The zombie attacks are bigger, better—and gorier—in this nearly non-stop action sequel to Rot & Ruin (2010).
With a quick recap of events from the first novel, this account picks up seven months after 15-year-old Benny Imura and his “closure expert” stepbrother Tom rescued “Lost Girl” Lilah, killed ruthless zombie hunter Charlie Pink-eye and witnessed the only jet since First Night turned the dead into monstrous zombies. Since the brothers’ return to their fenced California town, Tom has been training Lilah, Benny, Benny’s girlfriend Nix and Benny’s best friend Chong to battle zoms in the manner of Japanese warriors. They need these skills as they set out into the surrounding lawless terrain to find the jet. Their journey is interrupted, however, by Preacher Jack and White Bear, who have taken over Pink-eye’s territory, reinstated Gameland (gladiator-style arena games that pit children against zoms) and promulgated bizarre religious beliefs. When not trying to survive any one of these perils, the teens continue to contemplate the meaning of First Night and love in an uncertain time. Their terrifying situations stimulate more debate on the true nature of humans, while a host of savory secondary characters adds to the thrill.A cinematic ending with lingering unanswered questions and plenty of zombies still lurking in the unknown sets the scene for the next installment. (Science fiction. 13 & up)