Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Author Website: www.jonathanmaberry.com
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.
Normally I would never pick up a book like Rot & Ruin. Zombies? Bounty Hunters? Me? Really? Yes! Really! I do like zombie movies and am trying to branch out from the books that I typically read, so I thought I would give it a chance. I am so glad that I did because I loved Rot & Ruin. Loved it!
Rot & Ruin is the story of Benny Imura, who lives with his bounty-hunter brother Tom, in the small town of Mountainside. For years, Benny and his friends Chong and Morgie, listened with great admiration to the tales of renowned bounty hunters Charlie Pink-Eye and The Motor City Hammer, and even idolized them. When Benny begins searching for a job and is unable to find one, he reluctantly joins his brother in the Ruin, on a bounty. On this journey, he begins to see his brother with new eyes and understands that he never really knew his brother at all. Benny thought his brother was cowardly for what happened on First Night and saw weakness in his quiet ways, unlike those of the boastful bounty hunters
After visiting the Ruin, Benny begins to question all the he knows about zombies, the bounty hunters, his brother, and his life in Mountainside. He tries to go back to the same amused wonder with this friends, but an incident with a collector zombie card and an act of defiance changes everything for Benny.
One of my favorite quotes from Rot & Ruin is when Benny and Tom are getting ready to leave for the Ruin to search for the bounty hunters and the lost girls. Tom says, "The world is bigger and harder to understand than you think, Benny. It was before First Night and is still is now. You have to keep your mind as wide-open as your eyes, because almost nothing is what it seems." (page 244) He wants Benny to know that he must be strong in their venture where he may have to do things he would never fathom doing.
Maberry has written an entertaining and thought provoking story filled with heart-pounding adventure, intensity and humanity. He touches your heart and leaves you scared at the same time. I cannot say enough good things about this book and can't wait to read the sequel. Oh, and I want my own zombie card!