Title: Rot & Ruin
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Published by: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Summary: Benny Imura's world has always been inhabited by zombies. 14 years ago, First Night occurred. That was the day when the world ended and the zombies rose and took over. Benny's parents died on First Night and he was rescued by his older half-brother Tom. The world Benny lives in now is one controlled by fear. People live in small towns surrounded by fences to keep the zombies out. The only people who go outside the fences are bounty hunters and traders. At 15, each teen must find a job or lose half of their food rations. Benny has tried out for a majority of these jobs, but none of them seems to stick. Benny finally decides to apprentice with his brother Tom as a bounty hunter and that's when Benny's story really begins.
My Thoughts: I liked this book. It has a gorgeously creepy cover and detailed inside flaps that add a little extra bit of cool to the overall story. This is a book about zombies, but it's different than other zombie books I've read. In this world, people are much more dangerous than the ravenous undead.
The story started off slow and a little preachy. Benny was also not a strong character at the beginning of the novel. This story was all about stressing that zombies were once people too and should be treated accordingly. While the overall idea was noble, it didn't really work for me. A zombie is a monster and although it once was human, the humanity left when it rose. I just have a tough time feeling sorry for the zombie. I feel sorry for the human that it once was, but not for the monster it became.
I really enjoyed the world and the thought that was put into how this new world would work. Benny trying out for the jobs was interesting. I enjoyed seeing the kinds of jobs that were useful and necessary in this new world. The locksmith, erosion artists, factory workers making cadaverine, all were just really cool and creative. The no electricity thing seemed a little weird to me. How the townspeople equated electricity and technology as part of the cause for the apocalypse. It was also interesting to see the crippling power of fear in relation to the town and how they decided to hide behind their walls instead of taking back and fighting for their world.
Benny and Nix's relationship was confusing too. Are they together? Aren't they? Where does the Lost Girl fit into this puzzle?
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Benny as a character grew on me and Tom was pretty awesome from the start. The concept of humans being more dangerous than zombies was also interesting. This book, although full of action, makes one think. The sequel will be read soon so I can find out what happens to Benny, Nix, Tom, and Lilah next in the great Rot and Ruin.
BOOKCITEMENT LEVEL 4/5
Conclusion: Respect Humanity.