Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I had been wanting to read this book for a long time. The whole zombie book trend has really hooked me I think. And this book did not disappoint. In fact, you'll notice I gave it 5 stars, and lately, even books that have been really good have only gotten a 4 from me. But I felt this was really different, had something new. Not sure exactly what I'd say was "new", but I did really enjoy this.
I didn't start out with the description of the book thinking that it would be this good though. This is a boy main character, and in this future world, when you reach a certain age, you must get a job or you don't get as many rations. In a way, the ration part, reminds me a bit of The Dead-Tossed Waves. Because one of the characters in that lost his sister because he was looking to get her money to live on by joining an army. And it was a zombie book. But going on, Rot & Ruin started out with the main character hitting the age and going to look for a job. The different jobs that were available were pretty interesting. Looking at pictures of lost loved ones and trying to predict how they would now look as a zombie. Checking the fences around the town to make sure they were strong enough to keep the zombies out. Working in a factory to squeeze the "juice" out of the dead zombies to make "cadaverine", a scent used for those who went out to hunt the zombies. Staying in the lookout towers to keep an eye on the zombies, the job his friend Chong gets. And finally, the job his brother has, zombie hunter. After either not being qualified for some of the jobs, or not wanting the others, Benny ends up working with his brother Tom.
Benny does not respect his brother. His first memory is of his mother handing him to his brother, and telling him to run as his father was attacking them as a zombie. And Benny cannot believe his brother left his mother to die. So now Benny cannot believe the big tough reputation his brother has as a zombie killer.
I thought this would be just a book about a boy learning how to hunt zombies and coming to respect his brother through that. But it was more. Learning to realize that the zombies weren't evil, they were just a disease that had taken over the bodies. The main story being that just normal people were really the ones that could be evil. The family stories, the "First Night" stories, I just felt all of it was really good. I can't wait to read the 2nd book in the series. Of course it will have to wait till I finish reading the books for Gateway nominee list, but it will be probably in December.
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