Review: Rot & Ruin

Review: Rot & RuinRot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Series: Benny Imura #1
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR on September 14, 2010
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic
Pages: 458
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

At the outset, Benny is a bit of an obnoxious kid. He has some serious teen boy syndrome going on, what with the rebellion against his parental figure, whining, messing with a girl’s feelings and idolization of whoever has the biggest muscles. Although this did help create sympathy for Tom and Nix, I still had trouble, even to the end of the novel, liking Benny, or Tom for that matter. Benny definitely got better, but he still has a lot of growing up to do. He wasn’t completely awful and I didn’t want him to die or anything, but he is not going down as a favorite either. Tom, while a really good guy, who I would probably have a bit of a crush on, just came off as way too much of a goody goody, even when you get to see him in action mode.

You know who I loved though? Nix and, to a lesser degree, Lilah. Although Rot & Ruin is written by a man and the main character is male and the main audience is likely teenage boys, most of the women in this novel still kick serious ass. Props to Jonathan Maberry for not writing about teenage girls who only talk about boys and trip all over themselves and constantly need to be saved. Honestly, I think Nix saves Benny’s hide more often than he saves hers.

The dystopian aspects were pretty cool, although somewhat similar to the way Carrie Ryan’s world reacted to the zombie menace, minus the crazy gates all over the place. Maberry didn’t do anything too original with his worldbuilding, but its solid and the book is well-written. For zombie dystopias, I rank this way above Carrie Ryan’s books, but still far below Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series.

While I never got super engrossed into Rot & Ruin, perhaps because I just wasn’t quite in the right mood, it was definitely a solid read and I am looking forward to the second book, Dust & Decay.


2 responses to “Review: Rot & Ruin”

  1. Sonia says:

    I own this book but haven’t read it. Great review! Gotta read it soon. And I keep hearing positive comments of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series. Can’t wait to read that too! 🙂

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