Janina's Reviews > Rot and Ruin

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
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Nov 07, 10

bookshelves: young-adult-fiction, dystopian-apocalyptic, read-in-2010, titles-i-love, the-zombicalypse, pure-entertainment, male-pov, series-lost-interest
Recommended to Janina by: Tina & Teccc (don't you love how this sounds with the title?)
Read from November 02 to 07, 2010

Rot & Ruin was the first zombie book I ever read and judging by how much I liked it, I think it won't be the last (recommendations are welcome; I'm not exactly an expert). I would categorize it as middle grade, though, so if you're looking for a 'hard-core' ;) zombie book, you might want to look elsewhere.

First of all, I really like the makeup of this book: We have an eye-catching – and slightly creepy cover – and then on the inside we have some 'zombie-cards' (the kids in the story collect them) of famous people and a 'zombified' author portrait. Laughed out loud at some of this stuff. And the best: The book's interior – the story – can actually keep up with that. Too many other books with awesome covers disappointed lately.

About the story:
The US in the near future: most of the country has been deserted; people live together in small towns behind huge fences, shielding themselves against millions of zombies. Benny Imura lives in Mountainside, together with his half brother Tom, a zombie hunter, after his parents were killed and resurrected as zombies on First Night – the night the dead began to rise and threw the whole world into chaos.
Although he believes his older brother to be a coward and their relationship isn't exactly a good one, Benny joins the 'family business' and begins to hunt zombies together with Tom. Soon he has to learn that the dead aren't the real evil out there.

Despite the fact that this novel is clearly plot driven and includes a fair amount of violence and gore, it also has its quiet moments and there were even a few scenes that made me get a little teary-eyed. This novel is about so much more than 'going out killing zombies' – it focuses just as strongly on relationships of all kinds. At the centre of attention is Benny’s development after his first trip out into the Ruin: to be honest, he comes across as quite a pain-in-the-ass in the beginning, though he clearly has a good heart. But when his friend Nix is in danger, he is forced to mature quickly, sheds his know-it-all attitude towards his older brother and does everything possible to help those close to him.

I loved how the relationship between Benny and Tom developed, how Benny slowly began to realise what was behind his brother's mask of indifference and started to admire the way he did his job. Their relationship is what keeps this story going. The occasional banter between them was fun, and their 'bonding moments' were moving.

Also, hats off to Jonathan Maberry for writing two female characters who clearly own this story. Both of the girls are resourceful and strong in their own way, they don't need any rescuing and are perfectly able to make – and defend – their own choices. I would really like to see more girls of this type in all genres.

And most of all, I appreciated that all these characters dealt with traumatic experiences as I would expect real people to do. They suffered and didn’t move on quickly after a few moments of sadness and anger. They carried those experiences with them, and they have changed their ways of behaviour and altered their personalities.

Although this novel clearly has its own ending and could be read as a stand-alone (no mean cliff-hanger here), there clearly is the potential for a sequel. Will be checking out Dust and Decay (which is just a great title, by the way)!
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Quotes Janina Liked

“There was a sliver of moon and a splash of stars, and the light outlined her face and glistened on the tears that ran like mercury down her cheeks.”
Jonathan Maberry, Rot and Ruin


Reading Progress

11/02/2010 page 24
5.0% "Excited to start this. Hope it's good." 1 comment
11/06/2010 page 247
54.0% "Liking this a lot."
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Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Nic (new)

Nic Great review Janina. Another book I really want to read :)


~Tina~ Awesome review and I would have to agree, I loved that the girls in this book could totally hold there own:)
So glad you loved this. It completely shocked me with how much I loved it =D


Janina I'm so glad I gave this a chance althought it's not really the 'type' of book I usually go for. Thanks for recommending it :))!


Teccc Yay, you liked it! :)

Great review!


message 5: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica I'm definitely going to give this one a shot. Great review :-)


Morgan F I just started it, so I'm glad to see it turns out good!


Janina Thank you!
Jessica, I really hope you enjoy it, too.

Morgan, looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it!

Teccc, I'll be sending your books back tomorrow, thanks again for letting me borrow them :).


message 8: by Kim (new)

Kim Yes, I'm reading this. I am. Yes yes.


message 9: by Arlene (new)

Arlene I'm reading it too. Sounds like another Street Corner hit. Great review Janina.


Janina Thank you, Arlene. I really hope it's going to be a hit for you, too ;).


Sarah I would recommend The Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan, and if you're into comic books (or even if you're not) The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman is REALLY good.


message 12: by Aura (new)

Aura They're not YA but World War Z and Allison Hewitt is trapped are my favorite zombie books. They're really different from each other. WWZ is told as a series of interviews and covers an entire war from many perspectives whereas AHIT is her blog as she navigates her way through the zombie apocalypse. For a microcosm/macrocosm view of life with zombies they make a perfect combo.


Matthew Chadburn I can definitely recommend world war z as one of my fab zombie books as it's really different and realistic.
I can recommend hatred by David moody as that's really different and not what you would expect from this genre.
I also love day by day Armageddon by jl Bourne it's told thru a mans journal and is realistic.
The last book I would recommend is feed by Mira grant.


Barbra Try the Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy by Carrie Ryan.


Allieohh Alice in Zombieland!!


Donna Too expensive. So many others that are in my price range.


message 17: by Sheila (new) - added it

Sheila Coile Mira Grant's FEED is an awesome book. It is a trilogy and definitely worth the read.


Carpe diem (♫ נєѕѕι¢α  ♪) A great zombie series is Charlie Higson's. The first one is called "The Enemy". You should totally check it out. :)


Donna Sarah wrote: "I would recommend The Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan, and if you're into comic books (or even if you're not) The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman is REALLY good."

I Have read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and the rest of that series, very good. Because I watch The Walking Dead I just do not want to know what happens, I want to be surprised, even though I know that there are some changes. So I gotta wait till it's all over to read the comics.


message 20: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason The reapers are the angels. Bestness


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