Author: Jonathan Maberry
Genre: YA, Post Apocalyptic, Zombies
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publishing Date: October 5th 2010
Hardcover: 458 pages
Stand Alone or series: Book one in the Benny Imura series.
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.Review:
Benny Imura just turned 15. That means he has to find a job or his food rations will get cut in half. After wasting his time looking for a job that is both easy and entertaining (ah the teenage dream), Benny's forced to work with his older brother as a zombie hunter apprentice. The problem with this, in pretty standard teenage fashion, is Benny has a lot of bad feelings towards his brother, Tom. As Benny goes on his first trip into the Rot and Ruin, the area outside of their fenced-in community where the living dead are, he's about to be confronted with a lot of the things he thought he knew. Not only about zombies and his brother, but about the thin line that separates man from monster as well.
For me, this book was what The Forest of Hands and Teeth and World War Z seems to have been for everyone else (to be honest I hated Mary and thought WWZ was "meh"). I've been pretty disappointed by the zombie novels I've read lately, but Rot and Ruin was a breath of fresh air. This is very much a coming of age story. We get to see how Benny has to confront his own assumptions and come to terms with the reality of the world he lives in now. While I did think the town's mentality was handled a little too heavy handed, Benny and Tom's relationship was great. It was a nice break from all the love triangles that seem to be taking over YA.
Benny actually reminded me a little bit of Todd from The Walking Chaos series (which is a good thing in my opinion). While Benny didn't have quite the lovableness that Todd had, he has the same quality about him. I'm not even sure what it is. Authenticity maybe? Either way, Benny feels like a genuine person. He annoys the shit out of you and he's a bit full of himself, but he's 15. He's not perfect and I loved him all the more for it. Then there's Tom. Tom is just lovely. I haven't been so enamored with a character in a long and it makes me nervous about what's to come.
Notable Quotes/ Parts:
You can read the first 100 pages here and here is Maberry talking about Rot and Ruin:
All in all, this book completely took me by surprise. I know everyone looks for different qualities in their zombie fiction, but this is one of the best I've read. Maberry has set the bar pretty high and I hope the next book doesn't disappoint.
Rating: 9. Damn near perfection