Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review: Rot & Ruin, by Jonathan Maberry

Rot & Ruin is an excellent addition to my recommended zombie reading list. I fell in love with zombie books when reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth and the follow-up books in that series, and while Rot & Ruin is a different take on the zombie theme, I really enjoyed this one too. (Well actually, I read The Passage first, so I guess that’s when I got hooked.)

The non-zombie population is living inside fences to keep the zombies out, as is typical. These zombies are scary, and they are a force to be dealt with, but the focus of Maberry’s book is the people. The struggle in this book, and it’s a big struggle, is the conflict among the humans.

Maberry introduces us to this society as Benny, the main character, and his friend try to find jobs at the beginning of the book, a creative, entertaining way to build this world for his readers. Benny is extremely likeable. He grows up a lot in this book, and it is interesting to see the hope for the future as all of the teen characters in the book grow up. You see, these teens don’t remember the world before “first night” (when the zombie war began), so they have a different perspective about what’s outside the fence. I think this book ends more hopefully than any zombie book I’ve read, and I liked that.

But before we get to the end there’s lots of action, suspense, violence, and hardship to be dealt with. The supporting characters are important to the story and they are described enough that it is easy to either care about them, or hate them, as the case may be. The villains are beyond evil. And, like I said, I’m not talking about zombies, these are human villains.

The only character that annoyed me is Tom, Benny’s older brother. I just didn’t care about him that much, and I thought he got really preachy at times. But older brothers can be like that, so this isn’t a huge criticism.

I don’t want to say much more about the plot. There’s a message about humanity here, as well as an exciting adventure, and I don’t want to spoil that for future readers.  You should find out for yourselves…

Recommended to fans of apocalyptic fiction, zombies, and teen adventure stories. I’m going to give this one to some reluctant boys and see if I can get them hooked.

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2010
Copy obtained from the library
458 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 4/5

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  1. Great review! I met Johnathan Maberry at TLA and he was really nice. I look forward to reading his books soon.

  2. Great review! I'm reading this one at the moment, can't wait to finish it!

  3. I read this one recently and reviewed it as well. I really enjoyed it. I haven't read many zombie books, but will look up the ones that you mentioned. Thank you.

  4. Nice review! I'm glad to see you liked this book. It's been on my TBR, but I wasn't sure what to think about it.


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