Rot and Ruin {Book Review}


Published Date: September 14, 1010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Pages: 458
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

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. – Summary from Goodreads

Hmmmmm *taps chin* Where to start with this review? I believe I’ll begin by saying that this was not a book about zombies. True, the cover art is grotesque in nature and pretty much gives you the idea that the content will be nothing but bursting eyeballs, rotting flesh and oozing, smelling wounds. The title gives you the impression that this would be cover to cover rot and ruin. But that’s misleading. And I’ll tell you why…

In Rot and Ruin, the world has succumbed to a disease that makes anyone who dies reanimate into a zombie. The “First Night” was the most tragic and bloodiest battles the world has ever fought. The zombies rose, humans fought and lost. Now the world, as far as anyone who survived First Night knows, is filled with “zoms” save small little pocket towns filled with the living.

We meet Benny Imura, our fifteen year old MC, who has chosen to be his brother , a well-known bounty hunter, Tom’s apprentice. Everyone has their opinion of zoms and how bounty hunter’s do their job, but when Benny goes out into the Rot and Ruin {that’s what the folks call the boundary outside of the protective fence} with Tom for the first time, he realizes that everything he’s ever been taught about zoms is wrong. And just like that *snaps fingers* Benny has to choose… live in fear and ignorance or decide to make a change. You can guess which one he chooses.

Ultimately, this novel is a coming-of-age-with-a-side-of-zombie-ass-kicking-and-did-I-mention-some-romance-?-novel. This book has it all. It’s got wisdom and insight {courtesy of the ever smart Tom Imura}, it’s got first time love {but don’t worry, it’s not insta-love or triangley}, it’s got some good fights and it’s also got some great world building. Jonathan Maberry does a fantastic job of painting the picture of what America would be like after a mega zombie outbreak. He isn’t wordy or overly descriptive {praise the Great Lion of Judah!!} and he is just a great story-teller.

This is a long review. My apologies. I hope you didn’t zone out. Or die of boredom and reanimate as a zombie…because that would suck.

Okay, so if you’re in the mood for a good story that happens to involve zombies then this is your book! If you read it and bitch because there’s “not enough zombie guts and ooze, etc” then I don’t wanna hear it… I warned you!

Ps. This is Book 1 of 4. I’ll be reading and reviewing those as they come!


6 thoughts on “Rot and Ruin {Book Review}

  1. I feel like this is similar in a way (that its not really about flesh eating zombies) to Warm Bodies? I have been thinking about reading this series, I just think I was hoping it would be filled with Zombies and gore, but you still make it out to be a really good book. So maybe I will have to move it up on my TBR list 🙂

    • Yeah, I’d have to agree with you on that. Less about zombies and more about the love story (which my friend Annie recently pointed out is sort of like a Romeo and Juliet retelling). This book was still good, even with the lack of zombieness. I just purchased the second book, Dust and Decay. So we shall see if the goodness continues. I hope you like it 🙂

  2. I loved this series! In fact, they are still currently stacked on the back of our toilet (The Unofficial Library) waiting for Kenneth to one day find himself bored enough to read.
    It was really quite perfect for me, because I’m not that into gore. I need the story of the people surviving, not just out taking down bodies right & left. My favorite thing about this series was the humanity & compassion of certain characters against the total disregard of life from others. The love story is just incidental. They are teenagers, after all!

    • Kenneth needs to get on it. He’s missing out. You’re so right! It’s not a gore fest. It’s about humanity and that’s what I loved about it. It was a book about life that happened to include zombies. I also loved that the love story was a side effect not the main subject.

      Ps. I love your unofficial library. That made me laugh! If you haven’t read it yet, read The Dog Stars. Really cool post apocalyptic book. No zombies but still a good read.

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