Monday, February 13, 2012

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin (Benny Imura, #1) is a post-apocalyptic story told in the first POV by 15 year old Benny Imura. 14 years ago Benny’s parents ended up part of the zombie apocalypse on what is called First Night.

6 billion people died over the course of short period of time. Those lucky enough to survive made their way to various communities like Mountainside where when you turn 15, you are required to have a job or your rations will be cut in half.

According to Benny, nobody knows that really happened that caused the zombies to be created. Was it a virus mutated from radiation from outer space? Or, was it created by the Chinese like the Avian Flu that caused people to turn into zombies?

At the beginning, I really truly didn't care for Benny and his seemingly hatred towards his older brother Tom or his refusal to join the family business of quieting zombies when we’re first introduced.

Instead of turning to Tom and asking him for help in learning the family trade, he instead tried a plethora of jobs that he didn’t last long at and let misinformation guide the way he treats his only alive relative. He was more interested in hanging around with his buddies Morgie, Chong, and Nix than doing anything productive with his life.

Benny’s anger towards Tom goes back 14 years to when Tom took Benny and ran away from their parents after they were infected and turned into zoms. All Benny understood at the time was that Tom was a coward who ran away, and he doesn’t deserve his respect. Later, after the real truth comes about what Tom does, and how he goes about quieting zombies, Benny actually learns to respect his older brother and ends up bonding in a real emotional way.

Tom was the character I most wanted to know about. Tom was 20 on First Night and in the police academy about ready to graduate. Tom spends his time in what is called the Rot and Ruin where you basically take your life in your hands when you travel outside the gates of Mountainside to hunt down zombies. Tom’s job is simple; find a family member who has been turned into a zombie, and quiet him/her with respect.

Tom has secrets as well. Nobody really knows what he does when he is in the Rot and Ruin. The plus for Tom is that he has awesome fighting abilities with his samurai sword and a code of ethics that makes him above the rest of the so called bounty hunters scum like Charlie and the Hammer.

It is Tom who not only protects and ensures Benny is taken care of, but Nix Riley and her mother Jenny as well.
By the end of the book, Benny had come a long way and grew up really fast after events forced his hands, and he was forced into running from several bounty hunters he had once respected. He also goes above the call of duty when his friend Nix is taken away by Charlie and the Hammer.

Nix Riley is another character that was really truly interesting to learn more about her and what happens when she is forced to deal with the loss of her mother and the doom of fighting for her life against zoms in an arena setting.

The last character that was really strange, yet likable was the Lost Girl named Lilah. Lilah has lived alone in the Rot & Run and is one of those characters that you know you just want to know more about. You want to know how in the hell a girl her age was able to survive alone without any help for so long.

Definitely a different take on the whole zombie apocalypse and one that I absolutely recommend to my friends, and followers alike.

Part # 2 Dust & Decay released August 30, 2011
Part # 3 Flesh & Bone will be released September 11, 2012 

Title: Rot & Ruin
Author: Jonathan Mallory
Release Date: September 14, 2011
Genres:  YA Dystopian & Post-Apocalyptic

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