Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Rot & Ruin

Title: Rot & Ruin

Author: Jonathan Maberry

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Part of a Series?: First in series

Goodreads Summary:
 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.
Acclaimed horror author Jonathan Maberry makes his young adult debut with this detail-rich depiction of a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has fallen, the dead have risen, and danger is always imminent.
Help! I'm on a 2-star book streak! 2012 really is bad luck :(

I don't have too much to say about this particular book...I'm sure if you really like zombie books, then you will like this. Rot & Ruin isn't your typical zombie book though. It portrays those mindless bullet fodder as human beings for once! 

Maberry did several things differently than I'm used to. 

1) After humanity struggled back into semisurvival mode after the apocalypse, teenagers were made to pick jobs when they turn 15. These jobs aren't like mailman or schoolteacher. Jobs highlighted include cadaverine bottler (think zombie sweat), erosion artist, minimum wage worker who bangs on fences with sticks to attract "zoms", etc. The creativity and realism are present, but sometimes this formula doesn't equate exactly to the most compelling read. Zombie hunting is the most captivating aspect of Rot & Ruin, but for some reason, Maberry slowly guides us around town, showing us some of the more...scintillating characters in town. I especially liked the stereotypical Dumb and Dumber characters that Benny, for some reason, idolized blindly. Fun stuff. I think, for the sake of realism, Maberry detracted a lot from the first part of the book's fun adventure.

2) Bromance is a hard thing to write, especially when Benny is completely unlikeable and Tom is a self righteous idiot. I think Maberry had the right idea in creating a younger brother who would slowly come to understand his older brother while also maturing his own view of the world at the same time. It sounds good on paper, doesn't it? However, I have to say that the execution was poor. Benny and Tom's relationship slowly progressed from infuriating to boring. I knew something was wrong with their relationship when I started wishing Benny would go back to outright hating his older least it was interesting! After reading this book, I had to go watch season 4 ofSupernatural because no one has more bromance than the Winchester brothers. 

3) I just overall didn't think the plot was that intriguing. There were some interesting parts, but when I could neither root for the good guys or bad guys (both sides were utterly hopeless, I swear), my interest came down to a grinding halt. 

Honestly, I'm getting a little tired of 2 star books! 2012 is not going well for me. But I actually think a lot of people would like this book. It just didn't appeal to me personally. Try it out and see.


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