Originally posted on Guy Gone Geek.
This was the birthday gift some of my bookish friends gave me last October. What kind of friends does give you a book that is entitled ROT & RUIN, which may also imply their birthday wish for you? Only the best kind, that’s what. I’m guessing that they gave this because they’re interested in the book themselves and wanted to know my reaction first before they read it. Geez, I’m a guinea pig now, thanks guys! Well, I’m happy to report that ROT & RUIN is an awesome zombie book zombie aficionados should never miss.
It’s been 13 years since the First Night, when the dead rise from their graves and wreak havoc among the living. Benny Imura, now 15 years old, has only one vivid memory from that night: Tom, his older half-brother, running away while carrying him from their ‘turned‘ parents. He hates Tom for this. It doesn’t help that everyone in town thinks that Tom is one kickass bounty hunter. Ben thinks he knew better. Tom is a coward and no one or nothing can change that perception of Ben for him. That’s what he thought. It was about to change as Tom brings Benny into the Ruin to show him how the ‘Family Business’ really works. Ben wasn’t prepared for what he is about to see.
ROT & RUIN wasn’t the kind of book I was expecting, and I mean it in a good way. The cover blurb at the back of the book saying that it’s a zombie book with a heart isn’t an exaggeration at all. This is not to say that it lacks guts and gore some zombie fiction fans are looking for. Don’t worry, you can find lots of those. It’s just that besides the kickass zombie killings
that brings the oohs, the aahs, and the occasional aragh gabba gamz
, there is also an unexpected tenderness that will tug at your heartstrings
It’s not an exaggeration too when I say that this novel changed the way how I see zombies. When you see their decaying bodies ready to munch the life away from the living, its easy to see past the fact that once they were human too. I was horrified when I realized how willing I was to kill them for entertainment, much like the bad guys in this book. This made me question where does my conscience lies — or if I have anything at all. It sounds silly, I know, but I think knowing where we stand once zombie-apocalypse happens defines how human we are now.
I could go on and on praising Jonathan Marberry with his superb writing and well-rounded, outstanding characters, but I want to put emphasis on the themes tackled by the book so I’d rather stop here. Let me just say that ROT & RUIN is a very welcome addition in the already populated zombie-fiction genre. I am certainly looking forward to DUST & DECAY that will come out next year(around my birthday again, to whom it may concern.. kidding!). I encourage you to read it. I can’t believe I will say this on a zombie book but I want to be honest, don’t judge me: ROT & RUIN, in its own and unexpected way, changed my life, maybe it will change yours, too