to the zom and half to his brother’s ghost.

Benny... most people aren’t defeated - they lose!


It helped me to fill the empty void Tom left behind.

Needless to say, he slugged me again in this installment with another character.

The covers of these books look more horror, but for those of you who have not ventured into the Rot and Ruin, you don’t know what you are missing out on. These are zombie stories with a lot of heart and emotion.

Rot and Ruin , and Dust and Decay, both start off at a slower pace, but they build and build and whahhhhhh!!!

No one had tried to shoot them, torture them, kidnap them, or eat them in almost a month. Benny put that solidly in the “win”category.

Well, that was until the first chapter of this book.

Flesh and Bone started off in a total zombie crazed frenzie with its characters. There was no slow start to this one and it kept going and going with different character pov’s and the shiz was flying left , right and center.

Jonathan really brings a whole arc of emotions to this series. One minute you are laughing at the way Chong and Benny talk to each other ...such teenage boys, and the next your heart will be getting slugged by Mr Maberry.

“Hey, monkey-banger,” said a familiar voice. “You pick the strangest times to lie down for a nap.”


Chong gaped. “Wait ... what’s that on your back?”

“What ... does ... it... look like... you brain-dead... monkey-banger?” gasped Benny.



Chong finds himself becoming a bit of a hero, with the worst results.


Time seemed to have slowed for Chong, but this moment was stretched so taut that it was going to snap. He knew he could flee this encounter and head into the woods. Physically he could do that; but that was not possible on any other level. He also knew that he was no one’s idea of a hero. Benny was although his friend would laugh at the suggestion; and both Nix and Lilah were heroes. Chong was a self-admitted side-kick. No one should ever depend on him for anything heroic. He didn’t have the mentality or the musculature for it. His bokken was clutched in his fists , and his teeth were clenched.



“Talk to me,” said Chong.

“About what?” she asked. “I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with some smart way out of this bear trap, but every which way I look there’s just more traps.”



As far as the romance for his characters....well that doesn’t get addressed in his story telling like other YA reads where it makes up a whole lot of the story. He tells us that Benny and Nix love each other, but it is more words and life saving gestures than what we are more used to reading when a sixteen year old boy says he loves a girl. I have read enough in the series now to know that they do, but it doesn’t get backed up in the way we are used to in YA reads. There are more important things on these characters minds like saving their group from the horrors that attack them daily.

Benny and Nix are quite the team when it comes to being there for each other. 

“Sacrifice?” gasped Benny. “What are you, nuts or something? It was like I said. Eve was being chased and-“

“We know she was being chased,” cut in Riot. “How stupid do you really think we are?”

“You really want an answer to that, baldy?” asked Nix coldly.

Lilah aka The Lost Girl , we get to connect more with her. She doesn't make it easy for Chong. 

Lilah stood above them, tall and beautiful, her white hair whipping in the fresh breeze, her clothes streaked with gore, her hazel eyes glowing with fire.

She turned slowly to Nix and in her ghostly whisper of a voice said , “I hate boys.”



Lilah and Chong have some great moments. Chong is a bit slow on the uptake. They sure did make me laugh out loud.


Lilah squatted in the tall grass a dozen feet away and stared at the child with hollow eyes through which sad shadows flitted. Benny had once heard Tom refer to that kind of look as a “thousand-year stare.” When Chong made to sit down next to her, Lilah drew her knife and stabbed the point into the earth between them.

“I can see that you need some quiet time,” he said, and scuttled quickly away.



“Yes?” asked Chong.

“Well-?”she said.


“Well... what?”


“I said I was leaving.”


“I know. Did...you want me to go with you?”


She laughed. “This is a hunt.”


“I know.”


“I will be moving fast. Tracking.”


“Yes,” he said. “I know.”


“You’re a --“


“A town boy. Yes. I know that, too.” He smiled. it was a fact she reminded him of a dozen times each day. “And this town boy would slow you down, get you eaten by zoms, and other-wise bring about your downfall of what’s left of humanity.”


“Well...yes.” Lilah studied him, clearly unsure of how to respond. Humour was the bluntest tool in her personal skills set.


“Then if it’s all the same with you, I’ll stay here and manfully defend this tree.”


Lilah narrowed her eyes. “That is not a funny joke.”


“No,” he admitted. “Just mildly silly.”


They sat for a moment, she looking at him and Chong pretending to look at nothing.


“I am leaving,” she said again.


“Okay,” he said.


She lingered, waiting.


“What?” he asked again.


“I am leaving,” she replied, leaning on the word.


“Okay. Good-bye. Be safe. Come back soon.”


“No,” she said.


“Good hunting?”


Lilah growled low in her throat, grabbed his shirt with both hands, and hauled him toward her. Into a kiss that was fierce and hot and instantly intense. After several scalding seconds, she shoved him roughly back.


She got to her feet and snatched up her spear, then looked pityingly down at him. “Stupid town boy,” she muttered, then turned and jogged into the forest.


Chong lay sprawled, eyes glazed and face flushed.


“Holy moley...,” he gasped.



The villains of this installment are the most cray cray SOB’s I have read. More cultish in the way they swoop down on the desperate and brainwash them into being their followers.

Lordy these are some nutbags.

Jonathan does this soooo well.

Saint John is no saint! He is better known as an infamous serial killer, a psychopath, back in the old world. And the guy is totally bonkers. 

He is lethal.

Mother Rose is a user and out to RULE THE WORLD.

I need to throw in an evil laugh here.

Mwah ha ha ha haaaaa!!


“Better her than me,” said Nix. “That guy freaked me out.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not having fuzzy puppy love about Mother Nut Job down there.”


Jonathan has gone all out throwing his teenagers into an onslaught of deathly trouble.

Nix and Benny, Chong and Lilah ( The Lost Girl) , throw in some new characters and the action is nonstop .

The pages turn all by themselves with Jonathan’s story.

Seriously you have to strap yourself in for this one.

I really enjoyed Lilah and Joe Ledger. Joe is very entertaining and he is the guy I would be hanging with. He is a wealth of knowledge and he knows how to survive. 

“And why did you help me back there?”

“Is that a serious question?”


“Of course.”


“Well, let’s see. Girl. Hurt girl, actually. Bunch of freaking zombie pigs that want to eat hurt girl. Hmmm, why’d I step in? Truth is, I slept badly last night, woke with a kink in my shoulder, and as everyone knows, there’s no better way to loosen up old joints than to go chop-socky on a couple of zombie pigs. Well-known fact. “


She glowered at him. “That’s a stupid answer.”


“No,” he corrected, “it’s a silly answer. The question was pretty silly too, don’t you think?”




Joe adjusted the seat belts carefully around Lilah’s wound. “Not a chance.”

“You’re going to fight back?”

“Honey, I never stopped fighting.”



He turned and grinned at her. “I admire your spunk, darlin’, but you’re in no shape for a brawl.”

“I can shoot.”

“There’s that.” Joe dismounted. “Tell you what,” he said, “you can play target practice with anyone who gets past me and the fuzz-monster.”



“Okay, kids,” he said loud enough for the reapers and Lilah to hear, “before you go all wrath-of-God on me, let’s chat for a bit.”



“And we do not fear dying. To die is to become one with the darkness, and that is the greatest joy of all.”

“Really?” asked Joe, seemingly incredulous. “You guys actually believe that?”


“Yes!”declared the man with the hummingbird tattoos, and the other reapers roared in agreement.


“No fear of death at all, is that what I’m hearing? I mean. Is that the gist?”


“Death is a pathway to glory and oneness with the infinite.”


“So... if I shot one of you, everyone here would be good with that?”


“You think like someone from the old world,” sneered the leader. “You still think that we fear death and -“


Joe drew his pistol and shot the man through the heart.


.... “Now the funny thing is,” said Joe into the silence, “there’s more than a couple of you who look pretty damn scared right now.”




....”This is an M67 fragmentation grenade. Yeah, I know it’s from the old world, but let’s pretend that it still has relevance to the moment. It has a casualty radius of fifteen meters, with a fatality radius of five meters. That covers all you cats. Now, I’m willing to bet a brand-new ration dollar that not one of you is going to bravely stand there while I throw it. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’re all going to run away as if you really are afraid for your lives. What do you think about that?”

The reapers stared at him.

Joe grinned at them.

He pulled the pin.


“She frowned. “You’re afraid of Saint John?”

Joe put his hands on her shoulders. “Lilah, there’s not a living soul on this planet who shouldn’t be afraid of Saint John.”




“Lock and load, little darlin’,“ bellowed Joe as he gunned the engine.


Joe Ledger is my Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. I’m hanging with him! He’s got grenades and shit!

Quite an emotional ending , that had me sucking back a few. Jonathan knows how to hurt the readers feelings with how tough he can be on his characters hearts. He hurts my heart, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Jonathan brings human chaos and betrayal to their own kind to the fore front in this book.

Zombies are the least of this group of teenagers worries, it is their own kind that are more the monster.

By the time you finish this one, you will be crying for more.

I know I am.

I really liked Nix’s journal entries. A nice touch to the impact Tom has had on them all and what they have learnt from him.

Be warrior smart.


Benny and Nix stumble across world saving information and game plan winning equipment and a whole lot of frightening realization is waving like a flag in front of their faces.

It made no sense. Not according to everything Benny had learned in his nearly sixteen years. Since First Night everyone who died, no matter how they died, reanimated as a zom. Everyone. No exceptions. It was the way things were.

Until it wasn’t.



“A LAW rocket? God almighty, kid... where did you see that?” he asked in a fierce whisper.

Benny smiled and winked. “I can’t tell you,” he said. “It’s a secret.”

And then passed out.


I totally recommend reading this series about an endearing group of friends who will make you laugh, cheer for their survival and the little 'wins' they have on the battle field that has become their life. 

Staying alive is a tough business and so is finding the time to eat amongst all the cray cray that the world is dishing at them.

Jonathan's writing is a total zombie escapism, it's comforting knowing I am safe and sound holding a book in my comfy bed, while Jonathan puts his very brave young gang through the grinder of appalling humanity, and what some people will do when a world has gone to shit and they are looking at power and euthanasia as an answer.

That was a bloody long sentence.



Michelle


Totally psyched for Fire And Ash due for release - 3rd September 2013

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..


JOE LEDGER SERIES
This I gotta read!!





When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there's either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills... and there's nothing wrong with Joe Ledger's skills. And that's both a good, and a bad thing. It's good because he's a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can't handle. This rapid response group is called the Department of Military Sciences or the DMS for short. It's bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance....

Visit www.stmartins.com/jonathanmaberry to download the free short story COUNTDOWN


The Joe Ledger Series in Order
The JOE LEDGER series in order

This is a complete list of all of the Joe Ledger novels and short stories (so far) in the correct reading order.

COUNTDOWN
(teaser prequel to PATIENT ZERO)
Meet Joe Ledger, Baltimore PD, attached to a Homeland task force… who's about to get a serious promotion.
Available for all e-readers (Kindle, Nook, etc)
Available on audio by Blackstone, read by Ray Porter

PATIENT ZERO
NOVEL #1/Published in 2009/ available in trade paperback, eBook and on audio
When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there's either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills... and there's nothing wrong with Joe Ledger's skills. And that's both a good, and a bad thing. It's good because he's a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can't handle. This rapid response group is called the Department of Military Sciences or the DMS for short. It's bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.... Available in trade paperback from St. Martin’s Griffin and on audio from Blackstone
ISBN-10: 0312382855 / ISBN-13: 978-0312382858

ZERO TOLERANCE
Short Story
This sequel to PATIENT ZERO brings Joe Ledger back into action, hunting for zombies in the deadly mountains of Afghanistan. .
Available in print in THE LIVING DEAD 2 edited by John Joseph Adams
Coming soon as an e-story
Available on audio by Blackstone, read by Ray Porter

DEEP, DARK
Short Story
In an underground bioweapons lab a team of scientists working to develop super soldiers instead create something that is far deadlier and infinitely stranger. Joe Ledger and Echo Team must hunt –and be hunted—deep down in the dark.
Available for all e-readers (Kindle, Nook, etc)
Available on audio by Blackstone, read by Ray Porter

MATERIAL WITNESS
Short Story
A stand-alone short story that takes place in the early days of Joe Ledger’s service in the Department of Military Sciences, a top secret division of Homeland Security. Joe Ledger and the DMS must protect a Pine Deep resident spook and author who is in over his head with the wrong people and may know more than he is letting on.
Available for all e-readers (Kindle, Nook, etc)
Available on audio by Blackstone, read by Ray Porter

THE DRAGON FACTORY
NOVEL #2/Published in 2010/ available in trade paperback, eBook and on audio
Joe and the DMS go up against two competing groups of geneticists. One side is creating exotic transgenic monsters and genetically enhanced mercenary armies; the other is using 21st century technology to continue the Nazi Master Race program begun by Josef Mengele. Both sides want to see the DMS destroyed, and they've drawn first blood. Neither side is prepared for Joe Ledger as he leads Echo Team to war under a black flag.
Available in trade paperback from St. Martin’s Griffin and on audio from Blackstone
ISBN-10: 0312382499 / ISBN-13: 978-0312382490

DOG DAYS
Short Story
Joe Ledger returns in this tale that follows the tragic conclusion of THE DRAGON FACTORY. In the wake of a devastating personal loss, Joe Ledger and his new canine partner, Ghost, go hunting for the world's deadliest assassin.
An audio exclusive story available from Blackstone, read by Ray Porter


CHANGELING
Short Story
Joe Ledger teams with a mysterious British agent named Felicity to investigate a dangerous bioweapons factory.
This story will be in Midnight Echo Magazine, May 2013.

THE KING OF PLAGUES
NOVEL #3/Published in 2011/ available in trade paperback, eBook and on audio
Saturday 09:11 Hours: A blast rocks a London hospital and thousands are dead or injured… 10:09 Hours: Joe Ledger arrives on scene to investigate. The horror is unlike anything he has ever seen. Compelled by grief and rage, Joe rejoins the DMS and within hours is attacked by a hit-team of assassins and sent on a suicide mission into a viral hot zone during an Ebola outbreak. Soon Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences begin tearing down the veils of deception to uncover a vast and powerful secret society using weaponized versions of the Ten Plagues of Egypt to destabilize world economies and profit from the resulting chaos. Millions will die unless Joe Ledger meets the this powerful new enemy on their own terms as he fights terror with terror.
Available in trade paperback from St. Martin’s Griffin and on audio from Blackstone
ISBN-10: 0312382502 / ISBN-13: 978-0312382506

ASSASSIN’S CODE
NOVEL #4/Published in 2012/ available in trade paperback, eBook and on audio
When Joe Ledger and Echo Team rescue a group of American college kids held hostage in Iran, the Iranian government then asks them to help find six nuclear bombs planted in the Mideast oil fields. These stolen WMDs will lead Joe and Echo Team into hidden vaults of forbidden knowledge, mass-murder, betrayal, and a brotherhood of genetically-engineered killers with a thirst for blood. Accompanied by the beautiful assassin called Violin, Joe follows a series of clues to find the Book of Shadows, which contains a horrifying truth that threatens to shatter his entire worldview. They say the truth will set you free… Not this time. The secrets of the Assassin’s Code will set the world ablaze.
Available in trade paperback from St. Martin’s Griffin and on audio from Macmillan
ISBN-10: 0312552203 / ISBN-13: 978-0312552206

MAD SCIENCE
Short Story
Joe Ledger and Violin go after a kill-squad of Red Knights in this sequel to ASSASSIN’S CODE.
A short story exclusive to the LIAR LAIR audiobook anthology; available now from Blackstone Audio.

BORROWED POWER
Short Story
Joe Ledger teams with a mysterious British agent named Felicity to investigate a dangerous bioweapons factory.
A story told in two parts: A young Mr. Church teams with Lilith to hunt monsters in the sewers beneath Paris; and when that ancient evil rises again, Joe Ledger and Violin close in for the kill.
Available in eBook only for all eReaders.

A FOOTNOTE IN THE BLACK BUDGET
Short Story
Joe Ledger, Top and Bunny go to the bottom of the world all the way to the Mountains of Madness in this crossover with H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.
***This story is not yet released. It will be included in the anthology THE MADNESS OF CTHULHU, edited by S.T. Joshi, spring 2014.

EXTINCTION MACHINE
NOVEL #5
The President of the United States vanishes from the White House for five hours. Next morning he is found, apparently safe and sound. Except that he claims that during the night he was abducted by aliens. A top-secret prototype stealth fighter is destroyed during a test flight. Witnesses on the ground say that it was shot down by a craft that immediately vanished at impossible speeds. North Korea’s ultra top-secret weapons research lab is destroyed by a volcano –in an area where there has not been an eruption for forty millions years. All over the world reports of UFOs are increasing at an alarming rate. Key military personnel, politicians and scientists begin disappearing. And in a remote fossil dig in China dinosaur hunters have found something that is definitely not of this earth. Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences rush headlong into the heat of the world’s strangest and deadliest arms race, because the global race to recover and retro-engineer alien technologies has just hit a snag. Someone—or something--wants that technology back.

ALIVE DAY
Novella / September 2013
Joe, Top and Bunny go deep into the Afghan desert to confront an ancient horror.
ALIVE DAY
This novella will be included in the new anthology, FOUR SUMMONER’S TALES (Gallery Books, September 2013)

CODE ZERO
NOVEL #6 / Coming March 2014
A rogue scientist takes the Seif al Din pathogen (and dozens of other deadly and exotic weapons) and begins selling them to the highest bidders. Bizarre science-based terrorist attacks tear the nation apart –and at the heart of it are new outbreaks of the zombie plague that first brought Joe Ledger into the DMS. Joe and his crew team up with Arklight (from ASSASSIN’S CODE) in a running battle that leaves a trail of bodies from Los Angeles to the steps of the White House.

PREDATOR ONE
NOVEL #7 / Coming March 2015

Also….JOE LEDGER makes cameo appearances in…

FLESH & BONE
Book #3 of the ROT & RUIN series / Available now in hardcover and eBook from Simon & Schuster

TOOTH & NAIL
An eBook exclusive set between FLESH & BONE and FIRE & ASH


FIRE & ASH
Book #4 of the ROT & RUIN series / Debuts August 2013 from Simon & Schuster)

4 comments:

  1. What a great and comprehensive review. Well done! Jonathan's books are perfect for people who love action with heart,imagination,and believable creepy-ness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kathleen,

      Yes, Jonathan has captured me, I shall get onto Joe's books as I think he is a great guy.

      :D

      Mioh

      Delete
  2. I've wanted to read this series for forever! I can't believe I forgot about it! Oh, you've made me want this even more. I love getting lost in a totally scary zombie book and then remembering I'm really safe and sound in my house!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Jesse, this is a series that will take people by surprise, it's more than just zombies...much, much more.

      :D
      Mich

      Delete

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