The third time’s the charm with even more adventure—and gore—as the series continues (Dust & Decay, 2011, etc.).
With their beloved trainer Tom now dead, Benny, Nix, Chong, and Lilah carry on their search in the Rot and Ruin for the still-elusive jet. Just when the teens didn’t think anything could be stranger in a zombie-infested world, they cross paths with Mother Rose and Saint John of the Knife, rival leaders of the Night Church, a death cult seeking the extinction of the human race. Separated from one another early on in the story, the teens battle nonstop with various factions of the Night Church and their zombie minions. As Mother Rose and Saint John secretly try to double-cross one another, the battles turn deadlier. The blood bath is tempered by each teen’s personal struggle with grief and realization of his or her “Warrior Smart” training. Short chapters, punctuated by suspenseful, cliffhanger endings, heighten the tension throughout. Of course, zombies still play a large role, and Maberry keeps each zombie chase terrifying as more evolved and cross-species zombies enter this already dangerous environment. While the teens learn more about the genesis of the zombie plague and the history of the nation (or what’s left of it) since First Night, many more questions remain unanswered.
Good thing there will be another sequel. (Science fiction. 13 & up)