Monday, November 21, 2011

MEN in YA: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (Review)

Genre:Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic
Publication.Date  October 5th 2010
Published By:  Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
WebsiteJonathan Maberry

Rot & Ruin - Goodreads
My review copy:Bought by me
Where to get: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Book Depository

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.

“Often it was the most unlikely people who found within themselves a spark of something greater. It was probably always there, but most people are never tested, and they go through their whole lives without ever knowing that when things are at their worst, they are at their best.”
“This one looks good,” said Chong over breakfast the next morning.
Benny read out loud from the paper. “‘Pit Thrower.’ What’s that?”
“I don’t know,” Chong said with a mouth full of toast. “I think it has something to do with barbecuing.”
It didn’t.”
“There was a sliver of moon and a splash of stars, and the light outlined her face and glistened on the tears that ran like mercury down her cheeks.”
“They won the war but lost the peace,”

     Jonathan Maberry + zombies = fan-freakin'-tastic post apocalyptic thrill ride! Seriously, this book is impossible to put down! I was sucked into the zombie-infested world of Benny Imura right from the get-go. All I wanted was to be left alone so I could sit down and read. Or even stand and read, doesn't matter. I could even read this book while hanging up-side-down from the tallest sky-scrapper in the city and I honestly wouldn't care! It's that good! I loved every second of it. It's not just a zombie book, it's  a phenomenal, thought-provoking, insanely emotional wonder of a story. Pure awesomeness!!!

“There are moments that define a person's whole life. Moments in which everything they are and everything they may possibly become balance on a single decision. Life and death, hope and despair, victory and failure teeter precariously on the decision made at that moment. These are moments ungoverned by happenstance, untroubled by luck. These are the moments in which a person earns the right to live, or not.”

     Benny Imura is almost fifteen, which means soon he's going to have to find a job, otherwise his food rations will get cut in half and he'll probably end up starving to death. Ideally he'd like an interesting, but not too physically demanding (or dangerous) job, but oh-well, the world he lives in is far from anyone's definition of perfect. Benny ends up working for his older brother, Tom (a half-Japanese, badass zombie hunter ). He's not particularly happy about it, in fact, ever since the night when his mother was killed on  their eyes by their virus-infected father, Benny hates and despises Tom. He believes Tom to be nothing more than a pathetic coward, who, instead of trying to save their mother, turned and ran. Their relationship is very complicated and heavy with all sorts of overwhelming emotions. The lack of civilized communication between these two doesn't really help improve it, either. It isn't until Tom takes Benny with him to Rot and Ruin (which basically is the world beyond the fence surrounding the city, a dangerous, zombie-ridden place) that he's beginning to understand how meaningful and important Tom's job is. Benny has a lot to learn, a lot to discover and understand. The world he sees from behind the fence is different from what he imagined. So is the world and the people on the inside.

“Closure isn't closure until someone's ready to close the door.”

     To say that I loved this book would be a major understatement. Rot & Ruin literally swept me off my feet. You may be wondering what's so special about this book that makes it stand out from the crowd of all the other zombie-apocalypse-sort-of-books. How different can it possible be? Oh, it's different, alright! This isn't anything like 28 Days Later or Resident Evil, although the premise might be similar. It's soooooo much more than that! Maberry's zombies are not vicious, evil beasts who will do everything to get their hands (or teeth rather) on your brains. These are tragic, sad, lost creatures, victims of a freak virus outbreak (of unknown origins), who, even though their human lives ended, can not rest in peace. The pages of Rot&Ruin are dripping with the overwhelming and omnipresent feeling of hopelessness and desperation. That's not to say that this books isn't scary, because it is. It's absolutely terrifying. But it's a different kind of fear than the one you'd expect from a zombie book. It's the kind of fear that slowly creeps up on you, get's deep under your skin and paralyzes you for a long, long time. Not the "OMG-zombies-are-chasing-me" kind of thrill, because, let's face it, that ceased to be scary long time ago. Rot & Ruin is horrifying for totally different reasons. In this book, Jonatham Maberry addresses our most basic fears: of being lost, abandoned by the society, lonely, misunderstood, of not living your life but merely existing. The zombies are not the bad guys here.. Sure they can hurt you and turn you into one of them. They'll follow you and try to get a bite of your yummy body, but it's not a conscious decision, or them wanting to harm you, that drives them. It's the disease. These zombies are more like plants, they follow the living just like plants follow the sun. It's a grim, depressing reality. I found myself emotionally wrapped up in this book. It's powerful and unforgettable. Brilliant. I can't emphasize enough how much I loved it.

     I loved all the characters, especially Tom. He was wise, brave, patient, forgiving and ready to sacrifice himself for others. Benny was a great MC and, although I didn't care much for him at the beginning, as the story progressed he definitely grew on me. He went from a stubborn, slightly annoying brat who acted like he knew everything about the world around him, to a mature, thoughtful, understanding young man. I loved the transformation! All the characters in Rot&Ruin are three dimensional and complex like that, and it's impossible not to care about them.

     Overall, Rot&Ruin made a huge impression on me and I'm definitely planning on re-reading it in the future. This is an absolute must-read, no doubt about it. I'm so happy that there will be not three but four books in the Benny Imura series - the more the better!

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Thanks to the fabulous

I have copies of Rot&Ruin and Dust&Decay up for grabs!
The giveaway will be posted tomorrow, together with my review of Dust&Decay.
Don't forget to stop by and enter!!!

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This review is posted as a part of the MEN in YA event (Nov 20th - Dec 20th)

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Lalaine said...

Great review, so glad to know that you enjoyed this book because I had this on my reading list, and I cannot wait to enter this thrilling world. THanks Evie x

The More the Merrier said...

I just got Rot & Ruin a few days ago and review makes me think I should read it as soon as possible. I like that it's not just about fumbling zombies but that there is real emotion to this book. I'll have to move this one up my TBR pile.

primrose said...

Zombies? Sounds good

Giselle said...

Ooh I kee hearing how GREAT this book is! Awesome review, Evie! I plan to save this one for Zombie vs UNicorn month that's happening in Feb on my blog and a couple others :D Can't wait to read it!

Xpresso Reads

Anonymous said...

What a lovely and enthusiastic review! I'm delighted that you enjoyed ROT & RUIN.

There are thirteen pages of free prequel scenes for ROT & RUIN available on the Simon & Schuster webpage for the book.

And there are twenty-five pages of free scenes set between ROT & RUIN and DUST & DECAY. Here’s a link to the main page; access the scenes by clicking on the banner that reads: READ BONUS MATERIAL BY JONATHAN MABERRY:

Benny Imura and his friends will return in FLESH & BONE (2012) and FIRE & ASH (2013)

roro said...

hope its a int giveaway!!

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

This book sounds awesome! I love the idea of a zombie book different than everything else that's out there! Great review Evie! Can't wait to check this out :)

Asheley T. said...

Great review! This is on my list! I read Dead of Night by Maberry and LOVED it, but I haven't started this series yet.

Also, how about that awesome cover? That sparkly, shiny eye! Love it!

Evie said...

@Lalaine - You should definitely read it soon. It was more than I ever expected it to be. Brilliant, touching book! Thank you for commenting! :)

@Nicole so glad you got a copy of R&R! You will love it, I guarantee! Thanks for stopping by! :)

@Primrose - not just any zombies! This book really rocks! :D

@Giselle - Zombies vs Unicorns? How awesome is that! I will definitely check it out :D Great idea! Thanks for stopping by, hun! <3

@Roro - So sorry, It's actually US only.. unless I hear back from S&SCanada, then it will be Canada, too.. But it doesn't look like it at the moment!

@Andrea - Thank you sweetie! It really is different... This and Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer are my two most fav zombie books!

@Asheley Thank you, hun! I so want to read Jonathan's adult books! You don't even know :)
And yes, the cover is fab!!! LOVE IT! :)

Thanks for stopping by everyone! <3

Obsession with Books said...

I have heard some wonderful things about this book & I love the cover.

A great review Evie! It is definitely going on my TBR pile..

Evie said...

@Sharon - Thank you sweetie! <3 The cover is indeed superb. The cover for Dust&Decay? Even better! I can't wait to see the covers for the next two books in the series!
thank you for commenting! <3

Jazz said...

Great review, so glad to know that you enjoyed this book because I Loved it as well :D including DUST AND DECAY, the covers are amazing they are attention grabbers.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to read this but now since this awesome review, whether I win that giveaway or not I'm going to go and pick it up soon. Thanks!

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

Awesome Evie..I loved your comment about hanging upside down. I am intrigued by this zombie premise. Sounds great!

mimz said...

I remember when I saw this cover for the first time awhile ago and the book's been in my "to read" list ever since. I've heard so many positive things about it that I'm not surprised you liked it too. I wrote to Santa that I want it for Christmas so I hope he reads his e-mails. :D

Fivezenses said...

I love it when reviewers add quotes that they loved from a book. It always feel more personal and shows how truly they care about the novel. Great review :D

Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said...

I want to read this so badly, I'm glad to see that it's not just another typical zombie book. Zombies really freak me out but I love reading about them so I definitely want a copy of this after your review.

Elisquared said...

"It's not just a zombie book, it's a phenomenal, thought-provoking, insanely emotional wonder of a story. Pure awesomeness!!!"

YES!! This is exactly how I felt while reading Rot & Ruin. I couldn't put it down either. I can't believe the world that Jonathan Maberry threw us into! It was such a great mix of scary and funny and heart-wrenching. All the quotes you picked depicted that perfectly!


Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

There are zombie books and then THERE ARE ZOMBIE BOOKS! This sounds like one I'm going to be up all night reading!

Novels On The Run said...

Great review!!

I absolutley adore this series, it's quite an emotional book and not at all what you think!! I can't wait for more!!


Treed said...

i have to check this series out. with the glowing review, it is hard not to take a look

Unknown said...

Ok, you said it was the disease making them try to eat the non-diseased humans. Does the book address the possibility of being a cure?

I haven't been much for zombie books, but you've made me rethink that!

iLuvReadingTooMuch said...

OOOO zombies. Great Review! I've been meaning to pick up this book for a while, but kinda put it off...definitely need to get my hands on this!

Andra Lyn said...

Dang girl...this is a FANTASTIC review...I love that the characters are so great! Characters are what it's all about in my book...A book could have the most amazing plot ever, but if I don't like the characters then it's a wash...I can't WAIT to read this! *literally drops book I was reading and runs out to grab Rot & Ruin*....seriously...*ppaagggee 1...*

Enbrethiliel said...


I love your description of this book! While I don't mind if this were nothing but an edge-of-your-seat Zombie Thriller (I guess it's a whole genre now? LOL!), I'm so glad to read that it goes much deeper than that, into the psychology of people who must live in a world where zombies are harsh reality. I think I'd really root for these two brothers as well.

Thanks for the review!

Tammy said...

Great review. I do love zombie books. I will have to pick this one up. Thank you for the great review.

gracelo said...

Wow, this sounds amazing. I've seen the cover around, but I think I got scared away . . . I love darker books, and zombies? That's a bonus. Can't wait to read it!

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