Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

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.

Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ 

Rot & Ruin is the first in a quartet of books by Jonathan Maberry which is actually a spinoff YA series to his adult Dead of Night duology which actually explains how the zombies in the YA series got their start. The adult books were fairly good read, so I won’t ruin anyone’s reading pleasure by giving any spoilers away, just going with the book synopsis provides, the zombie apocalypse is the result of man-made creation and what were questionable good intentions and we know the saying about good intentions.

The main character of this series is Benny Imura, who has a brief cameo in the original books as little boy escaping with his big brother. Benny is now a teenager who’s main memories of the now and living in the world after the zombies took over. The night the apocalypse occurred has been dubbed First Night and the world has changed, but not so much. Religious freaks are blaming zombies as a punishment for being too dependent on technology, which is stupid as hell, but what do you speak from religious fanatics. Mankind is a farming/scavenger society that is too scared, or at least the unwise and oldies, to try and take back the world even though they all know the zombie rules that would be rather helpful to know when the world was going down in flames.

Benny begins off the book as being a boy with a grudge against his brother because he mis-remembers the past (in his defense he was like 1-2ish) and really doesn’t understand the world around me. By the end he’s still not a grown-up, but no longer a child, but a young man coming into himself and really getting the world he’s lived in. He’s learned what is right and wrong and to take a stand against evil; that fear is just as bad as enemy as a hungry shambling zombie or an evil man who takes advantage of the dystopian world to do things that our world would find unforgivable. Overall, a fairly good read. I’m not sure if I’ll take the time to review the rest of the series. I may just skip reviewing books two and three and just giving an opinion of the final book and the series as whole. We’ll see.

In any case, if you decide to give these books a try, I really strongly the duology first to understand how the world has gotten to where it’s at in this series.


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