Review: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Praise for Rot & Ruin:

“An action-packed, thought-provoking look at life–and death–as readers determine the true enemy.”– Kirkus Reviews

“An impressive mix of meaning and mayhem.”– Booklist


It’s no secret that I love YA dystopian novels, and the zombie infested, post-apocalyptic world of Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry didn’t disappoint.  The book gained attention after being selected for the ALA Best Books for Young Adults and the winning the 2010 Cybils (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards) in the Fantasy and Science Fiction category. Although Rot & Ruin is my first zombie read ever, it won’t be my last! The Forest of Hands and Teeth has been on my ‘to-read’ list forever, and thanks to my new interest in zombies, I will be bumping up the title closer to the top.

So what’s it about you ask?

After the First night (the night the world changed), Benny Imura has grown up in a zombie-infested town with his older brother Tom.  To avoid a ration cut, Benny is forced to find a job.  Among other jobs, he tries his hand as a lock smith, fence tester, and carpet coat salesman. Ultimately, he ends up apprenticing as a zombie hunter with his brother. After Tom brings him into the ‘rot & ruin’, he begins to understand that zombies were once human and this realization ultimately changes the way he views zombies and his brother.

The good and bad:

– Enjoyed the book’s visual appeal. The front features a creepy eye-catching cover, and the inside includes zombie-cards (a strong feature of the story). There is even a ‘zombified’ author portrait by Rob Sachetto. This is neat because the character responsible for such portraits in the story is named after the real artist, Rob Sachetto. 

-Blood and gore. As a zombie novel, I was expecting some level of gore but I must admit that some of the descriptions made me a little queasy.  I’m hoping my gore tolerance will increase as I read more zombie type stories.

-I really liked the concept of Tom’s closure jobs.

-Preachy Tom. I get that he is supposed to be the smart, wise, older brother, but a little less preaching to Benny would have been appreciated.

-Tom +Benny’s relationship. I think that their relationship was pretty realistic. I can see why there is some hostility between the brothers in the beginning, but readers get to watch their relationship evolve for the better throughout the storyline.

-After reading Divergent where most of the storyline was based on training, I felt like Benny really didn’t receive much training at all. I’m not sure how he felt ready to even venture out into the rot & ruin. He truly lacked in depth-training from Tom that would have been interesting to read about.

-Changed mindset.  Like Benny, I view zombies differently now. I never thought it would be possible to have empathy for flesh eating zombies, but Maberry totally altered my perception of what it means to be a zombie.  Throughout the story, it is banged into your head that zombies were once humans.

-Zom/Tom. I was annoyed that the word Zom and Tom happened way too many times in the same paragraph.

-I’m still confused on why everyone turned to zombies when they died—even if it was by natural causes? Why? How did the zombies really ever come to be? There was very little explanation!

Despite all my negative comments, I still enjoyed Rot & Ruin. If you like zombie stories, I would suggest you pick up this book.  The book’s sequel is entitled, Dust & Decay and was released a couple of weeks ago. It promises bigger, better, gorier zombie attacks.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. sang
    Nov 18, 2011 @ 00:08:47

    This book was really good. I couldn”t put it down i had to finish it. 18 hours of reading was worth it. I want to get my hands on dust and decay really bad! what kinda genre is this book?


Leave a Reply to sang Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog Stats

  • 33,347 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 153 other followers


Check out my books on Goodreads:
%d bloggers like this: