Guest Review: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Friday, January 15, 2016
Why I chose this book:
I chose to read this book because the zombie craze is still going strong and I have not gotten into it yet. I haven't read anything or watched TV shows zombie related. I have watched numerous movies. I thought this book would be a good introduction to zombie lit.

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 14th, 2010
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Amazon  ||  B&N  ||  Book Depository

In the zombie-infested world Benny has grown up in, teenagers must work once they turn fifteen-or they’ll lose their food rations. Benny isn’t interested in taking on the family business, but he reluctantly agrees to train as a zombie killer with his boring big brother, Tom. He expects a dull job, whacking zombies for cash. What he discovers is a vocation that will teach him what it really means to be human.

As his worldview is challenged again and again by the lessons he learns from Tom, Benny is forced to confront another horrifying reality: Sometimes the most terrible monsters are human.

My Bookish Likes:
I enjoyed the relationship between brothers. It just seems so realistic. Benny does everything in his power to avoid training under his brother to become a zombie killer. He just thinks of his brother as a wimp because he doesn't use guns to kill zombies, uses a sword. Tom is also quiet and reserved, not the bad-to-the-bone zombie killers he admires.

I also enjoyed the twists. In this book Benny starts out idealizing the macho zombie killers, the ones with cool names and over the top stories. These type of killers are what action movies are made of and it isn't until Benny sees them in action that he realizes what they really are. Tom is a different type of zombie killer, he gives closure to family members who survived the first night by ending the life of the family member who turned into a zom. Also, Maberry does a great job twisting who is good and who is evil. Are zoms evil? Are zombie killers good? Are people in Ruin good or bad? I liked to see the evolution of the main character's thoughts on good vs. evil as the book progressed.

The action was also something that I enjoyed. While there is enough suspense and action to keep the story going it's not overly violent or gross. There are descriptions that are very vivid but it never gets to be too much.

My Bookish Mehs:
Rge one thing that I didn't enjoy as much was the tone of the book. It's not really a dislike but this book feels like it was written with boys as the intended audience. The way the brothers are with each other, the romance, and the action all seem to be written for a male mind. Not that I didn't enjoy the book... I'm didving into Dust and Decay in about 10 minutes, but I've just never come across a book that I felt was so strongly written for boys. It's not a bad thing, there needs to be more YAL geared towards males, so go Jonathan Maberry!

Final Thoughts:
Overall, I'd definitely hand this book to my male students. There is very little cursing and the violence is very PG-13. I liked that the focus was not on the violence, it could have been because this is a zombie killer book, but the focus was on challenging preconceived notions of good and wvil.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

About the Reviewer:
Kristen is 29 years old and stays busy teaching 6th grade in a small town in Oregon. She loves her husband, dogs, cooking, and Harry Potter books. If she had more time, she would create her own book blog, but for now she collects books for her classroom library.


  1. I loved this book and series!!! I hope you enjoy the rest :-)

  2. I loved this book but have yet to start on the next book.


Copyright © 2014 Of Spectacles and Books
Template and Design by New Chapter Designs