Bethany Miller's Reviews > Rot & Ruin

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
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's review
Apr 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobooks-on-cd
Read from March 27 to April 10, 2012

3.5 stars

“Benny Imura couldn’t hold a job, so he took to killing.

It was the family business. He barely liked his family – and by his family he meant his older brother ‘Mr. Freaking Perfect Tom Imura’ - and he definitely like didn’t like the idea of ‘business.’ Or work. The only part of the deal that sounded like it might be fun was the actual killing.”

Benny and Tom live in a post-apocalyptic world that is mostly overrun by zombies. Though the small town they live is relatively safe, it is surrounded by the Rot and Ruin, where zombies roam free and very few humans would ever dare to go. Benny idolizes bounty hunters like Charlie “Pink-eye” Mathais and his partner, the Motor City Hammer, who go out into the Rot and Ruin to kill zombies. Benny’s brother Charlie is a bounty hunter too, but in Benny’s eyes he is not nearly as cool as Charlie and the Hammer. Benny still remembers First Night – the night that the zombie apocalypse began. Even though he was just a baby at the time, Benny has a memory of Tom running away with Benny in his arms as their parents are attacked and turned into zombies. So it’s only after trying every other job in the want ads that Benny agrees to join Tom in the family business – zombie hunting. Benny soon finds out there’s more to the family business than he ever could have imagined and that the real evil may lie within humans rather than zombies.

I avoided this book for while even though I was intrigued by the reviews. I think I was put off by the cover. It made me think, “This book will be either scary or gross or possibly both.” While there are definitely scary moments and gross moments, they do not dominate the book. It’s a great adventure story with relatable characters and relationships. The world of the book has a definite Wild West vibe, which I really enjoyed. It did take me a little while to get into the book as there is a lot of world building and not much plot as Benny and Chong search for jobs. At first Benny got on my nerves, but then I realized the things that were annoying me were very realistic teenage boy things, and he grows and matures throughout the book in a way that is very satisfying. Tom Imura is a great character as well, and the developing relationship between the two brothers adds depth to the novel. Some reviewers have commented that Tom could be very preachy, and I guess I can see their point. However, I did not find his conversations with Benny to be too lengthy nor did they take me out to of the book. It reminded me of For the Win by Cory Doctorow in that these occasional tangents were necessary for a deeper understanding of the characters and the world they live in. Overall, the book really exceeded my expectations and I am looking forward to reading the sequel.

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50.0% "Exceeding my expectations!"
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