Dust and Decay - Jonathan Maberry Steadily trying to catch up on all my reviews. La di da! So, sorry this review has taken me like a week or however long it's been. I don't keep track of time during the summer, sooo ... Whatever. *Checks* Oh, I finished this on August 4th. And now it's August 12th. Okay, so a little more than a week. Not that anyone cares. MOVING ON.I'll keep this pretty brief because 1) I have a bunch of reviews left to write, and 2) I've already talked a lot about why I love these books in my review of the first one. So, if you haven't read that review already ... you probably should.Nevertheless, even if I repeat myself a bit, let me talk about why I loved this book:A lot of things that I loved about the first book were still present in the second. The world-building gives the story a compelling and dark atmosphere that drew me in and kept me interested the whole time. Although the book was long, it was very fast-paced and exciting. The action and violence are nicely dispersed and handled well. There's a terrific balance between the fighting sequences and the parts where the characters just get to talk to each other––and thus, there is a lot of great character development going on, while the story is still thrilling. Also, I FREAKING LOVE TOM. HE IS THE BEST.There are some cool editions to the cast of characters in this one, especially other bounty hunters like Sally Two-Knives, and J-Dog and Dr. Skillz. I also loved that we got to see Gameland in this one. Throughout the first book I was eager to find out more about it, so I was overjoyed that we finally got to experience it in the second book. Well ... I guess that sounds kind of sick, because obviously Gameland is horrible. But you know what I mean. I was glad that it didn't really come into play until the second book, because I see how there was already so much going on in the first book, it might have been too much. So, in the second installment seemed like a good place for it. And it definitely lived up to its horrific reputation.Another one of my favorite parts in this book was the relationship between Lilah and Chong. I was glad that Chong played more of an important role in this book, and he steadily became one of my favorite characters. And since Lilah was already also one of my favorites, the fact that they were a couple ... it just makes me explode with fangirl-ism. Anyway, I just think they're both terrific characters and they balance each other so well. I love them. I just want to squish them. ... I know in my review of the first book, I said something about how I wanted Benny and Lilah to be a thing. And well, I see how that could still be interesting. But, I love Lilah and Chong too much as a couple, now. So, FORGET THAT.Although, I have to say––as I also mentioned in my review of book one––I'm still not really enthusiastic about Benny and Nix as a couple. Throughout the second book, I tried and tried to love them together, but I just ... couldn't. I've been trying to decide why, and I guess I don't have a great reason. Maybe it's because they got together so quickly in the first book, and then ... that was that. I tend to be more of a fan of couples who take a while to get together, with more doubt and disagreements before they finally decide to be a couple or whatever. Sorry, that was a pretty lame explanation. But, I don't know. I just think they're okay but not the best fictional couple ever. So, meh. Ahhh and the ending, the ending ... MY POOR HEART. Spoilers under the spoiler thingie. GOD FUCKING DAMMIT, WHY DID TOM HAVE TO DIE. WHY OH WHY. THIS IS NOT FAIR. HE WAS MY FAVORITE, FOR GOODNESS SAKE.On the other hand, I had this sneaking suspicion all along that Tom would have to die at some point. He just seems like ... that character who has to die. He was there to guide Benny and his friends. They learned a lot from him and have matured because of him and whatnot, and there had to come a point when they move forward on their own. So, I get it. And I think it had to be done. But it still breaks my heart, because Tom was freakin' awesome. Okay, that's all.Well, for those of you who didn't read the spoiler, I think you get it: IT WAS VERY SAD. IT TORE MY SOUL TO PIECES.But really, this book was good. Very good. I love Jonathan Maberry's take on the zombie idea––and how the story has as much heart as it does horror. As he put it so nicely in a recent YA Lit Chat on Twitter, "I don't write about monsters––I write about people who overcome monsters." I can't wait to read the next one! :)