Rot & Ruin

Rot & Ruin

4.1 (27,367 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 more

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 458 pages
  • 144.78 x 213.36 x 43.18mm | 612.35g
  • Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 1442402326
  • 9781442402324
  • 348,366

Review quote

* "The delineation between man and monster, survivor and victim is fiercely debated in Maberry's thoughtful, postapocalyptic coming-of-age tale...In turns mythic and down-to-earth, this intense novel combines adventure and philosophy to tell a truly memorable zombie story, one that forces readers to consider them not just as flesh-eating monsters or things to be splattered, but as people."--Publishers Weekly, starred reviewshow more

Rating details

27,367 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 42% (11,580)
4 35% (9,549)
3 16% (4,407)
2 4% (1,161)
1 2% (670)

Our customer reviews

Rot & Ruin has zombies. Lots and lots of zombies. It also has all of the good stuff that usually accompanies zombies, such as thrills, chills, and of course, kills. However, Rot & Ruin is not a zombie book, not in the traditional sense. It's a coming of age story in a time where everything is dangerous, and nothing is quite how it seems, and about the birth of a hero. The book begins about 15 years after First Night, when the dead started coming back to life, and focuses on Benny Imura, 14, and his older, zombie hunter brother Tom. Benny is about to turn 15, and that means he'll have to get a job, or his food rations will be cut in half. I'll be honest, at the start of this book, I thought Benny Imura, our 15 year old star, was a whining, moody little brat and was actually worried that I wasn't going to like him at all. On the other hand, his older brother Tom was a quiet, kind, strong presence that eventually grew into a much bigger role later in the novel. Benny tries his hand at a number of jobs before deciding, kicking and screaming, to go into the "family business", aka zombie hunting, or as Tom prefers, becoming a "closure specialist". Benny has fuzzy, vague memories about Tom running away with him and leaving his parents to the mercy of the zombies on First Night, and has nursed bitter resentment for him ever since. Benny idolizes the obnoxious, loud mouthed bounty hunter Charlie, and thinks his brother is a coward, not only for what he perceives happened on First Night, but because Tom rarely talks about what he does to put food on the table. It's only when Tom takes Benny out into the Rot & Ruin (the zombie infested area beyond their fenced in town), that Benny begins to realize just what his brother does on a daily basis. His entire world view is turned upside down, and when his friend Nix is kidnapped by zombie hunters with the most evil of plans, Benny has to look inside himself to find courage he never knew existed. This book was initially hard for me to review, because I recently read Patient Zero, and The Dragon Factory, both by Jonathan Maberry, and I had become engrossed in Joe Ledger's world. So, perhaps unfairly to this book, I expected more of the same, just toned down for a Young Adult audience. Rot & Ruin took a bit longer for me to get into, only because I had to flip that switch taking me out of Joe Ledger's adventures, and put myself into Benny's.The payoff was definitely worth it! There's plenty of guts and action to please boy readers (and reluctant readers), and the characters show significantly more insight and maturity than many of the YA titles available right now. There was also plenty to please this girl reader, and there were some heartbreaking moments that really made me love the characters. I'll be keeping my eye out for Dust & Decay, the next Benny Imura adventure!show more
by My Bookish Ways
Benny just turned fifteen. In his world, that means he must find a job in order to continue receiving his rations. The problem is, Benny can't find a job he likes. He and his best friend, Chong, waited too long to get one and all the easy jobs are gone. What's left isn't very appealing. He's tried being a locksmith, a fence tester, a fence technician, a carpet coat salesman, a pit thrower, a crank generator repairman, a spotter, a bottler, and an erosion artist. It seems like the only option left is to join the family business. Benny's brother, Tom, is one of the most respected and successful zombie killers. The problem is, Benny doesn't know why people think Tom's that great. He's never seen Tom do anything especially exciting or impressive - in fact, he's actually turned away from violence, which makes Benny think Tom's a coward. Tom is nothing like the totally cool Zombie Killers like Charlie Pink-Eye and Motor City Hammer. Benny has never intended to do what Tom does. He's always said no every time Tom asked him to become his apprentice. But, his lack of success in any other job has left him no choice. Benny learns a lot while out in the Rot & Ruin with Tom. He learns about his own past, what it is that Tom really does, and what separates man from monster. Benny's outlook on life completely changes as he begins to realize there might be more to life than just his small town of Mountainside. ROT & RUIN is a perfect choice for readers who enjoyed THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. Both books take place in a small town of survivors surrounded by fences that keep the zombies out. ROT & RUIN is set in a time when people still remember what happened when the zombies started rising, so the reader gets some first-hand accounts of First Night (the night the world changed). ROT & RUIN also gives us some of the blood and gore that we sometimes want in a zombie novel. Jonathan Maberry did an excellent job developing the characters and creating an interesting setting. The reader can get lost in Benny's world. ROT & RUIN gets the Gold Star Award because I couldn't put it down. In fact, I stayed up until 3:30 A.M. one night to finish. This story caused me to cringe, gasp, chuckle, and cry. Absolutely amazing! *Gold Star Award Winner!show more
by TeensReadToo
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