Thursday, May 26, 2011

ROT AND RUIN by Jonathan Maberry

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

Ninja Girl


  1. The author is so fun... I am friends with him on facebook!


  2. It sounds really interesting, I'll have to look it up. Coincidentally, I thought I recognised the cover, it's the same pic (flipped and colour edited) used in John Ajvide Lindvist's Handling the undead which is also about zombies!Crazy


  3. Zombies, along with werewolves, is a topic I tend to avoid in books. I have no reason why, it just never seems like something I would be able to dive into. Since you feel much the same and really enjoyed this book I'm going to give it a go myself. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. This is on my list to read. I am hesitant about reading books from a boys point of view as well, but as a teacher/wannabe librarian, I feel that I need to so I can recommend for boys, and I've found some I've really enjoyed. And read Hunger Games, it's not as bad of an ending as some dystopian novels are, it's actually a great book! I've read it with a couple of my enrichment groups at school the past 2 years.

  5. I'm so glad some of you guys are going to give this book a try :) I really enjoyed it, so I can't recommend it strongly enough! I think part of it was that w/there being so many things I usually dislike I expected to hate it. But I loved it instead. A very nice surprise!

    @Lisa I gave in... I went out and bought the first book of the Hunger Games. Crossing fingers that I'll like it as much as everyone else seems to

  6. Following from the hop - and defo gonna get that book if its on kindle!! Shah from X

  7. I've been wanting to read this one for the longest time now! The way you first started out your review, I was worried you wouldn't like this one. Haha, I was thinking, "Uh-oh, I hope she liked this one because I would be upset if there were horrible flaws about it." Glad you enjoyed this one so much though! That must have been so interesting to go through that whole process with Benny. Awesome review!

    Oh, and would you recommend King Dork? I picked it up one day and started reading it, but I couldn't get into it. Think I should give it another try?

  8. Oh, do read _Hunger Games_, at least the first book. So good, so so good.