In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
I came across this book whilst shopping with my grandma and cousin one day. My grandma said, “Girls. You can each go and pick out a book and I’ll buy it for you.” And thus I took off. I ended up picking “Rot & Ruin” because it sounded interesting and I love zombies….even though I worry about them sometimes…… I just remember by grandma saying, “Um….are you sure you want this one?” She was really appalled by the cover and my cousin was buying a nice teen girly book, and I told her, “Yes grandma I want this one.” Because I’m a rebel like that.
This book is very beautiful, you wouldn’t expect it to be since…it’s about ugly zombies but it’s true. The characters are all well developed, the concept of “zombies are people too” is actually really eye-opening, and there’s a lot of emotional turmoil that the characters are put through.
So Benny (our MC), is a typical 15 year old boy, therefore his narrating can get a little irritating sometimes. Plus he’s constantly fighting his brother, Tom, at every turn. Benny blames Tom for the loss of their parents on the First Night (of the zombie outbreak). Now, Tom is a badass. BADASS. He’s easily my favorite character, he manages to keep his cool through everything. Read this book and DON’T develop a crush on Tom, I dare you. The two main female characters, Nix and Lilah, are also extremely badass and capable. Maberry did a good job on the strong female characters front.
There is no insta-love, there are no love triangles. There’s not really any romance in this book (which I love), the main relationship in focus is between Benny and Tom. Which is a nice change while reading YA.
“Rot & Ruin” is also extremely emotional, at least for me because I’m a big baby. There are a lot of affectionate moments between the brothers, and there’s a couple of other tear-jerking stories told within the book. I cried….a lot. I was sitting and trying to do my hair and read at the same time and I fucked up my hair because I got too into the book and started bawling.
I have so much love for this book (and the series), they’re definitely worth the read. I HIGHLY recommend reading it.