Trudi's Reviews > Rot and Ruin

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
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I have been on a zombie reading frenzy lately – I see a zombie book and I must read it, I can’t help myself. And the books are coming fast and furious, especially in the YA area. Some are good, some are awful, and some are outstanding. Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin falls somewhere just shy of outstanding. It reeks of EPIC WIN.

So yeah, I love this book and before I go all fangirl over Tom Imura and squee my head off let me highlight why you should start this series:

1) It is very well-written -- that’s not always a given, even from talented authors -- see my review of David Moody’s Autumn: The City. Moody is the man, but even he can write a zombie novel that sucks. Maberry has already established his reputation in the horror genre (his Ghost Road Blues snagged him a Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel). This is his YA debut and I’m impressed to say the least.

2) It is a highly charged, emotional story where some heavy shit goes down and you really fucking care who it’s happening to. This comes back to the all-important character development. I don’t scare if I don’t care, and I cared plenty here (even about the zombies!!!) Through the eyes of 15 yr old Benny Imura, we come to understand that zombies are not just mindless monsters out to gouge and consume humans. We see the tragedy of what they’ve become. Benny’s older brother Tom forces him to confront who they used to be:
Look at that woman. She was, what? Eighteen years old when she died. Might have been pretty. Those rags she’s wearing might have been a waitress’s uniform once….She had people at home who loved her….People who worried when she was late getting home.
So the zombies are not just plot devices or mere window dressing here; they serve a real purpose and are an important part of the story.

3) It’s a fascinating examination of what fear does to people. Just imagine a world that survives an actual zombie apocalypse. As groups of survivors ban together in fenced enclaves to try and eke out a semi-normal existence, who will these people become? How will they interact with each other, with the world that’s left to them? I know it’s a personal bias of mine, but I figure a zombie novel hasn’t done its job if it doesn’t convincingly show that humans can be the real monsters. Maberry hits that out of the park and I want to smooch him for it.
They held each other and wept as the night closed its fist around their tiny shelter, and the world below them seethed with killers both living and dead.
4) Tom Imura – squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited over a character from a book and reading as much YA as I do, most male protagonists are still battling hormones and attitude. But not Tom. Tom is in his 30s. He is a survivor. He is a specialist. He has been forged in battle and now is as strong and unbending as his katana - (no, not that! ... the Japanese long sword he uses). In a world that's been plunged into Hell and lived to tell about it Tom has retained his humanity. He is deep and soulful and will kick your ass in 2 seconds flat. He’s a mix of Master Li Mu Bai from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Morpheus from The Matrix, and my beloved Dean Winchester from Supernatural. How could a girl NOT fall in love?



I was going to put my sober, hyper-critical hat on and give this four stars, but piss on that. For all the reasons described above and more, I'm happy to give this book five, fat fearsome stars.
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Quotes Trudi Liked

Jonathan Maberry
“Often it was the most unlikely people who found within themselves a spark of something greater. It was probably always there, but most people are never tested, and they go through their whole lives without ever knowing that when things are at their worst, they are at their best.”
Jonathan Maberry, Rot and Ruin


Reading Progress

07/27/2011 page 108
24.0% "Loving this! Smart and emotional. Benny is awesome but older brother Tom is divine."

Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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message 1: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Smith SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Hahaha!!!


Trudi Sue wrote: "SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Hahaha!!!"

It's pretty undignified when a 37 year old woman cannot control herself any better than that, but it happens sometimes... what are ya gonna do? ;D


message 3: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Smith Makes me definitely want to move this up on my TBR list that's what!!!!


message 4: by Kemper (new) - added it

Kemper I read the short story version of this that Maberry had in The Living Dead collection and it was pretty good too.


Trudi I have that anthology on my TBR list. I will definitely check that out.


Alyssah Hanna A Japanese Dean Winchester, man!!!! There is not enough exclamation marks to express my fangirl happiness. XD


Trudi Alyssah Hanna wrote: "A Japanese Dean Winchester, man!!!! There is not enough exclamation marks to express my fangirl happiness. XD"

There are no words ... save for SQUEEEEEE XD


Joo Hee Bennett A great way to describe him! Japanese Dean Winchester! I told the person who recommended these books that I have a huge crush on Tom Imura haha


Trudi Joo Hee wrote: "A great way to describe him! Japanese Dean Winchester! I told the person who recommended these books that I have a huge crush on Tom Imura haha"

Welcome to the club!! :)


Jennifer How does this book compare to the Forest of hands and teeth series? Better? Worse!


Trudi Jennifer wrote: "How does this book compare to the Forest of hands and teeth series? Better? Worse!"

I really enjoyed Forest, but I ♥LOVE♥ this series :)


Joo Hee Bennett Infinitely better than Forest....infinitely :)


message 13: by Taylor (new) - added it

Taylor Lol I know what a "katana" was and didn't think of it in that way until you said it! But in all seriousness great review! It sounds awesome (I'm only on like the first few pages) and I am reading this based on good reviews from a friend. Hope it's all it's cracked up to be!


Trudi Taylor wrote: "Lol I know what a "katana" was and didn't think of it in that way until you said it!..."

LOL, yes, the whole "katana" thing still makes me giggle ;) Hope you enjoy it as much as I did Taylor!


message 15: by Beth (new)

Beth Bonis I read all of the Autumn books by David Moody. It took me a LONG time to read the first book. It was really bad. But I had to know what happened next. I have to say the rest of the books weren't that bad. Not great but not terrible.


Trudi Good to know Beth! I may get back to the rest of the series just to see how it all shakes out. Have you read Moody's Hater trilogy? I really enjoyed that one!


Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali I didn't expect this book to be so deep, but it is. I second just about everything you said. At 65% done I'm pretty positive I'm giving this five stars. And that's five "this is some seriously good stuff" stars. I feel a little weird about it actually, because as a rule, I don't even like YA. go figure.


Patrickl I love the books and just recently got to buy the other ones in the series. I have read a lot of reviews, but yours hit the nail on the head. Everything that I thought of the book you spoke, or well typed.


message 19: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Zombie books are plentiful.... Most suck. I'm so glad you liked this one and I'm so glad I own it and forgot.


message 20: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne I just started this and so far I can't stand Benny. I'm hoping Tom straightens him out.


message 21: by Tara (new) - added it

Tara What an awesome review! I just started reading this book and whole heartedly agree!


Joo Hee Bennett Ah, Tom... my dream (book) husband hahaha.. wish they would make a movie about these series.


Christpher Zanni I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!


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