Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Title: Rot & Ruin
Authors: Jonathan Maberry
Pages: 464
Genre: YA/ Horror
Source: Purchase

It has been 14 years since “first night” - a night where humans turned zombie. Benny Imura was only 18 months old when his older brother Tom whisked him off leaving their infected parents behind. Now at 15, living in a town of survivors called Mountainside, Benny is at the ripe age for a job. See at 15 the townfolk must work in order to continue receiving their rations. Benny and his BFF Chong are in need of jobs - but Benny can’t seem to find anything that works for him - he has tried being a locksmith, a fence tester and technician, a carpet coat salesman, a pit thrower, a crank generator repairman, a spotter, a bottler, and an erosion artist.  He has either hated, been bored, fired or turned down from all of them.  Left with no other recourse, he reluctantly turns to his brother Tom and the family business.

Tom is a notorious zombie killer - he's well respected and loved by the community.  But Benny doesn't understand why people look at Tom as a hero.  He's quiet, doesn't like violence and he definitely does not talk about what he does out in the Rot & Ruin.  He's nothing like the other zombie killers in the neighborhood - Charlie Pink-Eye and the Motor City Hammer. Working as Tom's apprentice, Benny ventures out into the Rot & Ruin (a/k/a what's left of our zombie infested country).  Through Tom's insightful teachings, Benny learns many a lesson - including what Tom does for a living, what's outside the fences and how sometimes zombies might be the least of their problems.

I have to admit that when I first saw this book - I had no idea it even existed.  I grabbed it with two things in mind - "Oh cool, another zombie book!" and "Wow, I love this cover!"  With that said, I think Rot & Ruin is the best zombie novel I've ever read... and I'll tell you why.

Firstly, I loved that this book takes place years after the zombie infestation.  Benny was a small boy when everything went down - so I thought it unique to get his thoughts and opinions on the life they  now live since first night.  I loved that their town has survived, that they've found ways of dealing with the zombies.  The zombies are only attracted to sound so if you're quiet and fast enough you can get around them without them even noticing you were there.  Humans take all sorts of precautions just in case someone dies in their sleep (of course, becoming zombified shortly thereafter), etc. 

Another thing that I found very refreshing is that, on more than one occasion, I found myself feeling sorry for the zombies.  Yes, they're bad, and if they get near you they'll bite you and then, well... you're a goner - but on the other hand, these were also people.  They were someone's mother, father, sister, brother, husband, etc.  They didn't choose to become a zombie - they just are.  I loved how Tom dealt with them and how he was a "closure specialist" and not a zombie killer.  

But what I must say was my favorite about this novel was that there was so much plot... so much story... so much heart in this book.  The zombies were almost like a side note.  Obviously they played a big part in the novel, but Benny & Tom's past, future, their relationship, Benny growing up, getting over his anger issues, and becoming someone who was brave and tough.  Their town, their friends, the danger - this was all so much more interesting to me.  I was captivated from the first chapter.  I just wanted to know more and more about them.  And as with any zombie novel, you can't help but invest feelings into these characters - always knowing that they are in danger 100% of the time.. just one bite is all it takes.  There were times where I was scared to turn the page - I was cringing when there was a zombie in the near vicinity.  It was great!!  

I truly went through a range of emotions reading this.  There were times where I laughed, times were I wanted to scream in outrage and even times were I found myself tearing over it.  This is one zombie book that I guarantee will be a hit with many - it is one that I could not put down and one that I can recommend - because there is something in it for everyone.  For those of you who have never read a zombie book - I recommend this be the one you pick up.  It is awesome!

My Rating:

See this great little video with author Jonathan Maberry.


Unknown said...

Fabulous review! I’ve wanted to read this one for a while. I’m a total zombie sympathizer LOL Definitely picking up a copy when I have the chance.

Anonymous said...

So glad that you enjoyed the book. There are 13 pages of free prequel scenes available via the link below. And the sequel, DUST & DECAY will be out next fall.

Link to free scenes:

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I love zombie books--of all kinds. I really want to read this book! It may not be the greatest, but I have a soft spot in my heart for all things undead! Thanks for your review.

Cass said...

Nice review! :) I'm glad that you were able to sympathise with the zombies in this one, and that it's different to some other zombie novels. I think I'll add this to my TBR.

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Great review! This is the first review I've read of this one, and I'm glad to hear it's a refreshing zombie tale...I've read quite a few that aren't. :)

Anonymous said...

That cover is FREAKY! Thanks for the great review, I'm going to add this to my TBR list.

Ashley @ Bookaholics Anonymous said...

Good to know that people like this. It's one of many on my TBR list

Michelle said...

I'm not going to read through the whole review because I haven't read this one yet and fear being spoiled, but I did see the one line where you mentioned so much plot and heart. That encourages me!

Danny said...

Wooohhoo 5 stars!! Reading your review makes me want to read it badly! I told you already that I'm afraid of the Zombies *shivers* but according to you it's not as scary as I expect.

Wonderful Review Sweetie! and I'm sorry I took me so long to comment here - I had so much to do *big sigh* but I've missed your blog so I make my round now!

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