Rot & Ruin (Rot & Ruin Series #1)

Rot & Ruin (Rot & Ruin Series #1)

by Jonathan Maberry

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442402331
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Series: Rot & Ruin Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 45,423
Product dimensions: 5.66(w) x 8.08(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and Marvel Comics writer. He’s the author of many novels, including Assassin’s Code, Dead of Night, Patient Zero, and Rot & Ruin. His nonfiction books cover topics ranging from martial arts to zombie pop-culture. Since 1978 he has sold more than 1,200 magazine feature articles, 3,000 columns, two plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, poetry, and textbooks. Jonathan continues to teach the celebrated Experimental Writing for Teens class, which he created. He founded the Writers Coffeehouse and co-founded The Liars Club, and he is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries, as well as a keynote speaker and guest of honor at major writers’ and genre conferences. Jonathan lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Sara, and their son, Sam. Visit him at JonathanMaberry.com and on Twitter (@jonathanmaberry) and Facebook.

Read an Excerpt

1

BENNY IMURA COULDN’T HOLD A JOB, SO HE TOOK TO KILLING.

It was the family business. He barely liked his family—and by family he meant his older brother, Tom—and he definitely didn’t like the idea of “business.” Or work. The only part of the deal that sounded like it might be fun was the actual killing.

He’d never done it before. Sure, he’d gone through a hundred simulations in gym class and in the Scouts, but they never let kids do any real killing. Not before they hit fifteen.

“Why not?” he asked his Scoutmaster, a fat guy named Feeney who used to be a TV weatherman back in the day. Benny was eleven at the time and obsessed with zombie hunting. “How come you don’t let us whack some real zoms?”

“Because killing’s the sort of thing you should learn from your folks,” said Feeney.

“I don’t have any folks,” Benny countered. “My mom and dad died on First Night.”

“Ouch. Sorry, Benny—I forgot. Point is, you got family of some kind, right?”

“I guess. I got ‘I’m Mr. Freaking Perfect Tom Imura’ for a brother, and I don’t want to learn anything from him.”

Feeney had stared at him. “Wow. I didn’t know you were related to him. He’s your brother, huh? Well, there’s your answer, kid. Nobody better to teach you the art of killing than a professional killer like Tom Imura.” Feeney paused and licked his lips nervously. “I guess being his brother and all, you’ve seen him take down a lot of zoms.”

“No,” Benny said with huge annoyance. “He never lets me watch.”

“Really? That’s odd. Well, ask him when you turn thirteen.”

Benny had asked on his thirteenth birthday, and Tom had said no. Again. It wasn’t a discussion. Just “No.”

That was more than two years ago, and now Benny was six weeks past his fifteenth birthday. He had four more weeks grace to find a paying job before town ordinance cut his rations by half. Benny hated being in that position, and if one more person gave him the “fifteen and free” speech, he was going to scream. He hated that as much as when people saw someone doing hard work and they said crap like, “Holy smokes, he’s going at that like he’s fifteen and out of food.”

Like it was something to be happy about. Something to be proud of. Working your butt off for the rest of your life. Benny didn’t see where the fun was in that. Okay, maybe it was marginally okay because it meant only half days of school from then on, but it still sucked.

His buddy Lou Chong said it was a sign of the growing cultural oppression that was driving postapocalyptic humanity toward acceptance of a new slave state. Benny had no freaking idea what Chong meant or if there was even meaning in anything he said. But he nodded agreement because the look on Chong’s face always made it seem like he knew exactly what was what.

At home, before he even finished eating his dessert, Tom had said, “If I want to talk about you joining the family business, are you going to chew my head off? Again?”

Benny stared venomous death at Tom and said, very clearly and distinctly, “I. Don’t. Want. To. Work. In. The. Family. Business.”

“I’ll take that as a ‘no,’ then.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little late now to try and get me all excited about it? I asked you a zillion times to—”

“You asked me to take you out on kills.”

“Right! And every time I did you—”

Tom cut him off. “There’s a lot more to what I do, Benny.”

“Yeah, there probably is, and maybe I would have thought the rest was something I could deal with, but you never let me see the cool stuff.”

“There’s nothing ‘cool’ about killing,” Tom said sharply.

“There is when you’re talking about killing zoms!” Benny fired back.

That stalled the conversation. Tom stalked out of the room and banged around the kitchen for a while, and Benny threw himself down on the couch.

Tom and Benny never talked about zombies. They had every reason to, but they never did. Benny couldn’t understand it. He hated zoms. Everyone hated them, though with Benny it was a white-hot consuming hatred that went back to his very first memory. Because it was his first memory—a nightmare image that was there every night when he closed his eyes. It was an image that was seared into him, even though it was something he had seen as a tiny child.

Dad and Mom.

Mom screaming, running toward Tom, shoving a squirming Benny—all of eighteen months—into Tom’s arms. Screaming and screaming. Telling him to run.

While the thing that had been Dad pushed its way through the bedroom door that Mom had tried to block with a chair and lamps and anything else she could find.

Benny remembered Mom screaming words, but the memory was so old and he had been so young that he didn’t remember what any of them were. Maybe there were no words. Maybe it was just her screaming.

Benny remembered the wet heat on his face as Tom’s tears fell on him as they climbed out of the bedroom window. They had lived in a ranch-style house. One story. The window emptied out into a yard that was pulsing with red and blue police lights. There were more shouts and screams. The neighbors. The cops. Maybe the army. Thinking back, Benny figured it was probably the army. And the constant popping of gunfire, near and far away.

But of all of it, Benny remembered a single last image. As Tom clutched him to his chest, Benny looked over his brother’s shoulder at the bedroom window. Mom leaned out of the window, screaming at them as Dad’s pale hands reached out of the shadows of the room and dragged her back out of sight.

That was Benny’s oldest memory. If there had been older memories, then that image had burned them away. Because he had been so young the whole thing was little more than a collage of pictures and noises, but over the years Benny had burned his brain to reclaim each fragment, to assign meaning and sense to every scrap of what he could recall. Benny remembered the hammering sound vibrating against his chest that was Tom’s panicked heartbeat, and the long wail that was his own inarticulate cry for his mom and his dad.

He hated Tom for running away. He hated that Tom hadn’t stayed and helped Mom. He hated what their dad had become on that First Night all those years ago. Just as he hated what Dad had turned Mom into.

In his mind they were no longer Mom and Dad. They were the things that had killed them. Zoms. And he hated them with an intensity that made the sun feel cold and small.

“Dude, what is it with you and zoms?” Chong once asked him. “You act like the zoms have a personal grudge against you.”

“What, I’m supposed to have fuzzy bunny feelings for them?” Benny had snapped back.

“No,” Chong had conceded, “but a little perspective would be nice. I mean … everybody hates zoms.”

“You don’t.”

Chong had shrugged his bony shoulders and his dark eyes had darted away. “Everybody hates zoms.”

The way Benny saw it, when your first memory was of zombies killing your parents, then you had a license to hate them as much as you wanted. He tried to explain that to Chong, but his friend wouldn’t be drawn back into the conversation.

A few years ago, when Benny found out that Tom was a zombie hunter, he hadn’t been proud of his brother. As far as he was concerned, if Tom really had what it took to be a zombie hunter, he’d have had the guts to help Mom. Instead, Tom had run away and left Mom to die. To become one of them.

Tom came back into the living room, looked at the remains of the dessert on the table, then looked at Benny on the couch.

“The offer still stands,” he said. “If you want to do what I do, then I’ll take you on as an apprentice. I’ll sign the papers so you can still get full rations.”

Benny gave him a long, withering stare.

“I’d rather be eaten by zoms than have you as my boss,” Benny said.

Tom sighed, turned, and trudged upstairs. After that they didn’t talk to each other for days.

© 2010 Jonathan Maberry

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for

Rot & Ruin
By Jonathan Maberry


Discussion Questions

1. Consider what Tom says: “There’s the town and then there’s the Rot and Ruin. Most of the time they aren’t in the same world, you know?” Are there any divides you notice in your daily life where two things exist in “different worlds”?

2. On Benny’s first venture out into the Rot and Ruin, they encounter the “Children.” Tom later says, “I think a lot of the Children are people who didn’t survive the Fall. Oh, sure, their bodies did, but I think some fundamental part of them was broken by what happened. I was there, I can relate.” In what ways are they broken? Why do you think they choose to live as they do?

3. In what ways does the absence of electricity impact life in the new world? Are these changes all practical, or are some of the changes emotional, as well?

4. Secrecy, mystery and ignorance all play important roles in this story. In what ways do these themes impact the choices of the characters and also affect their emotions throughout the book? Are there differences between the three words? When in the book does each come into play?

5. What are the differences in the attitudes and outlooks of the characters who survived and remember First Night, and those who did not live in the old world and are unable to remember it?

6. Various forms of entertainment and gambling are mentioned in the book: from the zombie cards to Gameland. How does your opinion of these activities change over the course of the book? What do you take to be the author’s commentary on entertainment in the new world?

7. Consider what Tom tells Benny: “We let fear rule us and guide us, and that’s never the way to win. Never.” Describe a moment when Benny faces fear in the book. What happened? Why? How might it have been different if he did/didn’t let fear take over in that moment?

8. Benny tells Tom that Nix has “collected everything she can about zoms” in her diary. Make a list that describes all the characteristics about zombies in the book. How are they different from how you imagined zombies to be before reading the book? How are they different from living humans? Why do you think the author choose to characterize and differentiate zombies in these ways?

9. Benny is “sad and disgusted” when he realizes that people “pretend that there was no wasteland of zombies outside.” Why is it problematic to pretend that there is no Rot and Ruin?

10. Does Gameland remind you of anything in today’s world? Do you think it might have been based on something from the real world’s past? Why or why not?

11. In what ways does Nix help Benny throughout his journey? In what ways does she pose obstacles to him? How does Benny’s view of her evolve throughout the book? How do his feelings toward her affect him?

12. Lilah says that “knowledge is power.” In what ways do you think that holds true—or doesn’t—in the new world of the novel?

13. Toward the end of the book, Lilah, Nix, and Benny have a short debate about which area is safer—the town or the Rot and Ruin. How did your perception of each area change throughout the book? Can you definitively say which one is safer? Why or why not?

14. Did the book change your opinion of the word “evil”? How would you have defined it before reading and how would you after? Can you point to specific actions or moments in the book that you would characterize as evil?

15. Friendship and family play important thematic roles in the story, including the relationship between Benny and Tom, as well as that of Benny, Lilah, and Nix, as well as in the memories of kin turned into zombies. How do the roles of family and friends affect the actions of characters throughout the book? How do various connections change between characters? What did the book teach you about the meaning of both family and friends?


This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

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Rot & Ruin 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 262 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I get a little annoyed when people review a book and give almost the entire story line up in their eight LONG paragraghs of information. Okay, with that being said, Jonathan Mayberry's first YA novel is very impressive. I was already a fan before this book and I've gotta say that this is not just a "zombie" book. The character development is phenomenal. There's good guys and bad guys, LOTS of zombies and action, and the main character's stages of emotional maturity and understanding. I definitely recommend this book AND the series. HAPPY READER
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Benny just turned fifteen. In his world, that means he must find a job in order to continue receiving his rations. The problem is, Benny can't find a job he likes. He and his best friend, Chong, waited too long to get one and all the easy jobs are gone. What's left isn't very appealing. He's tried being a locksmith, a fence tester, a fence technician, a carpet coat salesman, a pit thrower, a crank generator repairman, a spotter, a bottler, and an erosion artist. It seems like the only option left is to join the family business. Benny's brother, Tom, is one of the most respected and successful zombie killers. The problem is, Benny doesn't know why people think Tom's that great. He's never seen Tom do anything especially exciting or impressive - in fact, he's actually turned away from violence, which makes Benny think Tom's a coward. Tom is nothing like the totally cool Zombie Killers like Charlie Pink-Eye and Motor City Hammer. Benny has never intended to do what Tom does. He's always said no every time Tom asked him to become his apprentice. But, his lack of success in any other job has left him no choice. Benny learns a lot while out in the Rot & Ruin with Tom. He learns about his own past, what it is that Tom really does, and what separates man from monster. Benny's outlook on life completely changes as he begins to realize there might be more to life than just his small town of Mountainside. ROT & RUIN is a perfect choice for readers who enjoyed THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. Both books take place in a small town of survivors surrounded by fences that keep the zombies out. ROT & RUIN is set in a time when people still remember what happened when the zombies started rising, so the reader gets some first-hand accounts of First Night (the night the world changed). ROT & RUIN also gives us some of the blood and gore that we sometimes want in a zombie novel. Jonathan Maberry did an excellent job developing the characters and creating an interesting setting. The reader can get lost in Benny's world. ROT & RUIN gets the Gold Star Award because I couldn't put it down. In fact, I stayed up until 3:30 A.M. one night to finish. This story caused me to cringe, gasp, chuckle, and cry. Absolutely amazing!
iHEARTjace More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up at thinking it was going to be a scary zombie book but it wound up being much more. It was the coming of age story about a teenage boy growing up in a post-apocalyptic world. I couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book in my town's public library. I was going to stop reading it, but after I passed chapter five, I was completly entranced by this novel. I ended up reading this book until the wee hours of the night following the adventure of the Imura family. I highly reccomend this to anyone.
epicrat More than 1 year ago
OMZ, Jonathan Maberry, you have truly outdone yourself - and while I wasn't in love with Patient Zero last year, I am tempted to camp out on your doorstep and beg you for more tales of the Imura brothers, the Lost Girl, and ye olde world of Rot & Ruin. I cannot believe I did not pick it up until now! This book is a MUST-READ. It reminds me of THE FIRST DAYS with a little touch of ZOMBIELAND and dash of The Forest Of Hands And Teeth. It was almost like Jonathan Maberry threw all the best things zombie and cooked up such a rich and brainy story to sink our teeth into. Delicious! f(0_o)f THE GOOD BITS {A dynamic love-hate relationship between brothers who lost their parents on the First Night.} Rot & Ruin chronicles the post-zombocalyptic world through Benny Imura's eyes as he reaches the age of "adulthood" (15). He blames his older brother for leaving their parents to die, and he has a blind hatred for zombies. When Benny is forced to shadow Tom to learn what happens in the Ruin, he has to face the possibility that all that he has been taught and heard may not be true - or humane. {Tom Imura.} I wish there had been a little more about him because his story would definitely be phenomenal. He is a zombie samurai who has a lot of honor and heart. As an older sibling myself, I could relate to Tom and all his burdens/responsibilities. Not to mention living with a brother who makes no effort to hide his disdain for your very existence. {Parts 3 and 4.} Holy fried brainz on a stick! LOVE LOVE LOVE. Action-packed, horror-filled, tear-jerked, surprise-ended, zombie-loaded :D Well worth the journey! THE BAD BITS {Misleading Zombie Trading Cards.} I don't know if the paperback version will have the awesome Zombie Trading Cards illustrations on the inside front and back cover, but I was looking forward to an encounter with "The Bride Of Coldwater Spring." She sounded delightful - and by delightful, I mean downright frightful! However, because of the cards, I had prepared myself for a completely different zombie story. Like Benny, I had imagined the glory days of zombie bounty hunters - taking down zombies like nobody's business! On the flipside, I am more than satisfied with the actual Rot & Ruin story! {The deaths of certain characters} ...whom I shall not name here, but dearly wished that they had not gone the zombie way. However, I think that this also drove home what Jonathon Maberry wanted to get across. Yes, we all love our zombies getting blown to smithereens, but have we gone a little kill-kill-kill-crazy? Let's stop and remember that zombies had family who might still be human. {The book ended.} Granted, I thought the ending was the most beautifully-crafted piece of work, but I was seriously distraught that the story ended there. So many questions, so many ties left undone, and so much more revolutionary changes to make! Thank goodness that DUST & DECAY has already come out because I don't think I can wait much longer to find out what happens next! THE OVERALL Absolutely a stunning piece of storytelling that shines a whole new light on zombies! I loved the way that Jonathan Maberry envisioned them and how that idea served as a way to bring brothers together after a tragedy that seems hard to forget and forgive. This would make an excellent movie with all the right sort of tension, excitement, romance, and humor! For a title like Rot & Ruin , this book has built such a strong, flavorful world
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read quite a few zombie books, but this one really stands out. It has in depth characters, and an amazing plot. I would recomend this series to all teenagers who liked the Hunger Games. This book played with my emotions, making me incredibly sad, and then happy as can be. When you read it you will know which parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It made me cry laugh and almost pee my pants at the same time!
MamaMouse More than 1 year ago
I listened to this as an audiobook, narrated by Brian Hutchison. This story follows teenager, Benny Imura, who has lost both of his parents to the zombie infection. The story starts out with Benny's teenaged boy attitude and his need to find a job. He doesn't like his older brother, has no respect for him, and doesn't really understand what his brother does. He searches out all of the other jobs available and finally decides he has to go out with his brother into the place referred to as the 'Rot and Ruin' and learn the family trade. Outside the walls of their city, zombies walk around in the Rot and Ruin and will go after anything that moves, makes loud noises, or smells good to eat. There are also some other people out there and they can be just as dangerous as the zombies. Benny starts getting real lessons in what his new zombie-infested world is all about. I really enjoyed this story. I had some reservations when it started off and I got to know Benny a little, but once the story took off, I was hooked. These aren't your typical zombies and this isn't your typical zombie story. The world created by Jonathan Maberry was very well done and I was left wanting more! Although this was the first book in a series, I was not left hanging with a giant cliff hanger. I was left with the feeling that I had just heard a really good story and wanted more. I will definitely be looking for the next book in the series, Dust and Decay! The Narration Review Brian Hutchison has a nice, clear story telling voice that is very easy to listen to. Although he didn't have a whole cast of character voices in his pocket, I could easily differentiate between people when they were speaking in dialog.
NIKE81 More than 1 year ago
i loved this book it was a very heart warming book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Over all the story was amazing and i loved it...but after awhile i kind seemed like benny and nix's love was forced into the plot
NicolasHabib More than 1 year ago
WOW! This is Maberry's first young adult novel and it was EPIC! He told a story in such a way that left you craving for more zombie action!  The story is full of twists and turns and everything is shocking and its really satisfying. So much awesomeness is thrown at your face from the very beginning. Every character is interesting! Especially Tom Imura and its so cool how he is like secretly a complete monster of  awesomeness. I loved seeing the characters growing like Benny and Nix. The story just has everything. In one point, I teared up. You  connect with the stories characters and start growing feelings for them. For instance, I hate Charlie. SOOOO MUCH! Read the book to understand why but I recommend this book to everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book was a really good and different view of a zombie apocolypse. It was Awesome! Gives another view of going through a world epidemic in a way i can almost relate to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now im not typically a zombie book fan but just looking at the cover and the title got me curious so i read it. It was fantastic! The one thing I really loved about this book was that everybody has already been living in a zombie infested world for what i believe to be 15 years. I also love how the author wants everyone to see the zombies not as flesh eating monsters but as the living dead, people who used to eat, sleep, laugh and play just like everyone else.
Grrgoesman More than 1 year ago
The story starts with Benny Imura, a 15 year old boy looking for a job to get his monthly rations in the small town of Mountainside. The town is surrounded by a giant wall to keep out the zombies. He goes from job to job and does not seem to find exactly what he wants. As a last minute decision he becomes an apprentice for his brother Tom Imura, who is a Zombie Hunter. He is a respected Zombie Hunter and Benny does not know why. Benny thinks his brother is a coward because his brother actually turns away from violence. Tom takes Benny out to the Rot and Ruin, which is the where the zombies free roam, and teaches him exactly what he does. Benny then learns about more about his brother and the world outside the walls. With some crazy twists and turns the story unfolds into a mesmerizing tale that that ends with a bang.
RobfromBethlehem More than 1 year ago
The book begins some years after 'first-night' where all the dead 'turned' into zombies. The town of Mountainside is fenced in which keep 'the walkers' outside of the town. The fence runs for hundreds of miles and encircles the town. What remains outside of town is known as 'the great Rot & Ruin' ("that stretched from California, all the way to the Atlantic"). This vast expanse of zombie wilderness is guarded and what I gathered from the book is that only bounty hunters are allowed in. The town-folk would rather go about their normal existence (sans zombies) then venture in the Rot & Ruin. They'd soon enough forget there was a 'first night' then fight zombies (who wouldn't?). The bounter hunters either live in the rot & ruin or go into the rot & ruin on a daily basis to take care of business. Family members sometimes hire the bounty hunters to track down their loved ones and to finally have 'closure'. An incident that happens about 3/4 the way through sets up the next adventure (book). The book kind of reminded me of 'lord of the rings' in the sense that there was a quest (can't give it away) and a journey. After finishing the book you kind of wanted Benny & his friends to continue on ... which they will (in DUST & DECAY) Any good book will leave you wanting more* and that's what Jonathan Maberry has done with mostly all his books. I can't think of a recent author who has made me feel like wanting to read the next book like Maberry does. I can only imagine what it was like when JRR Tolkien put out 'fellowship of the ring'. There must have been much anticipation for the next one to come out (4 months later), and the third book (almost a year later). I have to say I had no idea exactly what the book was about, except zombies, but it turned out to be a wonderfully written book with purpose, adventure, action & a great conclusion (to this book). The main characters are Benny, Nix, and Tom... and a colorful assortment of bounty hunters (mainly Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer). Charlie Pink eye is described as "six-foot, six inch albino with one blue eye and one pink one that was milky and blind" - the Motor City Hammer is described as "he was bulldog ugly and had pistol butts sticking out of every pocket..." There are many books, movies, video games on zombies but Maberry brings it to a new exciting level. The story flows as if Maberry was there writing it down as it happened (just what makes a great novel). He makes you believe that something like this could happen or that a place like 'the great Rot & Ruin' really exists (I would hope not). I don't know why but I liked that there was hardly any talk of government involvement and the book didn't go into great detail to explain why things happened. The book was more focused on the adventure , Tom, Benny and his friends. Since it is categorized as young-adult fiction there is just good ole' zombie killing*. I would even read this to my 7 year old .. he'd think it was cool. So, whether you are a young adult or an old adult (like myself) you will enjoy it just the same. You will not be disappointed. And for those of you who aren't really into the zombie thing ... You have to pick up this book, there really is nothing to be scared of... just grab your katana and sprinkle on some Cadaverine ... you will make it out alive! *Since ROT & RUIN is 'young-adult' fiction the violence is toned down a
Anonymous 5 months ago
love+it
jakehlyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a post-apocalyptic scenario lover, Rot and Ruin was right up my alley! Mayberry manages to write a character driven zombie book that eloquently weaves action and gore in to a thought provoking coming of age novel. Two thumbs up!
Jennanana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Listened to the audiobook; narrator did a great job. Fifteen years after a zombie apocalypse, few have survived and are trying to fix the sad state of the world. Zombies still thrive in the "rot and ruin" or the area outside of the safe confines of the survivors' camp. Benny learns to be a zombie bounty hunter from his older brother. After an attack on their camp, Benny's best friend is kidnapped and taken to Gameland where kids are pitted against zombies for entertainment. Benny sets out on an adventure with his brother to rescue his friend and on the way comes to understand more and more about what happened fifteen years ago. Not a typical zombie story, gives an interesting spin on the nature of zombies. Set long after the zombie apocalypse when people are starting to rebuild.
deb_bryan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's been fourteen years since the First Night, when zombies overran the world. Benny Imura, who was just a toddler during First Night, has grown up separated from the zombies ("zoms") in the protected community of Mountainside. This book recounts Benny's first experiences in the "rot and ruin" that surround communities like Mountainside.I whipped through this book in no time, which is fairly uncommon now that I've got a little one underfoot. Occasionally the book got a little preachy, or busted out one too many "Do you understand?" queries in the context of also abundant Significant Lessons. Still, my minor qualms with phrasing and preachiness were fairly insignificant compared to my curiosity to see where this book--with its somewhat unorthodox approach to zombies--would lead. I'm glad the books I wanted to check out weren't in at the library. This book was ultimately both an entertaining and thought-provoking read.
theepicrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
OMZ, Jonathan Maberry, you have truly outdone yourself ¿ and while I wasn¿t in love with Patient Zero last year, I am tempted to camp out on your doorstep and beg you for more tales of the Imura brothers, the Lost Girl, and ye olde world of Rot & Ruin. I cannot believe I did not pick it up until now! This book is a MUST-READ. It reminds me of THE FIRST DAYS with a little touch of ZOMBIELAND and dash of The Forest Of Hands And Teeth. It was almost like Jonathan Maberry threw all the best things zombie and cooked up such a rich and brainy story to sink our teeth into. Delicious! f(0_o)fTHE GOOD BITS{A dynamic love-hate relationship between brothers who lost their parents on the First Night.} Rot & Ruin chronicles the post-zombocalyptic world through Benny Imura¿s eyes as he reaches the age of ¿adulthood¿ (15). He blames his older brother for leaving their parents to die, and he has a blind hatred for zombies. When Benny is forced to shadow Tom to learn what happens in the Ruin, he has to face the possibility that all that he has been taught and heard may not be true ¿ or humane.{Tom Imura.} I wish there had been a little more about him because his story would definitely be phenomenal. He is a zombie samurai who has a lot of honor and heart. As an older sibling myself, I could relate to Tom and all his burdens/responsibilities. Not to mention living with a brother who makes no effort to hide his disdain for your very existence.{Parts 3 and 4.} Holy fried brainz on a stick! LOVE LOVE LOVE. Action-packed, horror-filled, tear-jerked, surprise-ended, zombie-loaded :D Well worth the journey!THE BAD BITS{Misleading Zombie Trading Cards.} I don¿t know if the paperback version will have the awesome Zombie Trading Cards illustrations on the inside front and back cover, but I was looking forward to an encounter with ¿The Bride Of Coldwater Spring.¿ She sounded delightful ¿ and by delightful, I mean downright frightful! However, because of the cards, I had prepared myself for a completely different zombie story. Like Benny, I had imagined the glory days of zombie bounty hunters ¿ taking down zombies like nobody¿s business! On the flipside, I am more than satisfied with the actual Rot & Ruin story!{The deaths of certain characters} ...whom I shall not name here, but dearly wished that they had not gone the zombie way. However, I think that this also drove home what Jonathon Maberry wanted to get across. Yes, we all love our zombies getting blown to smithereens, but have we gone a little kill-kill-kill-crazy? Let¿s stop and remember that zombies had family who might still be human.{The book ended.} Granted, I thought the ending was the most beautifully-crafted piece of work, but I was seriously distraught that the story ended there. So many questions, so many ties left undone, and so much more revolutionary changes to make! Thank goodness that DUST & DECAY has already come out because I don¿t think I can wait much longer to find out what happens next!THE OVERALLAbsolutely a stunning piece of storytelling that shines a whole new light on zombies! I loved the way that Jonathan Maberry envisioned them and how that idea served as a way to bring brothers together after a tragedy that seems hard to forget and forgive. This would make an excellent movie with all the right sort of tension, excitement, romance, and humor! For a title like Rot & Ruin , this book has built such a strong, flavorful world where the sky is the limit.
CatheOlson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When 15-year-old Benny needs to find a job or lose his food rations, he ends up apprenticing for his older brother Tom as a zombie killer. He finds that out in the zombie-infested world of the "rot and ruin"--there there are living men who are much more evil than zombies. I loved this teen novel where the zombies are not the actually the bad guys. The book is excellently written, very suspenseful with just a touch of romance--but be warned, this is not for the faint of heart; there are many scenes that will make you cringe. What I like most about the book though is the message of looking beyond the surface--things are not always as black or white or as good or evil as they appear.
apatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Normally I aspire to something more "high brow" than zombie novels, but now and then a bit of zombie mayhem does hit the spot for me. Rot & Ruin is a YA zombie apocalypse novel, I can't help but feel that "YA zombie apocalypse" sounds like an oxymoron, as the author has to be a bit more restrained with the mayhem. Also, YA necessitates that the main protagonist has to be a teenager, the very sort of character I can't stand in most works of fiction. Kids whine a lot, they can't help it, they just do. I whined when I was a kid. Unfortunately this makes Benny the teen protagonist almost unbearable for me. On the plus side the Author Jonathan Maberry is a skilled horror writer and he has built a good, believable post apocalyptic world here, some of the supporting characters are actually quite likable ("The Lost Girl". Nix and Tommy are good non-whining characters). In conclusion this is a pretty good and readable book for me but I don't think will pick up the sequel "Dust & Decay" because I personally don't want to spend any more time with "Benny".
nlsobon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Rot & Ruin¿ is a book I stumbled upon while browsing at my local Borders (before they closed, unfortunately). I hadn¿t heard much about it at that point, but I¿m a sucker for zombies so I decided to give it a shot. I¿ve had the book sitting on my bookshelf for a few months now. As much as I wanted to read it, I just never seemed to have the time. So when I received ¿Dust & Decay¿, the second book in the series, from Galley Grab, I decided I needed to make time¿and oh do I wish it had been sooner. Now, much like ¿Warm Bodies¿, this is a zombie story with heart¿and much like ¿Warm Bodies¿, I absolutely loved this book.¿Rot & Ruin¿ is about two brothers, Tommy Imura, a well known bounty hunter, and Benny Imura, his younger brother (a bounty hunter in training). Benny is convinced Tommy is a coward for leaving behind their mother on First Night. It isn¿t until his brother gives him a job that he begins to understand him and even respect him. What¿s great about this relationship is that its realistic and it actually grows, it isn¿t rushed ¿ it develops at a great pace.Tommy is a well known bounty hunter, but he¿s different from the other bounty hunters. He isn¿t out to just kill zombies, he¿s out to provide closure for families and relatives. He¿s very different than Charlie and The Motor City Hammer, two men Benny thinks are `cool¿. At first you don¿t see why the men are bad, but as the story goes on and you learn what they do to children, to the zombies, and to people in general ¿ you begin to understand just how horrible they are. But it¿s their actions that force the relationship between Benny and Tommy to strengthen.¿Rot & Ruin¿ is a book about zombies, yes, but it isn¿t only about zombies. It¿s about society, about people, about the world around us. It¿ll make you cry. It¿ll make you laugh. It¿ll make you think. And most importantly, it¿ll leave you wanting more.I have nothing but praise for ¿Rot & Ruin¿ and the author, Jonathan Maberry. I can¿t wait to start ¿Dust & Decay¿ (I will make sure to speed through my `¿to read¿ pile so that I can get to it faster).From YABookHaven.wordpress.com
titania86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The First Night occurred 14 years ago, the day when the dead rose. Benny Imura was only a baby that night and only has fuzzy memories of being handed to his older half brother, Tom, and Tom running away, leaving his mother to die. This image is burned into his mind and he sees his brother as a coward. Now, society isn¿t as it used to be. Instead of large sprawling cities, civilization is reduced to small, sparse settlements. Benny is 15, which, in the society left in the wake of the dead, means that he has to get a job or lose half of his food rations. He goes job hunting with a friend, but doesn¿t have any luck due to being overly picky and generally lazy. His only option left is becoming an apprentice to Tom in his bounty hunting business. Benny figures this job will entail going out into the Rot and Ruin to slice and dice zombies, but the experiences beyond the boundaries of civilization will serve to not only change his view of his brother, but of life and undeath.Jonathan Maberry is an accomplished zombie novelist (as in he writes awesome zombie novels and isn¿t really a zombie). His writing style and skilled story telling translate well into a young adult book. Benny is a completely believable character who has the misfortune to grow up in a zombie-ridden world. Now, the society he lives in expects him to grow up and become self sufficient, which he resisted at every turn. I found him very annoying at this point. He is completely ashamed of his big brother and refuses to try to get to know him. The first half of the book consists of him whining, complaining, and running away from responsibility until he has no other option. After his brother takes him into the Rot and Ruin (which is the uninhabited ruin of the past that surrounds their small settlement), everything changes. Benny sees things he can never forget. He questions the other bounty hunters¿ ethics when he sees them torture zombies and doesn¿t see them as the epitome of cool anymore. Tom reminds him that zombies were once people and just because their corpses are walking around doesn¿t make it ok to mutilate their bodies for amusement. He only kills them when it¿s truly needed or he gets a request from a loved one. Only Maberry can make it absolutely heartbreaking to kill a zombie. Benny really grows as a person and makes decisions about his own morals and ethics as we all do when we grow up.The world in the novel is both smaller and larger than it seems in real life. It¿s smaller because technology and electricity are irrationally shunned and blamed for the zombie apocalypse. Their pockets of society stay small and can¿t easily connect with other cities let alone other states or continents. It¿s bigger because now that society is more compact, the wide open spaces are almost like the US before it was ever settled: full of possibility yet dangerous and wild. I have never seen a world quite like this one and the next book, Dust and Decay, should expand the view of it.Rot and Ruin is an exceptional zombie book. Jonathan Maberry manages to capture the familiar coming of age experience to and transports it into a strange, post-apocalyptic, zombie ridden world. I would recommend it to any zombie fan.
SarahCCL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Was expecting your typical zombie apocalypse thing - but what I got was a story about two brothers, that just happened to be set in a zombie apocalypse. Focussed on the coming of age of the younger brother and his changing opinions of his older brother in light of what he learns. Reminded me a lot of Cornelia Funke's Reckless. Really enjoyed it.