REVIEW: Fire & Ash (Benny Imura #4) by Jonathan Maberry

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Young Adult/ Zombies, Pages: 448, Level: Easy

Book Description from Goodreads:

“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…”

And this is how you end a series (yes I’m talking to you Charlaine Harris).

So, how shall I sum up the whole Benny Imura series? I’ll let Maberry do that himself:

…nothing was more dangerous than living men. p241

Fire & Ash is a worthy ending to a very good series. And as it turns out, this series may actually be longer than I thought… but I don’t want to ruin any surprises so I’ll just leave you with that little teaser. You can read the series and decide for yourself.

The final book in the Benny Imura series brings the final confrontation between Benny’s people, the Reapers and of course, the zombies. Will the Children of Lazarus inherit the earth?

Yes, the weirdo religious theme reaches full force in Fire & Ash, which of course made me very happy:

“There is a storm coming,” he said. “It is the breath of my god, and it will be more powerful than any hurricane you’ve ever seen. The clouds will open and a rain of blood will pour down upon you. The coming storm will blow down the structures of your old world; it will seek out the blasphemers no matter where they hide. It will cleanse the earth, and when it has passed there will be no proof that you- that any of you- ever even lived.” p233

Maberry also continues with the intelligent, profound life statements as well. As a military brat and spouse, this one hits close to home:

And that sparked a memory of something Tom once told him, an old samurai maxim that describes the apparent contradiction of those who prepare for war but do not crave it. “We train ten thousand hours to prepare for a single moment we pray never happens.” p282

Of course there is also the humor that is characteristic of the predecessors as well:

“Should we split up?” asked Lilah. “I can-“
“Not a chance,” said Joe. “This isn’t a bad horror movie. We stay together and we watch each other’s backs. No one goes into the basement in a negligee to investigate a strange noise.” p314

I love that this is in there. I don’t know how many times I have screamed at the television, yelling at the dumb girl who refuses to take off her stiletto high heels as a monster or murderer is chasing her. And I love that the teenagers don’t get it. Why would they?

And the last thing I want to highlight- In a post-zombie-apocalyptic world, it makes sense that there would be a lot of profanity. However, since this series is a Young Adult series:

Riot proved that her earlier demonstration of foul language had only been a warm-up. She described an act so physically appalling and improbable that even Benny winced- and he appreciated this kind of thing. p225

Man that cracks me up! I’d include the iguana remark as well, but I want to leave something for you to discover for yourself.

By the way, the Walking Dead reference was a nice touch.

Fire & Ash is an outstanding book and a great ending to the entire Benny Imura series, which consists of 4 books. I highly recommend the series to adults and young adults alike.

Reviewed by Christina
August 28, 2013

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