Dust & Decay by Jonathan MaberryDust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry

Dust & Decay

byJonathan Maberry

Hardcover | August 30, 2011

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Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them.

Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?

In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.
Jonathan Maberry was born on May 18, 1958. His early books dealt mainly with martial arts and self defense. He then wrote a number of books on the folklore and beliefs of the occult and paranormal including Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us and Hunger for Us, Zombie CSU, and They Bite. His f...
Title:Dust & DecayFormat:HardcoverDimensions:528 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.7 inPublished:August 30, 2011Publisher:Simon & Schuster Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442402350

ISBN - 13:9781442402355

Appropriate for ages: 12


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Just as good as the first book Was given this book as a gift and enjoyed the read. It's a very easy and quick read; if you're looking for deep character development and revelation, this is not the book. But I did enjoy the fast pace of it, and how they ran with the zombies in this book.
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just as amazing as the first A wonderful story line that is riveting and thrilling. This series gets better with every book. #PlumReview
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Looks like it's going to be a great series **Caution: Spoilers! Read at your risk!** Loved Rot and Ruin. This book was also ten times better than Rot and Ruin. Everything just got better when I read this book. The characters got better (except Nix, for some reason I just can?t get myself to like her). There were moments of close calls for these characters and some nail biting moments. I absolutely loved the introduction of the different hunters (the Surfers were awesome! and Sally Two Knives!). The humor is back again in this book, I loved the banter between Benny and Chong. I also loved the banter between Lilah and Chong. I?m so happy they eventually became a couple. It?s an odd couple nevertheless, but given the circumstances of what?s happening around them, it goes hand in hand. The writing style and character development is excellent. There?s a handful of characters to keep track of but the main core would be Benny and his friends. Benny?s group including himself develop, and you see them grow up mentally. After what Nix experiences, she?s matured but through no choice of her own. However whenever you do read the banter between the friends, they act just like kids do and in a sense, it?s comforting because they can still act like their age despite what?s going on around them. The plot itself was excellent, and keep in mind it follows right after the events of Rot and Ruin, so it?s best if you read in order. The final third of the book is filled with action and an epic fighting scene. Unfortunately some characters do have to leave. I didn?t want this particular one to go and was absolutely blindsided with this turn of events. I was so attached to this particular character, I have to admit, I cried. This shows though, that Maberry?s writing and characters are very well done, because we get attached to them emotionally and we cheer them on. Definitely a good follow up to Rot and Ruin, and it looks like it?s a great series so far. An absolute must read for zombie YA readers.
Date published: 2014-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beaufiul An emotional roller coaster, twists and turn you'll never see coming. Worth the read.
Date published: 2014-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't Put it Down Wow, what a book! I could barely put this down, it is so intense and action packed. This is the second installment of the Benny Imura series, the first being Rot & Ruin. These are young adult thriller zombie books with a decidedly human twist. Dust & Decay sees Benny Imura, his brother Tom, and their friends Nix, Chong and Lilah sevens month after destroying Gameland. They have trained and are leaving the safety of town to go after the airplane they saw fly past, and to go after a different life. This book really drew me in, right from the first lines, and each chapter had me wanting to read the next one. Maberry's writing is often fast and abrupt, which adds to the pace of the book. I loved how the humour, tension, action and horror mixed with the human story and how invested we become in the characters. There were also some great twists and turns. I don't want to give anything away, but I even shed a few tears at the end, I was so wrapped up in the story. The addition of a page from Nix's journal here and there was a good one as it answered a lot of the questions about the back story and asked a lot of the same questions I had about the zombies and the Rot & Ruin. I enjoyed how the characters developed in this story, particularly Benny and Chong. Benny has really matured. I loved his ambivalence about going out into the Rot & Ruin as this seemed authentic and human. It would be difficult for most people to leave the world they know and its safety for the danger and uncertainty of a new life, especially a dangerous one. However, he has made his decision, and once he is out in the Rot & Ruin, his training and level headedness shows. Chong was also great and showed real growth. He seems authentic in his desire to go out into the Rot & Ruin, to have the adventure, but only for one day. He doesn't take the situation completely seriously, just a I could see many teens doing. The consequences of his actions put him in a position to show what he is really made of and examine himself, which he does. It is sad to see him lose his last shred of innocence, especially because I felt for him. There are also great female characters in this book in Nix and Lilah. They are strong and can fend for themselves, something missing in many books where the girls have to be saved all of the time or are only accidentally strong. Nix is smart and hurting from the events of the first book, but she can certainly hold her own. Lilah is all brawn and "street smart" but learns more about her human side as the book goes on. What I especially love about this series is how Maberry explores what it means to be human. Dust & Decay explores various themes along these lines: what it is to really live - is it OK to bury your head in the sand and exist and be safe, or is it better to take risks and be free and live?; the nature of evil - how intention and free will is needed to be evil; and how people act without laws - will evil and fear dominate with lawlessness, do we need a moral compass to tell us how to behave? Something I haven't mentioned yet are the zombies. Yes, this is definitely a zombie book and there are lots of zombies and graphically violent scenes. There is also an underlying level of violence to the whole book, between the zombies and the bounty hunters. I am not normally one for violent books, but the scenes do fit the story and do not seem out of place or gratuitous. I loved this book and would easily recommend it to those who like zombie or action and adventure books or are OK with violent scenes. There are great male and female characters in this book, which should appeal to both boys and girls. I can see the length being initially off putting for some kids, but if they can get into it, the fast pace should carry them along. My own son who is 12 loved Rot & Ruin and has made me promise to buy him a print copy of Dust & Decay when it comes out at the end of August. Personally, I can't wait to see what is next for Benny and his friends in the next book.
Date published: 2011-08-30

Read from the Book

1 BENNY IMURA WAS APPALLED TOLEARN THAT THE APOCALYPSE CAME with homework. “Why do we have to study this stuff?” he demanded. “We already know what happened. People started turning into zoms, the zoms ate just about everyone, everyone who dies becomes a zom, so the moral of this tale is: Try not to die.” Across the kitchen table, his brother, Tom, stared at him with narrowed eyes. “Are you deliberately trying to be an idiot, or is it a natural gift?” “I’m serious. We know what happened.” “Really? Then how come you spent most of last summer complaining that no one my age tells anyone your age the truth about the living dead?” “Telling us is one thing. Essays and pop quizzes are a whole different thing.” “Because heaven forbid you should have to remember anything we told you.” Benny raised his eyebrows mysteriously and tapped his temple. “I have it all right here in the vast storehouse of knowledge that is me.” “Okay, boy genius, then what started the plague?” “Easy one,” Benny said. “Nobody knows.” “What are the leading theories?” Benny jabbed his fork into a big piece of buttered yam, shoved it into his mouth, and chewed noisily as he spoke. It was a move calculated to annoy Tom in three separate ways. Tom hated when he spoke with his mouth full. He hated it when Benny chewed with his mouth open. And it would muffle most of what he said, which meant that Tom had to pay even more attention to the yam-packed mouth from which the muffled words came. “Radiation, virus, bioweapon, toxic waste, solar flares, act of God.” He rattled it off so there was no break between the words. Also annoying, and worth at least another point on Benny’s personal Annoy-O-Meter. Tom sipped his tea and said nothing, but he gave Benny the look. Benny sighed and swallowed. “Okay,” he said, “at first people thought it was radiation from a satellite.” “Space probe,” corrected Tom. “Whatever. But that doesn’t make sense, because one satellite—” “Space probe.” “—wouldn’t carry enough radioactive material to spread over the entire world.” “We think.” “Sure,” conceded Benny, “but in science class they told us even if one of the old nuclear power plants did a whatchamacallit, there—” “Meltdown.” “—wouldn’t be enough radiation to cover the entire planet even though it has more radioactive materials than a satellite.” Tom sighed. Benny smiled. “What conclusion can you draw from that?” “The world wasn’t destroyed by radioactive alien space zombies.” “Probably wasn’t destroyed by radioactive alien space zombies,” Tom corrected. “How about a virus?” Benny cut a piece of chicken and ate it. Tom was a great cook, and this was one of his better meals. Yams, broiled chicken with mushrooms and almonds, and rich green kale. A loaf of steaming bread made from the last of the winter wheat sat near where Benny could plunder it. “Chong’s dad says that a virus needs a living host, and zoms aren’t alive. He said that maybe bacteria or a fungus was sustaining the virus.” “Do you know what a bacterium is?” “Sure … it’s a bug thingy that makes you sick.” “God, I love it when you display the depth of your knowledge. It makes me proud to be your brother.” “Kiss my—” “Language.” They grinned at each other. It had been nearly seven months since Benny’s lifelong hatred and distrust of Tom had transformed into affection and respect. That process had started last summer, shortly after Benny’s fifteenth birthday. On some level Benny knew that he loved Tom, but since Tom was his brother and this was still the real world, the chances of Benny ever using that L word were somewhere between “no way” and “get out of my way I’m going to throw up.” Not that Benny was afraid of the L word when it came to someone better suited for it, namely the fiercely red-haired queen of freckles, Nix Riley. Benny would like very much to toss that word up for her to consider, but he had yet to do so. Shortly after the big fight at the bounty hunters’ camp, when Benny had tentatively tried to bring up the subject, Nix had threatened bodily harm if he said that word. Benny had zipped his mouth shut, understanding completely why the moment had been so inappropriate. Charlie Pink-eye Matthias and the Motor City Hammer had murdered Nix’s mother, and the insane events of the days that followed hadn’t allowed Nix to properly react. Or grieve. Those days had been the weirdest mix of absolute horror, black despair, and soaring happiness. The emotions he’d felt didn’t seem to even belong in the same world, let alone the same person. Benny gave Nix her time for grief, and he grieved too. Mrs. Riley had been a great lady. Sweet, funny, kind, and always a little sad. Like everyone else in Mountainside, Jessie Riley had suffered terrible losses during First Night. Her husband, her two sons. “Everyone lost someone,” Chong often reminded him. Even though they’d been toddlers, Benny and Chong were the only ones among their friends to remember that night. Chong said that it was all a blur of screams and shouts, but Benny remembered it with a peculiar clarity. His mother handing him through a first-floor window to Tom—who was a twenty-year-old cadet at the police academy—and then the pale, shambling thing that had been Dad coming out of the shadows and pulling Mom away. Then Tom running away, his terrified heartbeat hammering like a drum inside the chest to which he held a squirming, screaming Benny. Until last year Benny had remembered that First Night in a twisted way. All his life he had believed that Tom had simply run away. That he had not tried to help Mom. That he was a coward. Now Benny knew different. Now he knew what kind of torment Tom had suffered to save him. He also knew that when Mom had handed him through the window to Tom, she had already been bitten. She was already lost. Tom had done the only thing he could have done. He ran, and in running had given value to Mom’s sacrifice, and that had saved them both. Now Benny was fifteen and a half, and First Night was a million years ago. This world was no longer that world. On First Night the old world had died. As the dead rose, the living perished. Cities were incinerated by the military in a futile attempt to stop the growing armies of the dead. The electromagnetic pulses from the nukes fried all electronics. The machines went silent, and soon, so did the whole country. Now everything east of the small town of Mountainside was the great Rot and Ruin. A few other towns littered the foothills of the Sierra Nevada north and south of Benny’s home, but the rest of the old world had been consumed. Or … had it? During that adventure in the mountains east of town, Benny and Nix had seen something that to them was as inexplicable and potentially world-changing as the zombie plague had been. Flying high, high above them had been a thing Benny had only ever read about in old books. A jet. A sleek jumbo jet that flew out of the east, banked in a slow circle around the mountains, and then headed back the way it had come. Now Benny and Nix were counting down the days until they left Mountainside to find where the jet had come from. The calendar pinned to the wall by the back door had black Xs over the first ten days of this month. There were seven unmarked days, and then a big red circle around the following Saturday. April 17, one week from today. The words ROAD TRIP were written in block letters below the date. Tom thought that the jet was flying in the general direction of Yosemite National Park, which was due east of the town. Benny and Nix had begged Tom for this trip for months, but as the day approached, Benny wasn’t so sure he still wanted to go. It was just that Nix was absolutely determined. “Earth to Benny Imura.” Benny blinked and heard as an after-echo the sound of Tom snapping his fingers. “Huh?” “Jeez … what planet were you orbiting?” “Oh … just kind of drifted there.” “Nix or the jet?” “Little of both.” “Must have been more about the jet,” Tom said. “There was less drool.” “You are very nearly funny,” said Benny. He looked down at his plate and was mildly surprised that it was empty. “Yes,” said Tom, “you were eating on autopilot. It was fascinating to watch.” There was a knock on the door. Benny shot to his feet and crossed the kitchen to the back door. He was smiling as he undid the locks. “That’s got to be Nix,” he said as he pulled it open. “Hey, sweetie …” Morgie Mitchell and Lou Chong stood on the back porch. “Um,” said Chong, “hello to you, too, sugar lumps.” © 2011 Jonathan Maberry

Editorial Reviews

"Fans of Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games will devour this."--VOYA