Saturday, 2 April 2011

Book Review: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Our local librarian recommended Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry for my son; she said she likes to read a couple of chapters of all the new books that come in, but that she could not put this one down. When my son got to borrow the book, he was reading something else and it was sitting around, so I picked it up and was hooked almost immediately. Now, I like to read YA novels already, especially fantasy, but I had never read any of the zombie books. Still, this one immediately caught my attention.

Benny lives in a post apocalyptic world. Fourteen years ago, the dead woke up and became zombies. They bite the living and turn them into zombies, it is almost like a virus. No one knows why this happened, but the result is that the zombies have taken over the earth, except for a few areas where humans are fenced in. Other than killing people, zombies are actually quite passive.

Benny lives with his older brother, Tom, as their parents were turned into zombies on the First Night. Tom is a well respected bounty hunter, someone who goes out into the Rot and Ruin to track down zombies for people and quiet them, or kill them. Benny has just turned fifteen, the age at which he must get a job or have his rations cut in half. After much resistance, Benny decides to join his brother in the family business of quieting zombies. 

Tom, however, is not like some of the other bounty hunters in town, he is not full of bravado and exciting stories of killing zombies. In Benny's eyes, Tom is a coward.

Out in the Rot and Ruin, Benny watches Tom and the zombies and even some of the other bounty hunters. He sees for himself what is really going on and is faced with serious questions, not the least of which is who are the real monsters, the zombies or the humans.

I really enjoyed how this book examined some serious questions and explored what it means to be human, the nature of fear, how societies develop, and how people can close their eyes to what they know is wrong. The writing was good and moved easily and kept me interested. I also liked how the author played with the zombie story line, making it much more than a gruesome suspense or horror book. In a way, the zombies were not a big part of the book, but the set up to explore human behaviour. Rot & Ruin was left open for a sequel, and I have recently found out that it is called Dust & Decay and will come out August 2011. In fact, a four part series is planned.  I am looking forward to reading how the series progresses.

Here is a YouTube video interviewing Jonathan Maberry about Rot & Ruin:


  1. Coreena

    Thanks for the terrific review. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it.

    There are thirteen pages of free prequel scenes for ROT & RUIN available on the Simon & Schuster webpage for the book. Here’s a link to the main page; access the scenes by clicking on the banner that reads: READ BONUS MATERIAL BY JONATHAN MABERRY:

  2. Thank you so much, we will look up that bonus material. I appreciate the comment. My son is thrilled at the bonus material.

  3. Oh well that's a new twist on the run-of-the-mill zombie story. Cool

    And thanks, Coreena, for stopping by my blog. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help you with your POV issues. Sometimes answering questions is the best way to help me make my posts clearer.

  4. Thank you, Anna, for the offer. I will get back to you with any questions. I appreciate the offer.


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