Saturday, April 9, 2011

Recommendation: 'Rot & ruin' by Jonathan Maberry

Rot & ruin by Jonathan Maberry

His whole life, Benny has thought his older brother Tom was a coward, a waste of space who doesn’t deserve the fantastic reputation he has in their hometown of Moutainside. Now that he is 15, Benny has a choice though, he can become Tom’s apprentice in the family business, or he can lose his food rations. Maybe it won't be so bad though, because the family business is killing zombies.

Ever since First Night, when the first zombies appeared, everyone who dies becomes a zombie. There are thousands of zombies outside the carefully maintained fences of Mountainside, and during a trip with his brother to quiet a zombie, Benny begins to understand that there is more to being a zombie bounty hunter than he thought. The first trip changes him forever, and he soon finds himself questioning everything he learnt in Mountainside – including questions about what zombies really are. With his questions growing, and his world view changing, Benny makes a choice that will put him at odds with one of the meanest and most dangerous bounty hunters around. When one of his friends is taken, Benny must travel into the Rot and Ruin on a dangerous rescue mission where he and Tom are dangerously out numbered.

This is an amazing book, and although it is more of a boy book, it has a dynamic plot which will appeal to anyone who likes a strong story, with a decent plot, and no odd quirks that throw you out of the story. Benny is likeable, if somewhat flawed, and his brother Tom is the ultimate misunderstood hero who guides Benny on what could almost be described as a spirit quest to find his own truth. There are plenty of villains and interesting characters to fill out the novel, and it was almost impossible to put down, although at 458 pages it does take some commitment to read. There is a vague feeling that there may be future novels set in this same world, and I hope there are because I would definitely be back for seconds if the author maintains the tension, momentum, and depth of this novel.

A five star read.

- Em

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