Rot & Ruin by Johnathan Maberry

Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Recorded Books

Pages: 458

Read by: Brain Hutchinson

Rating: 4/5

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.

Acclaimed horror author Jonathan Maberry makes his young adult debut with this detail-rich depiction of a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has fallen, the dead have risen, and danger is always imminent.

This is a review based on my experience with the audiobook version.

I’ll start by saying that the narrator, Brain Hutchinson, does a great job reading this. He has a nice and clear voice that was very easy to listen to, and I had no issues understanding. He doesn’t have a ton of different voices for the characters but I still think he did a great job creating voices and I had no issues know who was saying what without being told.

Now on to the story itself. Overall I definitely loved this and I am looking forward to reading Dust & Decay as soon as I get the chance. I’m quite fond of zombie lit, though I haven’t had the chance to read a ton of it, and I really appreciate when an author takes things in a different direction. Which is what Maberry did and ultimately succeeded at. The book focuses more on the emotional and psychological aspects of a zombie outbreak/world, and less about the ultimate horror and gore of a zombie attacks. The concept that Maberry gives you for the zombies doesn’t branch from the lore of the main stream zombie, they are still the walking dead who try to eat anything alive, but he does give a different way to see them.

The characters were developed really well and I could understand all of them, even if I didn’t agree with their points of view. At first I wasn’t fond of Benny Imura, the main character, he’s fairly naive in the beginning and really annoying but as the book progresses and he sees more of the real world I started to like him. He actually grows at a believable rate and isn’t just some 2-d means of plot advancement. I really liked Lila and her part in the story, I thought it was a pretty unique idea for a character. Nix was an alright character and I think at times I actually pictured her as the Hermionie of the story, she’s not a know it all or crazy smart but she does have that no nonsense feel about her. The concept of bounty hunters and how they are portrayed is also a super cool idea and something I could see actually happening. I can also see how there would be more then one type of bounty hunter and why they would be necessary.

I can’t say that this book is action packed because there are quite a few down moments where things are discussed and ideas have time to sink in, but the moments where action is involved are fantastic. Those of you who are only in it for the zombie gore may be disappointed though, it’s not that there is no zombie killing action but it isn’t the out right zombie slaughter that you see in so many other books. Thankfully the ending was fairly closed and not a cliffhanger, but I definitely can’t wait to find out everything that happens to Tom, Benny, and Nix. A note to all of those looking for books for younger or picky readers, there is a fair amount of violence but it’s not overboard on the details and there is also some cursing/name calling included but it’s moderate.

I can honestly say that I recommend this to zombie lit lovers, it’s a fresh take and makes you think. It tugs at your emotions all the way to the end. I’ll probably end up buying a hardback version of this book so I can read it again later and have that awesome cover on my shelf.

This entry was posted in Book Reviews (2012) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rot & Ruin by Johnathan Maberry

  1. I love i am adding this to my tbr pile..great review!

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