Review: Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Why I chose this book:
One of our readers had recommended this book to me some time ago. He warned me that is was “zombie lit”, which made me hesitant to read it. Before beginning this novel I had read The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and was extremely unsettled. While that probably wasn’t my best jump into zombie lit, I figured I would give it one more try.  

Rot & Ruin
by Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: September 14, 2010
Format: Hardback 
Genre: Young Adult, Action/Adventure, Horror
Buy: B&N || Amazon || Indiebound 


In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human. (Goodreads)

Four Things You Need to Know:

1. Character Development: The main character Benny is a cynical and judgmental boy at the beginning of Rot and Ruin. He is the “Holden Caufield” of this zombie infested America. Benny begins his journey with an extreme dislike for the family business of quieting zombies. As the story progresses, Benny comes into contact with various characters and realizes that his perception on life needs some major changes. Maberry does a fantastic job of creating Benny. At the end of the novel, he is a free-thinking, mature individual who is so dynamic and lifelike that you feel as if you are growing with the character.

2. Morality: Maberry isn’t afraid to tackle big concepts in this book, which I find refreshing. Many times authors will shy away from writing about tough ideas in young adult novels for fear that teens will not embrace the book. Maberry holds no restraint when writing of zombies and human rights in a world where right and wrong have been thrown out the window. Through the character Benny, readers are able to question what life would be like if humanity was stripped down to the bare essentials. What makes us human? How do we treat others when they have been stripped of their humanity?

3. Emotions in the time of Zombies: While this book is filled with action, zombie fights, and lots of gore, there is also a very emotional aspect to the novel. Maberry reminds the reader that the zombies the characters are fighting were once humans. This gives the reader an even deeper emotional connection to the novel, making each “zombie kill” a powerful one.

4. Action: This book has the most vivid and exciting actions scenes that I’ve read in a long time. Each move a character/zombie makes is painted so colorfully. While Maberry doesn’t hold back on the gore, it isn’t loud and obnoxiously done. I found that I could create each scene in my mind, and knew exactly what the characters were thinking and feeling. Maberry leads you on an exciting journey through the Rot and Ruin that you will not want to put down. 

Final Thoughts:

I loved this book. This is a book I would recommend to any reader wanting to jump in to zombie lit. It contains so much emotional and human content that it takes normal zombie lit and takes it one step further. I’ve read the complete series, and love how the characters progress in each novel. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up ASAP.   

I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads

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