Monday, August 27, 2012

Rot and Ruin (Benny Imura #1) by Jonathan Maberry

Nearly fourteen years ago, a freak virus swept across the world turning the living into the undead. Benny Imura was only a toddler, but his last memory of his parents is tainted by the image of them becoming zombies, and he blames his older brother, Tom, for not saving them. 
Now Benny is fifteen, and Tom wants them to put their difficult relationship behind them and work together in the “family business”: as zombie killers. It’s the last thing Benny wants to do, but he needs a job and he thinks it’ll be an easy ride. 
But when they head into the Rot and Ruin, an area full of wandering zombies, Benny soon realises that there’s more to the job than just whacking zombies. And, as he’s confronted with the truth about the world around him Benny makes the most terrifying discovery of all, that the worst monsters you can imagine might actually be human...
When I first heard of this book, I thought it might be your typical zombie novel. I was wrong. Of course there are zombies. In this version, they are mindless and slow moving. Everyone is already technically infected and so if you die in any manner, you need to be "quieted" or you will be come a zombie. The bite of a zombie only hastens your transformation immediately.

However, these are not the monsters of the book. Like some zombie novels, it's an exploration of the living humans and what monstrous deeds they are capable. The ones who give conscious thought to being evil. The zombies do it mindlessly; the humans with full thought and action.

My biggest criticism does have to do with the beginning of the book. However, it is a light criticism. I just didn't get involved with the character, Benny Imura at the beginning. Not until he and his big brother Tom go to the "Ruin" (where the zombies outnumber the living) did I get interested and invested. However, although I might have liked that beginning shorter, I don't think it could be left out. It was important information about Benny and how he viewed others including his brother.

I give this zombie tale 4 stars. I really suggest this book to those that don't often read zombie novels. It's more about the human condition and what we allow and how we keep ourselves caged because of fear. It's also about what happens when we are set free of fear. I really can't wait to read the next one in this series.
Jonathan Maberry talks about Rot and Ruin

I won this book from Mel at Mel's Random Reviews! I finally got a chance to dive into it! Thanks Mel!!


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! :-)
    You're right Benny isn't very relatable in the beginning, but once he understands the world better he seems to be better.

  2. I agree it's more about about the human condition etc. I did enjoyed reading this book, but I did not loved it. I am curious about the sequel, I just hope it got the creep factor going on. :)

  3. YEAH!I am so glad that you liked it! I did too :)

  4. "The ones who give conscious thought to being evil. The zombies do it mindlessly; the humans with full thought and action."

    LOVE those lines Melissa! In books like this it's always the humans that surprise me with what they're capable of, never the monsters. I've heard amazing things about this series, and I think I might even give it a try since you said it might work for those who don't really like zombies:)

    1. If you and Missie read it, I want to know what you think about it. Especially since you both don't read zombie novels.

  5. I agree with Jenny! There is something so scary about those that are consciously evil. I am one that doesn't read many zombie books, so I think I will take your advice. Thanks for the fair warning about the beginning. Good to know my liking for the characters will come.

    Congrats on winning a book you ended up liking a lot. :)

  6. Ah this book. A blogger recommended this one to me, and really I need to try it, if you tell me that as well how can I not?

  7. Thanks for the review!

    Even I agree that Benny isn't all that likeable in the beginning...but of course he's not supposed to be. The book's as much about his growth as a person as it is about the growth of his worldview.

    We just sold the movie rights to it. See you at the cinema!

    1. Oh I got that he wasn't supposed to be likeable and I love growth in a character. That is why I enjoyed the book so much.

      Sweet! I think this would make a great movie!

  8. Oh this sounds interesting. And seeing the author talk in that trailer is cool. Thanks!

  9. SQUEE!!!! You read it!!!! You liked it!!!! Yay!!! Benny in the beginning reminded of my baby brother TO A FREAKING T! It was creepy how eerily similar and dis likable they were at that age!!!! But I loved him despite his surly, "I hate everything." attitude c of my brother, and he grows SO much right?

    Did you cry? I CRIED and CRIED! Lol

    Book 2 RIPPED me apart!

    Love you HARD!!

  10. YAY! Cool another zombie book! I have not had the pleasure to read this book but I will now. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Christy @ Loves Books was raving about this series and I have it on my list. I am glad,to hear it is something beyond gore and zombies!


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