Fire & Ash by Jonathan Maberry

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Fire & Ash by Jonathan Maberry

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Oh noes! It's all over! This final instalment of the Rot & Ruin zombie-Western series is as super-duper as all the others. I'm sad it's all over but I'm glad it went out on a high.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 544 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1471117952

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ALERT! Spoilers for early books in the Rot & Ruin series are scattered throughout this review. So if you haven't read the others, get thee over to my words about book one.

Ok. Now it's just us, the people who have been waiting for the final book in this super-duper series, I'll carry on...

Things aren't going so well for Benny Imura. His best friend Chong is desperately ill, a victim of the Reaper Plague, hovering between life and the living death of the undead. The military boffs at Sanctuary are secretive and aren't giving Benny much information about Chong's condition. Girlfriend Nix seems far away and Benny is afraid that she's fallen out of love with him. Wild girl Lilah has regressed without her town boy Chong. The undead are becoming quicker, brighter. Tom is dead. Benny can no longer rely on his samurai older brother. And Saint John is still out there somewhere, leading a horde of Reapers intent on wiping out the people who survived First Night.

But Benny has no intention of giving up. He is the boy who helped destroy Gameland. Who found the jet and Sanctuary. And he is the boy who has friends to save. And he is the boy who has friends at his back. But is he the boy who will stop at nothing to win?

Oh noes! It's all over! No more Rot & Ruin for me. I'm sad it's all over but I'm glad it went out on a high.

It says something about this series that I am still upset about Tom's death way back in book two. But in this final volume, you can see why it happened. This is Benny's story and all his experiences - victories and defeats, loves and losses - come together. You see him become everything that Tom was - skilled, courageous, humane - but you also see him become something more, standing on the shoulders of the man who went before. Benny stands for the potential of all humanity and he offers it a second chance at doing things right.

I shall miss the Rot & Ruin enormously. I have loved this series. It ticks all my boxes - a western setting, the undead, the young as standard bearers for a better way, female characters with more to do than worry about boys, intricate, clever plotting. It's exciting and gory and sad and hopeful and all sorts of other things. It will give kids something to aim for in their own lives and a real sense of their own potential. But I'm glad it's come to an end now, before it became predictable and same-y. And I'll be reading all four books again very soon. I'll probably be reading all four again-again very soon after that.

This entire series comes highly recommended by me.

I like the very different treatment given to the undead in Generation Dead by Daniel Waters and if it's zombies you like, I think you should give it a try.

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