Following the events of Rot & Ruin I was eager to start Dust & Decay ASAP! There is lots of action and readers still follow Benny Imura and friends, but for whatever reason, this just wasn't as exciting for me. Don't get me wrong...DUST & DECAY is good but it just didn't hold my interest or meet my expectations.
What if all of your favorite post apocalyptic and dystopian books were able to marry and produce offspring? The outcome of such a phenomenal mash-up would have the potential to be the most uber fabulous, end all of end all stories. It would have action, adventure, struggle, zombies, sickness, corrupt leadership, strong protagonist, and amazing characters. In fact, it would be exactly like ENCLAVE.
This book has it all and then some!
At first I feared that there was too much going on in the book and fought the urge to compare it to other popular books in this genre. But, sooner rather than later, I forgot why I was so skeptical and surrendered all to the plot. IT WAS AMAZING!!!!
The story is really made of three different parts. The first (and longest storyline) focusing on the people who have been surviving the apocalypse underground for centuries–never setting their eyes on the sun and everything “top side”. Underground they have developed a type of government and assign people jobs (this was very reminiscent of City of Ember). Some people are born to be breeders, some builders, and others hunters. The Hunters are the group of people that go through the tunnels and collect food and try to remove “The Freaks” which are zombie like creatures that live underground and one of the threats to the settlement. However, there is another threat to the long term survival of the enclave and that is their life spans. For an unknown reason, most likely from nutrition or lack of sunlight, the people born and living in the underground enclave’s do not live long, in fact their Elder is 25 years old.
This first part of the book not only introduces us to the characters and their way of life underground, but also to the relationships that become very important through out the rest of the story. In particular that of Deuce, the huntress, and Fade the orphan boy who joined the enclave only years earlier. It is the bond between them that leads us to the second part of the storyline. Together they are exiled from the enclave and forced to try to make it “top side” where gangs of boys are the main threat (this part reminded me of The Hunger Games where Peeta and Katniss are in the arena).
The third part focuses on Deuce, Fade and a couple of new friends and their journey to find a safer place to take shelter. As they travel North we see how the stress and uncertainty of the journey effects their bonds and how they strive to persevere in a hostile world.
Though there are lots of things that on their own would and have already made interesting stories, joined together they made something really awesome. I was very sad when it ended because I wasn’t ready to close the book. I was pleased to discover that there is another book in this series coming out in 2012…it just can’t get here soon enough!
Though, not exactly a sequel, the follow up novel to French's award winning debut, In The Woods, is set in the same world from the author's first book. Fans that were hoping for answers to the mysteries left unsolved in the first book will be sadly disappointed.
The Likeness revolves around Cassie Madox, (Rob Ryan's partner) who was a significant character in the first book. Some time has lapsed since the events of In The Woods and Cassie is dealing with the aftermath and attempting to go on with her life. Her former partner, Rob, that was the center of the previous book-- is pretty much absent from the story with the exception of a few mentions here and there. Cassie has moved on, changed departments, and is in a steady relationship with Sam O'Neil. Things are looking up for her until a ghost from her past pops up unexpectedly and pushes Cassie into an impossible situation that is almost as impossible to believe.
In The Likeness, readers are to believe that a doppelganger exist to the extent where someone could assume the identity of someone they look like and fool everyone they live with...it is entirely unlikely and yet...I couldn't pull myself away from the book.
There is something about the way Tana French tells a story that makes it easy for me to believe what she is writing at the moment I am reading it. I admit, that even as I am writing this I am thinking to myself how silly the plot was, but I ate it up. Couldn't get enough of it really. Perhaps it is the fact that I got the book on audio. It is a very long book and I can only imagine how tedious it may have been to read due to all the descriptions and long dialogues. But, listening to it was AMAZING. I hung on every word the narrator said and was transported to French's Dublin and it was a thrilling book to experience.
If you are already a fan of Tana French then I think you will enjoy The Likeness. For those that are not as keen on her work, I suggest checking out the audiobook. It is a very long mystery and a bit far-fetched, but incredibly entertaining!
ROT & RUIN by Jonathan Maberry was one of the audiobooks that I had been eye-balling for some time but for whatever reason always pushed it to the side. Big mistake-HUGE! From the moment I pushed play I was consumed by the story and the journey of the characters and their development along the way.
Benny Imura is an average 15 year old boy with average thoughts and angst but living in a time and situation that is anything but average. Benny goes to school, hangs out with friends, has typical boy-girl drama, and feels bitter toward his older brother, Tom, who he harbors resentment to and blames for his mother’s death when he was only two years old. Despite the fact that his brother has done an amazing job raising him, Benny’s memory (through the eyes of a two-year-old) of the night his parents died in the zombie apocalypse known as “first night”, won’t allow him to forgive his brother for running away and not helping his folks.
Although Benny has grown up in relative safety behind the fence of make-shift town with a population of approx 800, Zombies still walk outside the walls in what is known as the Rot and Ruin. It is because of the danger outside the town that people ages 15 and up, have to do their part and work in order to get a full ration of food. Hating the idea of working with his brother who is well respected in town as a zombie killer, Benny goes everywhere he can think of to apply for a job but has little luck. Getting a job is mandatory, so when all other doors close Benny swallows his pride and agrees to try working with Tom in the “family business”. From the very first moment Benny steps foot in the Rot & Ruin his life is altered and as he starts to question the things he once was so certain about, he begins the journey of finding out who he really is and becoming a man.
I enjoyed every minute of this story. The narrator did a great job of keeping the personalities varied and the story exciting. I have read reviews where some who have actually “read” the books found the first part slow and the second half un-put-downable, and all I can say is that listening to the audiobook, I didn’t experience that particular lull. The only thing I had an issue with (and it is minor) was in some of the repetitive dialogue between the characters. There were a couple times where things were brought up again or re-hashed that I personally feel could have been edited out of the story. All complaining aside, I enjoyed the book so much I immediately downloaded DUST & DECAY, the second book in the series.
ROT & RUIN is a zombie story that deals with some tough issues and at times disturbing descriptions, but at it’s very core it is a coming of age story with some remarkable and unforgettable characters. It was thrilling, heartbreaking, exciting and everything I had hoped it would be.
This long awaited conclusion brings a very satisfying ending to a helluva cliffhanger. The only drawback is the limited availability of the book. Due to a switch in publisher and other circumstances, the book was released to audio first and will be followed by e-book then print a few weeks after. Now, for audio lovers (like myself) that's not too big of a problem, however for several fans who won't listen to books...it is. I found the narrator to be very talented. She did a great job with characters and even though her voice wasn't at all how I imagined Justine's to be I could overlook it after a few chapters. Minor issues aside, the story is wonderful and worth the wait!
The girl they have reading this book is awesome. She captures the character brilliantly. I really felt like I was listening to someone pour out their heart and soul, and was in tears at certain parts.
Wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy the audio of this series, but the reader is awesome! After purchasing the first book in the series and listening, I promptly bought the remaining audiobooks. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE this series and the audio version is fantastic!
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