Rot and Ruin
- Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
Nearly fourteen years ago a freak virus swept across the world turning those infected from the living into the undead. Benny Imura has grown-up never knowing anything different; his last memories of his parents tainted by the image of them becoming zombies. Now Benny is fifteen, and his brother Tom wants him to join the "family business" and train as a zombie killer. The last thing Benny wants is to work with Tom --- but at least the job should be an easy ride. Then the brothers head into the Rot and Ruin, an area full of wandering zombies, and Benny realises that being a bounty hunter isn't just about whacking zombies. As he's confronted with the truths about the world around him, Benny finds his beliefs challenged and makes the most terrifying discovery of all, that sometimes the worst monsters you can imagine, are human...
One word review: Wow. What? You want more? You want to know that the characters are fully rounded, layered and realistic? That the world 15 years after the zombie apocalypse happened is scarily real and complex? You want to know that the action is tense with many breath taking events and heart stopping moments? You want to know that this a roller coaster ride that you can’t put down until the end? Well, it is all that. This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time and I loved every second of it.
Benny and his brother Tom have one of the most realistic sibling relationship I’ve ever read with Benny particularly hung up on his impression of his brother as a coward and weak. Jonathan Maberry’s portrayal of Benny, aged 15 and learning for the first time the difference between childhood and adult responsibilities feels real and not dissimilar to what we all go through. The fact that Benny’s world is set after the fall and his town is surrounded by zombies doesn’t matter as much as Benny learns what being an adult really means: Sometimes people are worse than monsters.
There is a great balance between adventure and life lessons with all the characters fleshed out (no pun intended). The world feels real. There were times while reading that my heart was in my throat and I was literally on the edge of my seat. I strongly urge everyone to read this book – even if zombies aren’t your cup of tea as while zombies are scary nothing is as chilling as what people can do. The writing is deceptively simple and from the first page you can become lost in this world. Go read it now! :)
Recommended for fans of Mira Grant and Michael Grant. 10 out of 10.