Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩'s Reviews > Rot & Ruin

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
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God damn, I'd written like half this review and then I accidentally pressed backspace and went back a page, and lost EVERYTHING I'D WRITTEN. ARRRRGGHGHGHGHGHHDKH;ASKDG;ALSDJJLK.

... You get the idea. I'm pretty flipping angry right now. GARRR. Well, I will try to recreate what I'd written. And this time I will select and copy everything I have repeatedly. Probably after every single word.

SO I tremendously enjoyed this book. It's probably the best zombie book I've read since The Reapers Are the Angels––and that book is pretty dang awesome.

To summarize a bit:

Benny Imura lives in the future, zombie-infested America. Kids are required to get jobs by the time they turn fifteen, or their rations will be reduced. When he discovers he isn't good at any of the jobs he tries, Benny realizes he'll have to apprentice to become a zombie hunter, with his older brother Tom. The problem is, Benny blames Tom for abandoning their parents––thus causing their deaths––on the "First Night" of the infestation. So, there's quite a lot of tension going on between the two brothers. But once Benny and Tom set out into the "Rot & Ruin," where all the zombies dwell, Benny starts to realize that there are bigger problems than just the walking dead. There are also dangerous bounty hunters everywhere––some of whom are worse than the zombies themselves. And then there is the mystery of the "Lost Girl," a zombie hunter who has been killing zombies and humans alike ...

Now, to break this down into categories:


The story has a distinct, gritty atmosphere and a lot of interesting details. I like the idea of the bounty hunters, the zombie cards, Gameland (which I hope there's a lot more of in the next book!), etc. I've read a bunch of zombie books, but this one stood out as truly unique with its original details.


At first, I disliked Benny. But looking back on the book as a whole, that was probably the point. He starts off as your average teenage boy––impatient and irrational, thinking that hunting zombies would be a piece of cake. But he learns a lot from Tom and from his experiences on his voyage, and emerges a much more mature and likable character. He's still not my favorite protagonist of all time, but I still liked him in the end.

Then, there's Tom. Tom. TOMMMM.

Well, if you can't tell … I liked Tom quite a lot. In fact, pretty much every time he did or said anything I was just like:

I mean, first of all, he is a total badass––with his swords and his general hotness and whatnot. (Also, I tend to have a thing for Asian guys … I don't know why. I just do.)

But, Tom is more than that. He's also a very deep and insightful character. He's the one who teaches Benny to not see the "zoms" as simply monsters––but as people who just met an unfortunate fate. I mean, who would have thought I would actually feel really bad for zombies? I think this is the first book that ever made me feel that way … and that was mostly thanks to Tom. So, thanks Tom. You're the bomb. (HEY THAT RHYMES.)

(view spoiler)

Lilah was also a super awesome character. And well, I won't give too much away about her. But she is also a badass, and with a really dark and unforgettable backstory. I'm not sure if Benny really likes her or not but … TEAM LILAHHHH!

Speaking of love interests … Nix. Okay. Out of the major characters, Nix was the one I had the most issues with––not as a person, because she seemed like a decent person. I just felt like, I wasn't really sold on her and Benny as a couple. I feel like, in the beginning of the story, she was presented to the reader as That Girl Benny Likes. And even that was mostly just because Benny's friends kept being like "OOOH BENNY DO YOU LIKE NIX." I'm not really sure why, but I just didn't feel that connected to her as a character, and I thought the romance between her and Benny felt a little forced. I could see how she might grow on me, because she definitely has some badassery in her, but right now I'm just like … ehhhh. I mean, I felt like Lilah had more depth to her character than Nix did, before Lilah even showed up––like, just from people talking about her. So … hmm. I guess we'll see how Nix develops in the next books.

But anyway, there were some good minor characters as well. Benny and Nix had several other friends who provided some comic relief and fun dialogue and whatnot––like Chong and Morgie. These friends didn't have a tremendous amount of depth, but at least they were likable and seemed like realistic teenagers.


Yeah, I just wasn't really sure how to describe this category. Just … this book gave me a lot of feelings. It was terrifying and heart-pounding in some parts, and very touching in others. As I was saying before, I actually felt bad for the zombies––although that didn't mean that I wasn't still afraid of them. So, I could simultaneously fear them and sympathize with them … WUUUT.

But anyway, the relationship between Tom and Benny was definitely the most emotional. What can I say––I just love a good sibling relationship. And it developed so well over the course of the story. It was fantastic how they started out so distant from each other, and at the end were really close.

And just, man … DAT ENDING.

(view spoiler)

So, I can't really think of anything else to say. I thought this book was wonderful. It was exciting and thought-provoking and just … yeah. I am impatiently waiting for the sequel to come to the library for me so I can continue with this story. :)
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Reading Progress

September 15, 2011 – Shelved
July 10, 2012 – Started Reading
July 10, 2012 –
page 140
30.57% "Pretty flipping awesome so far! I'm intrigued by this whole "lost girl" thing ... Also I'm pretty sure I'm in love with Tom. Yup."
July 12, 2012 –
page 386
July 14, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 4, 2012 – Shelved as: zombies
August 4, 2012 – Shelved as: favorites
January 22, 2013 – Shelved as: young-adult
May 13, 2013 – Shelved as: sci-fi
May 13, 2013 – Shelved as: futuristic
May 13, 2013 – Shelved as: adventure
August 20, 2013 – Shelved as: yes-yes-yes

Comments (showing 1-35 of 35) (35 new)

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message 1: by Carmen (new) - added it

Carmen Your reviews always make my day xD
I'm really glad you liked it. I'm about to start it ^^

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Aw, thanks! And awesome––I hope you like it as much as I did! :)

Anna I don't know if you're first review was that good, but this right here is pretty awesome! You still poured your heart out!! :) And, Tom really is quite the catch. (view spoiler)

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Haha, thank you. I don't think my first review was all that different. I probably just ranted too much anyway. :P And ahh I know ... so sad.

Sara My brother gave me this to read. I totally forgot about it ...
but looking back, yeah, it was pretty good. :)

Jonathan So glad you enjoyed the book, Brigid. The second in the series is already out, DUST & DECAY. We're in serious discussions about a possible movie adaptation.

Benny Imura and his friends will return in FLESH & BONE (September 11, 2012) and FIRE & ASH (2013).

And in August look for the novella, DEAD & GONE, which will be released as an 80-page e-book for all e-readers.

Here are links to free ROT & RUIN bonus content: FIRST NIGHT MEMORIES includes an excerpt from Nix’s Journal and the story of how Tom Imura escaped with Benny on First Night:

IN THE LAND OF THE DEAD takes place between ROT & RUIN and DUST & DECAY

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Hi Jonathan! Yes, I've already requested Dust & Decay from my library and I'm impatiently waiting for it!

And thanks so much for the links! I will definitely check those out. :)

Trudi Great review! especially considering you lost the original (been there, feel your pain). Tom IS the bomb! :D :D :D

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Trudi wrote: "Great review! especially considering you lost the original (been there, feel your pain). Tom IS the bomb! :D :D :D"

Thanks, Trudi! Haha, well luckily I remembered the gist of what I'd originally written. So, it wasn't too bad. And yes, he most certainly is!

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Thanks Brian! Haha I'm glad you appreciate the gifs. I have fun with them. ;) And yaaaay let me know what you think when you read it!

message 11: by ashlee (last edited Jul 18, 2012 07:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

ashlee you are literally going to die in the second book. i sure did..

Michelle Isn't it AWESOME!?!!! LOVED LOVED LOVED this series! Can't wait until the new one comes out!!! You're going to love the next one.

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Yes totally awesome! Gahh I'm dying here... The library really needs to hurry up. :P

message 15: by Pavithra (new)

Pavithra Mahendran Hot asian guys, kick-ass sword AND zombies!! Sounds like an awesome combo.. I'm definitely goin to give tis a try even if it wasn't my group's 'book to read ths month'..

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Yes! Woot woot! I hope you enjoy it. ;)

Revan Just ordered the audio book after reading this. Gametime!

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Cool––hope you have fun listening to it!

 Synder3lla OMG that is so me. I love Tom! <3

Jared Winkers i throughly enjoyed this review it was informative and hilarious

Jared Winkers Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* wrote: "Yay! :D"

woot woot

Jared Winkers haha nice avatar usage and AWSOME NAME

kirstin ✿ I likes your review! Summarized my thoughts ^^

kirstin ✿ **liked

Mary Grace Nakao I could totally agree with you with the Tom thing! So glad he made it!! :))

message 28: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Wilson Loved your review. You nailed almost everything I loved about this book.

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Mark wrote: "Loved your review. You nailed almost everything I loved about this book."

Thanks! I'm glad you liked both the book and my review. :D

message 30: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Wilson Gorgeous set of books.
Struggling to find another with the same depth and impact. Any suggestions?

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Mark wrote: "Gorgeous set of books.
Struggling to find another with the same depth and impact. Any suggestions?"

Hmm have you read the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness? (The first book is The Knife of Never Letting Go.) Also a really exciting and powerful dystopian series. :)

message 32: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Wilson I haven't. It's on the list. Thanks for that.

message 34: by Cormac (new)

Cormac Zoso brigid -- if you do ctrl+z you can undo what you did, i.e., delete your entire review :)

Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ Cormac wrote: "brigid -- if you do ctrl+z you can undo what you did, i.e., delete your entire review :)"

Um ... why?

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