Robert Beveridge's Reviews > Rot & Ruin

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
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's review
Dec 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: cuy-co-pub-lib, finished
Read from June 28 to 29, 2011 , read count: 1

Jonathan Maberry, Rot and Ruin (Simon and Schuster, 2010)

It's been six days after forever since I read this book, and I somehow never got around to reviewing it. I have no idea why this is, since it's got a very good chance of being on my 25 best reads of the year list. I've been hearing about Maberry for years, but had never got round to picking up one of his books until I grabbed Rot and Ruin in June. It turned out to be a fine introduction to a guy who seems like a cracking writer (I have since read, and favorably reviewed, Dead of Night, viz. 28Sep11 ish).

Plot: the zombie apocalypse has come and gone. Benny Imura, the hero of this nascent series, and his brother Tom live in one of the last outposts of humanity to be found in the western states. As we open, Benny and his friends are approaching their fifteenth birthdays—the deadlines by which they have to get jobs or have their rations cut in half. The first few chapters of the book detail Benny trying to get any job other than apprenticing with Tom as a zombie hunter, but, well, no one's hiring. See, Benny isn't too fond of his older brother, preferring the company of some mad/bad/dangerous-to-know mercenary zombie hunters from out of town that all the kids idolize. Once Benny and Tom start working together, though, Benny realizes zombie hunting is not what he thought it was at all—and that the mercenaries aren't, either. Out in the wasteland known as the Rot and Ruin, zombies are far from the worst thing to be found...

Given that the real conflicts in this book are between Benny and Tom and between Tom and the mercenaries, it should be no surprise that Maberry puts a lot of effort into srawing his characters here, and it pays off. This is a very satisfying book, from the character angle, which puts it head and shoulders above a lot of the zombie lit I've been reading recently (even the stuff I've liked, a la Rhiannon Frater and Amanda Hocking). But worry not, fans of moaning, rotting flesh, there is plenty of action to go around, as Benny and various friends and acquaintances find themselves fighting zombies and other humans on a fairly regular basis. A darned good book indeed, I says. ****

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