Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rot & Ruin.

Title/Author: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.

Genre: YA/Dystopian/Horror.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Tommy Imura.

Favorite quote:  "It was the same moon, but it looked different now. He knew it always would." ~about Benny.

All in all: Excellent. I would recommend this for anyone.

Synopsis: 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

My Thoughts: This is NOT a zombie novel.

This is a novel about Benny Imura and how he grows up within a few short weeks. It’s about relationships and understanding yourself and having the courage to choose to do what you feel is right. The setting just happens to be an apocalyptic world with zombies. However, it’s not the undead that are the biggest threat. The biggest threat is ignorance and the people who profit from this way of life.

The plot kept me entertained and excited throughout the story. Everything weaves together in a cohesive thread and circles around to completion, from the events of First Night when the zombie apocalypse started to the differences between zombie “hunters” to the introduction of The Lost Girl to the Imura brother’s parents.

Benny’s growth is interesting to experience. He is at first any typical teen who is kind of whiny, a bit lazy, sullen and moody. During his apprenticeship with his brother he has a revelation and his world view changes. Then his world literally changes and he is forced to cowboy up, summon his courage and take action to protect people he loves.  I like how he then steps up to protect strangers because now he truly understands what it means to do what is right.  The action scenes are specific without being overly detailed, well thought out and I could visualize each move. I like reading fight and strategy scenes that I can envision clearly.

***SPOILER ALERT: At first Benny’s behaviors regarding Nix confused me. I couldn’t tell what his feelings were. But then I liked that, because I found it realistic and if memory serves me correctly, typical of a teen age boy. It seems to me he keeps his own feelings about her at arms length and his obsession for The Lost Girl right in front of him. I like that his actions weren’t cut and dried and I liked that he had to explore what he wanted and how he felt.  I ended up loving the romance thread in this book. :END SPOILER ALERT***

I also really liked his friend Chong. He didn’t have a large role, but he shines when he is present. He is the smart one of the group and gives astute commentary when his friends don't seem to "get it." My favorite character is Tommy. He is a swoonworthy hero and his stoic, calm demeanor reminds me of western sheriffs who know how to get the job done. He wasn’t all business though, he smiled and joked around with his brother, but I have to say I prefer him in his strong & silent type persona.

Also, I loved the format. Maberry has many graphic novels under his belt and I could see the influences in Rot & Ruin. The way the page numbers are angled, chapter titles - they all add to the unique look of this book. I also absolutely loved the trading cards, not only within the novel but the ones depicted at the end of the book. But I pictured Tommy a little different.

This is a really enjoyable, fun book that goes a little deeper into character, human behavior and dips it’s toe into social issues as well. It is the first one of a trilogy, but the story tied itself up neatly and still left a little bit to anticipate.



Anonymous said...

Great review! Thanks. Delighted that you enjoyed the first adventure of Benny Imura and his friends.

By the way...Chong gets a much larger role in the sequel, DUST & DECAY (Oct 30).

Jen | Book Den said...

Rot & Ruin sounds like something I would really enjoy. *adds to the list*

Smash Attack Ash said...

Thanks for this great review. I need to pick this sucker up soon.

Savannah said...

Not a zombie novel! But still I want to read it. Loved your review!

Jenny said...

I'm not a big fan of zombie books, but based on your first sentence that doesn't matter because this book clearly has more to offer:) I love books with strong characters that make me feel everything they feel, so I think I'm going to like Benny. Awesome review!

Anonymous said...

Hey Midnyte,
Saw this one in the bookshop on Friday and recalled seeming to hear good things but didn't grab me as much as I'd hoped--I prefer Jonathan's adult novels. Still, great review, and loved reading your thoughts!


Logan E. Turner said...

Excellent review! I love knowing that it's not just a zombie book. Give me deeper meaning any day. Looking forward to reading these.

Rhiannon said...

Loved, Loved, LOVED this book. Cannot wait till the sequel comes out next month!! said...
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