So many of the zombie books are about the actual event. This book starts in the ruins, some 15 years after the event. Benny Imura is the main character as well as his brother Tom. Benny has grown up in the post-zombie world where Zombies and Zombie Hunters (like his brother) are playing cards and the slice of humanity of that we can see is huddled behind the fences. Only a few people, like his brother, go outside the fence into the Rot and Ruin.
But Benny faces the coming of age rite that once you hit 15 you have to find a job. And Benny is finding that he is either ill-suited for most the jobs or he sees no future in some of them (slinging dead zombies into the burn pit all day long? I can see why). So as a last resort he turns to his brother Tom. As with a lot of siblings, there is tension, and Benny blames his brother for his parents passing away, thinking him a coward compared to the more boisterous zombie hunters. Everything starts going wrong after he discovers the the ultra-rare trading card, "The Lost Girl," which serves as the focal point for the rest of the book.
As to the rest? Read it and find out. Jonathan Maberry is a top-notch storyteller who spins excellent action sequences and keeps the story moving along. So come along and enjoy the ride.
ROT & RUIN by Jonathan Maberry was one of the audiobooks that I had been eye-balling for some time but for whatever reason always pushed it to the side. Big mistake-HUGE! From the moment I pushed play I was consumed by the story and the journey of the characters and their development along the way.
Benny Imura is an average 15 year old boy with average thoughts and angst but living in a time and situation that is anything but average. Benny goes to school, hangs out with friends, has typical boy-girl drama, and feels bitter toward his older brother, Tom, who he harbors resentment to and blames for his mother’s death when he was only two years old. Despite the fact that his brother has done an amazing job raising him, Benny’s memory (through the eyes of a two-year-old) of the night his parents died in the zombie apocalypse known as “first night”, won’t allow him to forgive his brother for running away and not helping his folks.
Although Benny has grown up in relative safety behind the fence of make-shift town with a population of approx 800, Zombies still walk outside the walls in what is known as the Rot and Ruin. It is because of the danger outside the town that people ages 15 and up, have to do their part and work in order to get a full ration of food. Hating the idea of working with his brother who is well respected in town as a zombie killer, Benny goes everywhere he can think of to apply for a job but has little luck. Getting a job is mandatory, so when all other doors close Benny swallows his pride and agrees to try working with Tom in the “family business”. From the very first moment Benny steps foot in the Rot & Ruin his life is altered and as he starts to question the things he once was so certain about, he begins the journey of finding out who he really is and becoming a man.
I enjoyed every minute of this story. The narrator did a great job of keeping the personalities varied and the story exciting. I have read reviews where some who have actually “read” the books found the first part slow and the second half un-put-downable, and all I can say is that listening to the audiobook, I didn’t experience that particular lull. The only thing I had an issue with (and it is minor) was in some of the repetitive dialogue between the characters. There were a couple times where things were brought up again or re-hashed that I personally feel could have been edited out of the story. All complaining aside, I enjoyed the book so much I immediately downloaded DUST & DECAY, the second book in the series.
ROT & RUIN is a zombie story that deals with some tough issues and at times disturbing descriptions, but at it’s very core it is a coming of age story with some remarkable and unforgettable characters. It was thrilling, heartbreaking, exciting and everything I had hoped it would be.
My favorite books are murder mysteries and serial killer detective stories. I also enjoy dark humor and sarcasm. Supernatuaral & Neil Gaiman
The relationship between the brothers was very realistic. And their teacher mentor dynamic.Also the realistic betrayal of the neighbors trapped in the state they fought so hard to prevent.
Patient Zero is some what similar in that the protagonist is very believable. The suspense in both novels begins right away peaking your interest in the explanation for these scary ,almost invincible foes.
Very clear narration. Lots of feeling in his telling of the story. Also distinct differences in characters.
It scared me! Read with the covers pulled up.
Mommy of twins
ROT & RUIN is a dystopian type zombie book that’s more about the good and evil of human nature than the living dead. Written in an engaging narrative with unforgettable good guys, monstrous bad guys and…oh yeah, zoms. The characters are well rounded and fleshed out cleanly. Maberry obviously has a gift for dialog. It’s easy to be charmed by 15 year old Benny Imura’s quick wit and stubborn teenage disposition; as well as his older brother Tom, with his calm demeanor and authentic goodness.
Beautifully written, ROT & RUIN (Benny Imura #1) is a book that anyone who enjoys a good story with lots of emotions, layers and adventure will enjoy, regardless of age or gender. This was my first taste of Jonathan Maberry’s work and I can honestly say I’m now a fan… and I’ve already started the next book DUST AND DECAY :)
I shied away from this book multiple times because I didn't think the idea of a 15 kid trying to avoid working in the family business sounded like a compelling zombie story.
I was wrong.
I finally gave in and listened.This story is just as much about zombies and the world after the dead rise, as it is about honor, bravery, evil, justice, love and family.
What a refreshing take on the genre. Not only do we get hordes of Ramero-style lumbering zombies, but we are also treated to a story about right and wrong and having the strength to overcome fear and the status quo.
Rot & Ruin didn't quite have me as soon as I started listening, but it had me pretty early on in the story. The work of the author and the narrator wove together to create a world in which it was quite believable that such things might be happening. That's not to say I didn't find faults with the book, I just don't think they impacted the overall experience enough to warrant mention.
Check it out for yourselves.
The fresh take on the struggle to survive in a world full of the undead.
ROT & RUIN: THE UNDEAD AREN'T THE ONLY MONSTERS OUT THERE.
Use your credit, and get this book.
Love the horror genre but read all kinds of stuff! I'm 40 something, a wife, mom and Project Manager for a large Construction Company.
I definitely like the audio versions better than the print versions because the narrators bring more emotion to the book and give more insight to the characters.
This is not a story line I have read before, it is original to me.
Emotion, clarity, understanding
Yes and I could not wait for the next book to come out to find out what happens!
I listened to this because my ten year old wanted to listen so I needed to check it out first. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!
Like others, I picked this story to listen to because I had just finished the Joe Ledger series and wanted more of the same. Surprisingly, it's not anywhere near the same but I still found myself listening to this story whenever I could -- to and from work, mowing the lawn, running. Maberry does an excellent job of creating interesting characters and telling the story from the perspective of a teenager. As zombie thrillers go, this story pulls you in and gives depth to the dead as well as the living. I would love to see this made into a movie or TV series. As for the narrator, he does a great job save for a few instances where I felt the author had different intentions with the tone of the story.
the mora brothers, and the zom cards
Benny the zombie killer. And the Lost girl
with great drama
this book made me bouth cry and laugh
Jonathon Mayberry is fast becoming my most read author. make it must to read Dust and decay as will
I collect spores, molds, and fungus.
Rot and Ruin is a great book if you just want some light entertainment for a while. It mixes the fantastical (zombies) with the everyday and paints a real world picture at how life would be with the living dead. The love story is a little dumb and unnecessary but it doesn't detract from the main story. Overall I liked it very much and was happy that there was a sequel. (Dust and Decay) Performance gets only three stars because the narrator would speak in his regular even voice when trying to convey yelling or some other elevated emotion. It sort of took away from the suspense of the moment. Otherwise he did a great job. I recommend this book.
The Dragon Mother
This story follows teenager, Benny Imura, who has lost both of his parents to the zombie infection. The story starts out with Benny’s teenaged boy attitude and his need to find a job. He doesn’t like his older brother, has no respect for him, and doesn’t really understand what his brother does. He searches out all of the other jobs available and finally decides he has to go out with his brother into the place referred to as the ‘Rot and Ruin’ and learn the family trade.
Outside the walls of their city, zombies walk around in the Rot and Ruin and will go after anything that moves, makes loud noises, or smells good to eat. There are also some other people out there and they can be just as dangerous as the zombies. Benny starts getting real lessons in what his new zombie-infested world is all about.
I really enjoyed this story. I had some reservations when it started off and I got to know Benny a little, but once the story took off, I was hooked. These aren’t your typical zombies and this isn’t your typical zombie story. The world created by Jonathan Maberry was very well done and I was left wanting more!
Although this was the first book in a series, I was not left hanging with a giant cliff hanger. I was left with the feeling that I had just heard a really good story and wanted more. I will definitely be looking for the next book in the series, Dust and Decay!
The Narration Review
Brian Hutchison has a nice, clear story telling voice that is very easy to listen to. Although he didn’t have a whole cast of character voices in his pocket, I could easily differentiate between people when they were speaking in dialog.