In the last book of this awesome series we find Benny Imura and his gang of Nix, Lilah and Riot faced with the dilemma that Chong, their best friend, has been infected with the zombie virus. Poisoned by the Reapers, a group of crazy arseholes, intent on sending everyone into the darkness by opening them up with knives. Benny and the gang must race to find Doctor McReady and a potential cure whilst at the same time keeping the Reapers at bay.
The book offers many exciting and tense scenes of action and Jonathan Maberry is excellent at building suspense and keeping you on the edge of your seat. One thing I love about Maberry’s writing is his ability to describe fight scenes in detail using his own knowledge and experience to help the reader visualise what is happening as well as what is going on in the characters mind. Maberry is also excellent at incorporating humour into his books for example "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." I thought this was great and I did laugh as it reminded me of the many frustrating occasions when watching movies and seeing groups split up only to meet their end.
The characters in the book are well developed over the series and continue to develop throughout the book, Benny and Nix especially with the realisation that their relationship might have come about a little quickly, both transform from teens into adults and samurais, putting aside their relationship until the current situation was dealt with. We also see how Benny is adapting to his role as leader and how far he must go to defeat his enemies. I was happy to see the return of Joe Ledger which I had been looking forward to since the last installment, being a massive fan of the Joe Ledger series. Joe asks Benny “How scary are you willing to be in order to take the heart out of the enemy? Are you willing to be the monster in the dark? Are you willing to be the boogeyman of their nightmares?” In Fire and Ash we find out just how far Benny is willing to go in order to protect that which he loves.
There’s a great set of obstacles the gang must face including the fast and smart 'zoms' as well as those Reapers. Brother Peter and Saint John both provide some edge of your seat action and the dialogue between them and Benny is great.
Lilah, the tough wild girl, shows us her more caring side and is always there threatening violence at the mention of quieting Chong. Riot also had a big part to play in the story having originally being part of the Night Church (Reapers), she is also involved in a part of the story which, if I wasn't a manly man, might have produced a tear or two. Joe and Grimm were also excellent, right in the heart of the action, both as awesome as each other.
The story finishes with the gang having to prevent the fall of the nine towns which includes their original home, Mountainside. The ending although not as climatic as I expected did end on a high and finished the series off perfectly and I won’t be disappointed if it is the last time I read about Benny and the gang just a little sad to say goodbye.