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Rot and Ruin

by Jonathan Maberry

Series: Benny Imura (1)

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1,594997,861 (4.09)65
In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies that have overtaken civilization, fifteen-year-old Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter.

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Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
Wow! Outstanding book - intricate and thoughtful and full of incredible world building details. Totally shed a tear at the end. Can't wait for the next in the series. One of the better YA novels I've read in a long time. ( )
  scout101 | Sep 15, 2020 |
One of the best post-apocalyptic novels I’ve read. It’s SO much more than zombies.....!
5 stars, and highly recommended ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Let's hear it for another intelligent, emotional, original, well-done, post-zombie apocalypse novel!

Benny Imura can't find a job, but at fifteen, he needs one badly in order to continue to get along in society. He would rather do anything but join his older brother Tom in the 'family business' of killing zombies. But options are slim, and the vast wildness of the zombie infested land called the Rot and Ruin needs clearing of its undead denizens. And so a very reluctant Benny, saddled with an all-consuming hatred of the creatures that killed his parents on the apocalyptic First Night, agrees to become Tom's apprentice.

Thus begins not only Benny's coming-of-age story, but an amazing tale that is part gruesome zombie novel, part action-packed Western, and altogether a book with more punch behind it than just a bunch of fight scenes and dismemberment (although there's plenty of that too). Kidnappings, murders, conspiracies, chases, twisted plans, and mythical legends all play a part.

I loved the originality of this book, with a main character who starts out as naive, short-tempered and mostly unlikeable only to trace a realistic path of discovery through a world both very different and yet with many resemblances to our own. I loved the way the author played the idea and "rules" of the zombies very straight, imbuing them with fear and suspense, but at the same urged the reader to see both the humanity and sympathy of such wretched creatures. I loved the idea of having zombie bounty hunters as much as I loved the idea of people who brought morality and empathy to the idea of closure and the "death" of the living dead. I loved the characters: Benny himself of course; his wise, badass, katana-wielding brother Tom; beautiful, bookish, increasingly awesome action girl Nix Riley; and the Lost Girl, an urban legend of a mute, feral girl who hunts the woods for corrupt male bounty hunters and zombies to murder with her bayonet spear. With a cast like this, how can this book not be great?

Lastly, the emotion in this novel had a lot more depth than I expected to find. Relationships are interestingly, amusingly, movingly crafted, and they change in realistic and gripping ways. Benny's dynamic with Tom, his shifting feelings about his brother's "job", about zombies, about good and evil, about life in the isolated village, about his own place in the world...all are well-done.

And of course I'm excited by the direction the book is taking and the plotlines it promises to bring up in the sequel; I want to see where these characters and this world go! ( )
  booksong | Mar 18, 2020 |
(This review can also be found on my blog The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl).

I don't know what makes zombies so cool, but they are. I love reading zombie books, so when I heard about Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, I knew I had to read this book. This has definitely become my favourite zombie book...EVER!

Benny has grown up in a world where zombies have always existed. His brother, Tom, has been around before the zombies. Everyone thinks Tom is a hero, but Benny has his doubts. Tom left their mother to the mercy of the zombies. Benny doesn't want to spend time with Tom killing zombies, but at 15 year old, he must get a job or have his rations cut in half. With no job satisfying him, Benny begrudgingly agrees to help kill zombies with his brother Tom. Along the way, Benny learns that Tom isn't the person he thought he was. Benny also gets a lesson in compassion. Will Benny be satisfied with killing zombies or will Benny become a zombie himself?

The cover for Rot & Ruin is alright. I've got the cover where the actual cover is not a full cover. The top cover is what is shown in the photo above, but when you open the top cover, the next cover shows the face of a zombie. It gets points for having a zombie cover, but it's nothing special. However, I do like the quote on the cover: "This book is full of heart...They just don't beat anymore." That made me chuckle!

Rot & Ruin is definitely a great title for this book. The Rot & Ruin is where all the zombies exist. I thought it was a fantastic choice.

I was amazed with the world building in this book. From the very first page, I was transported into this zombie apocalypse wasteland. I've never been in a zombie apocalypse, but the author does a good job making me feel like I was living in one each time I started reading his book. The description of the wasteland gives the reader a vivid mental picture of what a zombie apocalypse might entail.

As for the pacing, I never wanted to put this book down. In fact, there was one day where we had company, and I didn't get to read this book at all that day. I was in a bad mood because of it! This is definitely a fast paced, action packed, thrilling book that will leave you hungry for more. Not once while I was reading this book did I become bored with it. I was hooked from the very first page.

The dialogue/wording was fantastic. Through the dialogue, the author portrays the emotions of the characters quite well. I especially enjoyed the dialogue between Benny and his brother Tom. There are a few big words that I didn't understand, but perhaps that's just my limited vocabulary. Do be aware that there is some swearing in this book.

I felt that the characters were well developed. My favourite character was Tom. He came off as being very wise and just as an all around nice person. Benny was a great character as well. I liked how I was able to watch him grow as a character. He starts off being a typical 14 year old teenager, but after witnessing what he is forced to witness, he starts growing up. He starts maturing, and I feel that the author did a fantastic job showing us how Benny was forced to grow up. Charlie and the Hammer were well written as baddies. I hated them throughout the book. Not because they weren't written well but because the author makes us see how horrible these two really are.

I definitely enjoyed this whole book from start to finish. I read it in record time and had even bought the next book in the series before I even finished with Rot & Ruin. I loved the different spin this book put on zombies. It sort of humanizes them and makes us really think about how zombies were once human and how they were somebody's mother, father, son, daughter, sister, brother, etc. It really does make you think. Because of this, Rot & Ruin is much different then any zombie book I've ever read, and I really appreciated that. I also enjoyed that this book just wasn't focused on killing zombies. There's a lot more to the story then just zombie killing.

Although the book says it's for ages 12 and up, I'd recommend it to ages 14 due to the violence, language, and themes. ( )
  khal_khaleesi | Nov 16, 2019 |
Good action and a smooth plotline. I was impressed at the level of thought that went into this "teen/YA" book that challenges the status quo and the fear that exists in the world we live in. The protag is not a complete hero of all that is ninjitsu, but he holds his own. Highly recommended for anyone who likes the genre and is okay with moderate violence and some snogging in a book. ( )
  slmr4242 | Oct 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
This is no ordinary zombie novel. Maberry has given it a soul in the form of two brothers who captured my heart from the first page and refused to let go.
added by cmwilson101 | editAmazon, Maria V. Snyder

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Benny Imura couldn't hold a job, so he took to killing. It was the family business.
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In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies that have overtaken civilization, fifteen-year-old Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter.

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Book description
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 human.
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Jonathan Maberry is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Jonathan Maberry chatted with LibraryThing members from Mar 22, 2010 to Apr 4, 2010. Read the chat.

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Average: (4.09)
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1.5 1
2 10
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3 45
3.5 22
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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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