Review: Rot and Ruin by Johnathan Maberry

Goodreads: 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.

I picked Rot and Ruin up at Book Expo America back in May. I read it in August and feel absolutely in love with Maberry’s story telling. We follow Benny through his coming of age in a post apocalyptic setting filled with ‘Zoms’. Benny despises his older brother Tom who is not as cool as the other zombie hunters like Charlie. He is in Benny’s eyes weak, after all he left his parents and ran with Benny on First Night instead of saving the whole family.

Benny has it pretty good in his town, he is fed, he doesn’t have to see any zombies and although he wants to learn about killing the zoms and is quite bloodthirsty for some action his gym coach tells him to talk to Tom that killing is something you should learn at home. Being fifteen means Benny has to get a job or go to half rations and pretty much starve to death. We watch Benny and his friends as they work for a day at several of the available jobs. While his friends find placement Benny can’t find that perfect job so he takes Tom up on his offer of apprenticeship to zombie hunt.

With First Night being recent past history people hire the zombie hunters to put their infected family members to rest when they are past the point of grieving and want to do the right thing about them. Tom shows us that while it is easy to hate zombies that they were once regular people too.

Rot and Ruin has a great dystopic vibe. Technology and electricity and all our creature comforts are still there but survivors of First Night are too afraid to use them. They blame technology for the fall of society. The book also challenges social issues, is it okay to torture the zombies for fun?

If you are a fan of Carrie Ryan, George Romero or Mira Grant you will love Rot and Ruin. Jonathan Maberry is the author of Patient Zero as well.

FTC Disclosure: I picked this book up at BEA for free.

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