Saturday 19 May 2012

Review: Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Source: Borrowed from library

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Nearly fourteen years ago, a freak virus swept across the world turning the living into the undead. Benny Imura was only a toddler, but his last memory of his parents is tainted by the image of them becoming zombies, and he blames his older brother, Tom, for not saving them.

Now Benny is fifteen, and Tom wants them to put their difficult relationship behind them and work together in the “family business”: as zombie killers. It’s the last thing Benny wants to do, but he needs a job and he thinks it’ll be an easy ride.

But when they head into the Rot and Ruin, an area full of wandering zombies, Benny soon realises that there’s more to the job than just whacking zombies. And, as he’s confronted with the truth about the world around him Benny makes the most terrifying discovery of all, that the worst monsters you can imagine might actually be human ...

It took me about 50 pages for me to get into this book, but after the slow start I thought it was AMAZING! Full of drama, twists and turns, new revelations, constant action, and fantastic characters. It is a zombie apocalyse book that is both traumatic and hope filled- an emotional rollercoaster.

It really is a story where the world has broken down. There is no law and order, and the tough guys with the weapons can get away with whatever they like. Many times, these characters were scarier than the zombies. This is a dangerous story set in a world that is harsh and terrifying. The zombie plague years earlier came very suddenly, and all the survivors now lives in isolated fenced off communities. The world outside the fence has grown wild, and only a few people will brave stepping out.

The characters felt real, and I really connected with them. Although Benny could be a bit of a brat at times, his brother Tom is the kind of person who wants a better world, and strives to be the kind of person he would like everyone to be. He helps the vulnerable people of the village and only takes jobs that he believes are moral.

Tom recognises that the zombies used to be people, and always treats them with respect. He wants the families of the zombies he deals with to know that they are now at peace. Benny doesn't really understand Tom. He thinks Tom is a bit of a coward and wishes he was more like the tough-guys of the village, who brag about their kills and their adventures in the Wilds. But as the pair begin to work together, Benny really starts to appreciate what Tom does and what he has been through.

Another genius stroke was adding into the mix the mystery of the "Lost Girl" on Benny and Nix's zombie collector cards. As the story of who she is and whether she might still be alive out there, and the whole traumatic history and background story of the zombies gradually unfolds, it better hits home what all of the characters have had to go through over the years, just to survive.

The story really becomes a quest to find out the truth, and to save the people they care about from the people who would try to take control for their own gain. There are some truly nasty characters in the book, and Benny, Tom and Nix race to find the Lost Girl before they do.

I thought this book was powerfully moving for being so harsh and heartbreaking. I loved the main characters, and after the slow start the story was fast and exciting, and I loved the world-building and the whole back-story. It made the places really come alive in my imagination. Such a great book- harsh, thrilling and scary, a story of personal discovery and growth, with a smidgen of romance. I gotta get the next one now!


  1. This sounds good, i love that the characters felt real and it was a quest for the you said ZOMBIES...

  2. So glad you liked Rot & Ruin - it was one of my favourite reads of last year. I really need to read Dust & Decay (The sequel). I pre-ordered it but haven't found the time to read it yet...always my excuse! :-)

  3. I am so glad I stuck with this story this time and have already begun Dust and Decay. The good news is all the books in this series are completed and ready to immerse yourself in. As I have.

    Gretta Hewson
    Amerisleep Tucson Mattress Store


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