For me, this book had everything going against it from the get. Now I don't like to think of myself as a judgmental reader, but like anyone I have preconceptions. Things I've learned about my tastes in books, the things I like and the things I don't.
Here are a few in the Don't Like category:
1) Books written from the male POV. (King Dork was a notable exception. Almost made me pee myself--multiple times--from laughing so hard) I don't know why I tend to stay away from these books, but it's true.
2) Dystopian/post-apocalyptic/the-end-is-nigh novels. I know, I know, I hear the collective *GASP* from all the fans out there. It's really hot right now, but I must be missing something. I've heard a lot about the Hunger Games--one of my students actually strenuously recommended it to me--but I've yet to pick up the books. With the upcoming movie, I'm still debating whether I want to read them first or just go see the movie and not risk investing so much time in another depressing, evil wins, the good guys all die ending.
3) Zombies. What can I say, they kinda creep me out...
So why'd I read it then? Why buy the book (hardcover mind you) if it had so many of my turn offs?
Answer: This interview by the author Jonathan Maberry.
The way he spoke about his book, the tone he used, the emotional content, was so different from your typical male He-Man POV that I just had to take a look.
And I'm sooooo glad that I did J
I can't say it any better than Maberry did, but here's a short summary. Contrary to what you may think, Rot and Ruin is much more than another zombie book. It's the story of fifteen-year-old Benny Imura, an annoying, selfish kid whose recent birthday forces him to make a decision: Find a job or lose his meal ticket. Benny looks for the easy way out, but when that plan fails, he reluctantly turns to his last resort. His brother, Tom Imura, acclaimed zombie hunter, agrees to take him on as an apprentice and teach Benny the family business.
Benny can't wait to kill himself some zoms...but things change after his first visit to the Rot and Ruin. His world is turned upside down by what he sees there, and something shifts inside him. Hard truths and new life lessons push Benny headfirst over the cliff into adulthood, and the annoying, selfish kid vanishes. By the end of the novel, Benny Imura becomes something more, someone better, an MC with heart, smarts, and bravery to spare.
I have to admit that I did fall a little bit in love with this one. It's one of those books I won't forget. Maberry gave me a bratty teenage boy and turned him into someone I could really like and root for in the end. He gave me romance worthy of the best female authors I've read. He even managed to turn the zombies into the victims, a new outlook which I hadn't expected.
This book was tops. End of. If I was you, I'd go out and get it. Nothing left to say J