Multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin is his debut work for young readers. Fifteen-year-old Benny Imura lives in a world infested with zombies where, when a kid turns 15, he must get a job to continue receiving food rations. Benny has no interest in the family business of zombie killing, but figures he doesn’t have much of a choice. He’s tried out a bunch of other jobs, and hasn’t found anything he likes. But as Benny starts training with his brother, he learns things about being human that he never expected.
©2010 Jonathan Maberry (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
I'm a high school librarian.
My students love this book so much that I have had to buy replacement hard copies and make sure I had the audio for non-print readers, so they could get in on the action, too.
The narrator of this story does three voices really well. An upper-middle class white guy, a Texan, and an Italian-American from Brooklyn. The only problem is, those seem to be the ONLY voices he can do, and every character is a variation of that. It really threw me when the narrator read that two characters were speaking Vietnamese.to each other, then turned and started speaking English. The accent used sounded like a west-Texan Marlboro Man.
As far as the story itself goes, it starts with a great idea and finishes strong. But like several other Maberry novels, there are just a few too many points thrown in that are just so, well, dumb, that it makes the novel less fun. Maberry also must have a thing with albinos, because this is the second novel of his where the bad guy has been one. Zombies become a secondary, even a tertiary plot device and really aren't that scary at all.
This is an average zombie book at best, so if you're buying it in hopes it will help give you a zombie fix, save it for a day when you can't find much else that's any better. As for me - I'll read the sequels just to see if they get any better. If Maberry's Joe Ledger series is any indicator though, the series started out as a zombie book and none of the rest had any zombies in them. What a rip off! I quit reading them.
I really liked this book. I ordered it on a whim and wasn't sure what to expect. I have never read a zombie book before, and had no idea if the genre would pull me in. I really enjoyed this book. The relationships between the characters were strong, and I felt like I could feel their emotions.
The nararator did a really good job too! I really enjoyed his portrayl of the characters voices. I would definitely recommend this book! I already ordered the second book!
Yeesh, I see there are other books in this universe. I hope Benny grows a brain, because I found him utterly, intolerably obnoxious in this book. Perhaps I haven't spent enough time around teenagers; maybe they are this bad. However, even if that is so, I don't want to read about a guy who's this much of a jerk, utterly condemning his older brother based upon "memories" from a horrific night that happened when he was 18 months old, treating Tom with contempt despite the fact that Benny would be dead many times over without him --died that night, died since from hunger or lack of care.
I don't actually believe anyone remembers things from that young anyway, beyond perhaps hazy impressions of emotional states --comfort, fear, drastic hunger. 18 month old brains just don't work in such a fashion that they could pass along memories like that, not the way adult brains do. One of the people that I respect & admire most in all the worlds & time, Ray Bradbury, said that he remembered some things from when he was three. I believe him, but he was one of the most brilliant people that ever lived & had one of the finest minds that ever cogitated.
Benny Imura does not fit any of those descriptions. He's not too bright, he's not too perceptive, he's not too thoughtful, he's not too nice. He's lazy. He can be pretty schmucky to his friends. He sits listening avidly to self-aggrandizing, obviously false stories told by two reprobate zombie hunter/killers, guys who any idiot with half a brain would immediately see are BAD guys, serious bad news, liars, cheats, & probably murders. But Benny doesn't have half a brain.
I kept forcing myself to listen further; all that kept me going was pretending that Benny would be eaten by a "zom"...it's not a good sign when a reader is praying the protagonist gets devoured.
Tom is also fairly unrealistic as a character, being far too saintly in dealing with his jackass younger bro. Most of the characters are cardboard.
There are other things that bother me about the book; the people in the town behave all alike in too many ways; NO ONE will talk about First Night (come on, some old boor would sit around blathering about how heroic they were), NO ONE will even consider trying to get electrical power going again. Even if a sort of religious taboo had grown up against electricity, after 14 years NO ONE has decided they're sick of washing clothes by hand? Puh-lease; after 14 DAYS, SOMEBODY woulda been out there trying to get things going again, no matter how loudly the zealots screamed. People just don't behave in lock-step like that. The entire remaining population of America is not going to just meekly abandon their mod cons, no matter what the provocation or how few are left.
Another peeve --& I know this is strictly a personal, idiosyncratic gripe-- but the term "zom" instead of "zombie" absolutely drove me up the wall.
Even if this is a 'YA' book, which I'm not entirely sure is the case, there are just too many things about it that are too simplistic, starting with the characters.
The reader, Brian Hutchinson, does a serviceable job with the material.
Avid reader, enthusiastic book club organizer, aspiring writer & devoted mommy of one Doberman puppy, Maddox, and one Half-Arab mare Kissy.
Let me just state that if I turned into a zombie and ended up spending my zom-days lumbering around my job site, I would be one disappointed soul. Wait, do zombies even have souls? My overall impression of Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin? Humans are far scarier than any zombie could ever be and Tom Imura is HOTT!!!
Okay, so even in my limited experience with zombie lit, I think that this book offered something different. At the beginning of the book, Benny Imura is young, naïve, immature and doesn’t look past the surface level of anyone or anything in his small circle of existence. Tom Imura, Benny’s older brother, is patient, compassionate, and a skilled fighter, but a man who sees himself as less than perfect. It is my personal opinion that Tom is far harder on himself than Benny could ever be. Benny dislikes his brother based on an obscure recollection he has as a very small child of Tom running away, small Benny clutched in his arms, their parents victims to the “disease.” Benny spends the first 15 years of his life believing Tom is a coward, until the time comes for Benny to join the family business, killing zombies, bounty hunter style. Benny is interested in learning to kill zombies, even if he is not too keen on working for his brother, Tom. However, according to his school teacher, “learning to kill is the sort of thing you should learn from your folks.” So, with decent jobs scarce and the impending threat of losing half his food ration, Benny goes to work for his brother, Tom. It is there, out in the great rot and ruin, that Benny learns about who his brother really is.
Throughout the story, Benny changes a lot. He sees less black and white and recognizes more gray in the world around him. He is more skeptical of people and places and no longer accepts everything at face value. In the great rot and ruin, Benny learns that there are 2 types of danger, - the unthinking incessant zombies and the deliberate malice of fellow bounty hunters, Charlie Mathias and the Motor City Hammer. By the end of the novel, Benny looks at a person’s motives in order to draw conclusions rather than just his/her words. Benny also develops a relationship with childhood girl friend,Nix. Despite Benny’s vow to never fall for a girl he was already friends with, he finds himself crushing on her pretty hard core. The relationship between Nix and Benny develops slowly and is realized by a sweet, gentle yet, standard issue YA kiss. While the kiss maybe formulaic in terms of plot, Benny’s feelings for Nix are not.
“Nix, I know you’re hurt. I wish I could fix it, I swear to God. I wish I could make it all different, make what happened not true…If you need to lash out at me, say anything, throw me off this tower, if it will help even a little, then do it. I don’t care what happens to me anymore, I got what I wanted. I got you back safe… the monsters didn’t get you.”
Beside the many awesome quote-ables, the main strength of this novel is the exciting plot. I liked that in this particular novel, the world had turned to zombies some decade prior and the characters were living in a post-apocalyptic zombie North America. Despite its many info-dumps (usually via Tom Imura), the story telling was supreme, ending the book with an obvious sequel. While not the best choice for a romance, the writing was seamless and potent.
“The truth is the truth. What changes is what we know about it and what we’re willing to believe.” Tom Imura.
While Rot & Ruin is by no means the most memorable of my audiobooks (nor even the most memorable of my zombie/apocalyptic/paranormal collection), it was a lot of fun and a very good listen.
I don't have a specific favorite scene. I did like that there are some new takes on the post-apocalyptic world of the zombie infestation - for example, what happens when all the fuss dies down and people *have* established safe ways of handling the "zoms." Also, what happens when people remember that the reanimated dead are members of their family? This first book in the series is more a rite of passage for Benny, the protagonist, as he matures, but that didn't detract from the action/adventure elements of the story.
Millions of zoms. Two brothers. Feel sorry for the zoms.
Willy Wonka of it
Coming from some of Maberry's other novels, I knew this one was geared toward a younger audience, and was prepared for that (after all, the Rho Agenda series was for YA and it was enjoyable). Indeed, much of the interaction was shallow and the story was developed much as you'd expect a story for Young Adults to be. Slow and deliberate.
However, even seeing past that, I couldn't recommend this tale. For one, I felt the characters were fairly flat. I had no real desire to get to know any of them. Benny is annoying, Tom, while mysterious doesn't seem to harbor any secrets beyond the obvious, and the "lost girl" is just as uninteresting.
More importantly though, I didn't feel any desire to know more about this world. Maberry teases us here and there with bits of information that you just know will lead to revelations, and some of the dropped clues get addressed/resolved in this book. However, none were developed in a way that was all that interesting, which left me not even caring about the others.
Perhaps one day when I've run out of his other material I'll revisit this series, but for now, I'm content leaving this one as a standalone tale.
Someplace in the middle. It is not bad at all, it just was not what I was expecting. A little obvious in the beginning but the characters are personable and the storyline does get you thinking. I was hoping for a little more edge of the seat, reading but still two books to go. I am in the middle of Dust and Decay and I must say it is getting my interest level up to a 7 from a 5.
Jonathon Maberry is an amazing author. I read the Pine Deep trilogy and Patient Zero series. He is amazing and does not know how to write a bad book.
He brings some feeling. I am a huge fan of Scott Brick and James Marsters, but Hutchison is a good narrator. His voice is peasant although he can't change over like Marsters. He is up there with Pete Bradbury, Ray Porter though.
Zombies were people too!!
I would recommend this series. It is not the best but a good read, Worth the money and/or credits. Again, I still have over a book to go and already it has captured my interest and gets better every page
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
WHAT IS DONE IN THE RUIN STAYS IN THE RUIN
Maberry builds a world which is easy to picture and in which you will feel you live in. Some writers are so good that they set a mood. The mood set in this book reminded me a lot of the same mood Brandon Sanderson set in his book Elantris. In this world everyone fifteen and older must have a job. There are several imaginative jobs that you would only have in a society that includes Zombies. In the boy scouts they teach you how to defend against Zombies. The lead character is a teenage boy and a lot of people will have problems liking this teenager since he is kind of a lazy cry baby, yet does that not fit a lot of real life teenagers or yourself at that age.
PEOPLE NEED SOMETHING TO BLAME
The Zombie Queen gave this one of her rare five stars. She is half my age and I do believe younger people will like this a little better then older. I still don't understand why some authors think that books for young teens or kids should not be written as cleverly as those for adults. I believe a lot of people will like this and I did enjoy it, but not as well as the other books I have read by Maberry for adults. There is a lot of preaching in this and I don't believe kids like to be preached to anymore then adults. The character Tom is too perfect, he is the anti-Joe Ledger. He is kind of a professor Know it All. I am also tired of Albino people always being the bad guys. Why does Maberry and several other authors think it is okay to demonize anybody of any race. There is a lot of speechafying in this also. Like the bad guys in most bad movies, the good guys make long speeches before pulling the trigger.
CLOSURE ISN'T CLOSURE UNTIL SOMEONE IS READY TO CLOSE THE DOOR
These titles are just a small example of the constant platitudes given in this book. The narrator was alright for the first couple of hours, but his style started to bother me after a while. It is hard to describe and you may not notice it, he kind of talks at you. He puts a period at the end of every sentence. The second half of the book I put him on fast play and I enjoyed the narration better.
I love my two little girls
Best Zombie Audiobook I've listened too on Audible. Nothing too far out like alien zombies and all that crap! Just a good story, good characters, Just a overall good book that would make a killer mini series like band of brothers or the like ?
Every single character was described and I could see them in my mind perfectly like i was in the story! Just great characters
Everything ! not over acted or loud . Just a good constant leveled voice for all these books I would even considering a book just because BH has read it aloud ? Maybe ?
Yes and practically did! 2 days
Great Zombie story just get it! and then buy the hardbacks ! In case the world ends and then you can still read it! Oh and I wish the author would research and make a book called the warrior way like they trained in the book too. I bet it would just as good if not better than all those books out there on how to stay fit and everything you need to survive the zombie apocalypse? Yes there not real but great and big sellers too! Ask Max Brooks
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