My little brother and I generally get along very well. Except for an occasional intellectual disagreements on ethics, morality, religion or politics we're pretty close. However, he can sometimes be a naive pain-in-the-butt. Until reading Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, I assumed this was something that would have to be cured by time, experience, and several well-timed and well-placed blows to the head.
However, parents and old siblings can now breath a sigh of relief because Jonathan Maberry has devised the perfect solution to our problems with snot-nosed, idiot teenagers!
In ten easy days your temperamental child can be transformed from shit-head to SMART-head! That's right. For only $49.99 plus postage and handling, to be paid in three easy installments you can have your very own zombie apocalypse! Guaranteed to straighten out and rectify almost any maladjusted behavior in children (excluding violence and extreme fear) and turn them into useful members of society. And if it doesn't work out - the zombies clean up the mess FOR you and nobody needs to know... CALL NOW for 250,000 extra zombies FREE for the price of 6,837,452,001!
Rot & Ruin is a great first installment in a zombie dystopian future about a boy named Benny and his older, exasperated brother Tom. This book is well written. Benny is a great character and his friends Chong, Morgie and Nix are good for a chuckle.
Tom, his dashing, debonair brother is lovable and... well, kind of hot really. Trying to deal with Benny as a fifteen year old and regular pain-in-the-ass and build some kind of relationship between the two of them, he drags Benny out of their safe town and into the 'Rot & Ruin'.
Benny's adventures there lead him to new insight into human nature and zombie nature. When things turn bad for his girlcrush, Nix, ("Oh no!" Benny says, "Don't tell people I have a crush on her! It's embarrassing and I might get cooties!") Benny has some quick growing up to do.
I really liked this story. It was such a refreshing difference in both the genre and in terms of the books I've been reading lately. The big romance in this book is not really between Benny and Nix or Benny and Lilah. It's a bromance between Benny and his brother Tom as they come together to heal their relationship and bring their small family back together.
The story is packed with action, adventure, zombies, gore and violence. That's why we read it, right? But it's also filled with loving, tender moments between the two brothers as they learn and discover new things about each other.
Nix and Lilah, the two girls in this story, are kick-arse and I give Maberry full credit and appreciation for developing two complex, intelligent and capable characters that totally own this book. From Nix who is strong and thoughtful, resourceful and compassionate, to Lilah who is cold, intelligent, capable, resourceful and dangerous. I want to see more women like this in fiction.
All up, this book is a fun, wonderful read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can't wait to read more from Jonathan Maberry! Oh, and if you call now, I'll add in ANOTHER 250,000 zombies to that offer. 555-ZOMBIE-YEY-111. That's, 555-ZOMBIE-YEY-111.