Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Book:  Rot & Ruin
Author:  Jonathan Maberry
Date:  available now
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster
Source:  purchased
My grade:  A+

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. (cover and description from

Initial reaction
Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!  I never thought that I would use the words profound, zombie and novel all in the same sentence.  I will never doubt again.

Cover story
Both the title and cover of this book ROCK!  I love the close up zombie face and the fact that it still looks so human is really important.  The title is just gory enough.  This cover and title have massive boy appeal as well.

What’s the Story?
This book has been sitting on my shelf since Decatur Book Festival 2011.  I bought it because it sounded interesting and, more importantly, the author was at the festival, so I could get it autographed.  I certainly intended to read it, but it sort of got pushed to the side with the 2938759082 other books that I have waiting for me.

Then some of the boys from my teen fiction club from last school year kept showing up at my door and demanding that we start meeting again this year.  So I set up a meeting and exactly 3 boys showed up.  Now, obviously, 3 boys are not going to be up for reading the latest Jennifer Armentrout novel, so I had to think of something that they would buy into that I wanted to read also and it needed to be YA.  Enter Rot & Ruin.

They actually started talking about The Walking Dead and World War Z.  Then this book suddenly popped into my head.  I showed it to them and they were sold!  So then I had to read it too.

God, I am soooooo glad I thought of this book!  This book was amazing.

Now, this is not your average zombie book.  If you are looking for tons of blood and gore, this may not be your novel.  But if you want a zombie book that makes you stop and think and that will spark a discussion about just what makes us human and who are the real monsters, then run to pick up this book.

I never dreamed that I would find myself feeling sorry for the zombies that are killed in a book, but this book managed to make me feel just that.  This book is an incredible coming-of-age story in a world that has been completely torn apart and turned upside down.  And just as the world has changed completely, so too did our hero, Benny Imura.  He thinks that he understands the world and the zombies and who is good and who is bad, but then he decides to apprentice with his brother, the zombie killer.  Everything that Benny thought he knew gets turned on its head and Benny has to work through what he believes about everything.  In the process, he changes from a boy to a man.  It is a beautiful tale that takes place in an ugly, ugly world and it made me keep reading in total amazement of how the author had managed to create such a profound story in a novel about the walking dead.

The characters are incredible.  By the end of the novel, I loved and cared for Tom and Benny Imura so, so much.  I also really loved Nix.  And the bad guys?  I hated them so much!!  My feelings were so deep for these characters.

I could sit here and wax poetic about this novel all day, but the best thing I can do is encourage you to experience this one for yourself.  It is a real page-turner that offers so much more than just a zombie story.  I dare you to read this one and not contemplate the meaning of humanity.

The Soundtrack

Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie

Couldn’t resist this one, sorry.

Bodies by Drowning Pool

100 Years by Five for Fighting

Big Bad World by The Plain White T’s

The Final Grade
My final grade for this one is an A+.  This is one of the best coming of age novels I’ve read in a good while.  I can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment!


  1. Thanks for the great review. So glad you enjoyed ROT & RUIN. I hope you continue on to follow Benny and his friends as they venture into the Ruin.

    ROT & RUIN is now in development for film. Details will be released soon.

    1. I loved it and so did all the boys in my book club! We are all fighting over who gets to check out Dust and Decay first from the school library! : )

      I look forward to hearing about the film and I'm sure my boys will be thrilled.