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Monday, March 7, 2011

Do the Zombie Shuffle! REVIEW of "Rot & Ruin" by Jonathan Maberry

Rot & Ruin Why this book?: ZOMBIES!

Type: Young Adult Fiction, Zombies, Coming of Age, Epic battles, Definitely not a Coward

About the Book: Benny is fifteen, and needs a job before he begins to lose half his rations. But after a series of jobs that don't work for him, and with no other prospects, he finally takes his brother up on his offer of apprenticeship. Ben's older brother Tom is a zombie bounty hunter, known as one of the best, but Benny has seen other bounty hunters, and Tom doesn't act like them. In fact, Benny thinks Tom is a coward, and can't imagine Tom doing anything other than running away. But while out in the Rot & Ruin amongst the zombies with his brother, Benny finds there's a lot more to learn than he thought. Maybe the other bounty hunters aren't so great, and maybe Tom isn't the bad guy in all this.

My Review: The book lists the appropriate age range from 12 and up, but I would hesitate to give this book to anyone ages 12 - 14, unless I know they are mature enough to handle it. While there are some great themes in this book, it is still jam packed with violence and even murder. However, the violence is dealt with extremely well, and is even necessary to the plot. And the character development because of what Benny and Nix witness and have to go through themselves, it's truly amazing. They don't just solve the problem and everything goes back to a joyous existance. No, they learn about the hardships of the world and it makes them grow up. They become hard themselves, wary, but still resilient and willing to fight the next battle.

There were some excellent themes in this book, my favorite being that just because you are in a place with no laws, doesn't mean you can ignore what is right and wrong. Benny and Nix know this, and they fight for what is right, even though they might end up dead. I'm always a sucker for Young Adult fiction where teenagers and children will risk their lives for the greater good or to save others. Probably explains why I read so much YA, actually. The book can get a little preachy with some of it's themes and central ideas, and Benny's older brother Tom can be a little too perfect, but this is still an excellent book. I would like to see a sequel, and the ending was left with an opening for one. However, at the same time, I love the ending because of what was left open - the reader can imagine this group doing anything, and can picture a happier ending than what they might actually find.

Cover Loving: Oh yeah, definitely matches the creepiness of the books. And near the beginning, Benny mentions that some people believe that if you look into the eyes of one of the zombies, you can see what you would look like as a zombie. This cover is perfect for that.

Recommendation: Great YA book, recommended for boys and girls alike. The book lists 12+, but I would probably only recommend it for 15 and up, unless the younger teen is mature enough to handle it.

Final Rating: FOUR out of FIVE (4/5). Probably the best zombie fiction I've ever read. Definitely recommended, make sure to read this asap!

Have you read "Rot & Ruin" by Jonathan Maberry? What are your thoughts about zombie fiction? Tell me your thoughts in the comments! Want to pick up a copy? Get it from Amazon.com via the link at the left!

Happy reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

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