The short: 4/5 ✦. A varied collection of interesting, sad, heroic, and zombified short stories of the Rot & Ruin series.
I think I’m in love with the title of this book, simply because it fits the theme of the other books and is also incredibly accurate in regards to its content.
Bits & Pieces is quite literally that: bits and pieces of stories that tie in to the Rot & Ruin series. Now, it’s been quite awhile since I read the last book, Fire & Ash, so many of the details and characters were lost on me. Still, it’s a very interesting collection of short stories – some are so short, they’re more like drabbles, and others are pretty lengthy.
It’s roughly in chronological order, with tales of what happened on First Night at the beginning to Benny and his friends training for the final fight at the end. One First Night story was unbearably sad and horrible and tragic, and I feared the whole book would be this way; the Rot & Ruin series were never a basket of roses, but I guess I’d forgotten how depressing the world is. Luckily, it picks up a little, helped by Nix’s excepts from her journal.
Like most other reviewers, my favorite new character is Rags, a young survivor who comes across Captain Joe and Tom, and interacts with a few other characters from the other short stories. She was kind but fierce, brutal but empathetic. So, you know, awesome.
We also see some backstory for Riot and the Reapers (terrifying). In fact, a majority of the stories feature girls as the “main” character, which isn’t a bad thing, of course, but I found it interesting. Rot & Ruin isn’t one of those BOYZ-ONLY series at all, but perhaps Maberry wanted to explore different perspectives beyond Benny’s. Regardless, it was a pleasant realization, and every girl was uniquely developed even in the restricted time frame.
There was only one story I wasn’t found of, but I think it was more that one can only read so much about the zombies taking over before it gets a little old. The survivors’ stories – and what they had to do in order to survive – were far more interesting.
Obviously, if you’ve read the rest of the series, you should pick up this collection. In fact, it doesn’t talk about what happened at the end of Fire & Ash, so you can probably read it after Flesh & Bone and not be spoiled or anything.
Header image: Bits & Pieces by Jonathan Maberry, published September 22nd 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.