BOOK REVIEW: Rot & Ruin – by Jonathan Maberry

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Title: Rot & Ruin
(Rot & Ruin #1)
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Genre: YA, Horror, Dystopia
First published: September 14th 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Finished reading: July 25th 2016
Pages: 468
Rating 4qqq

“Often it was the most unlikely people who found within themselves a spark of something greater. It was probably always there, but most people are never tested, and they go through their whole lives without ever knowing that when things are at their worst, they are at their best.”

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Zombie stories are normally not really for me, but I’ve become less prejudiced after I finished and loved The Girl With All The Gifts earlier this month. So when I was browsing Riveted and saw I could read Rot & Ruin for free (until August 1st), I decided to jump right in. Especially since I have had this series by Jonathan Maberry on my wishlist for a long time in the first place. I’m glad I decided to give Rot & Ruin a go, because I ended up really enjoying this story despite my reservations for zombie stories. The dystopian worldbuilding is interesting and I liked the idea of the separation between the relatively safe town and the ‘wild’. The descriptions of both the zombies and the world itself are well done; the zombies are slightly humanised (especially by the older brother Tom) and that was certainly refreshing. There is a lot of action (and shouting!) involved in the story, making it into a fast-paced read and without doubt entertaining. Another bonus: there is almost no romance in Rot & Ruin, which is rare in a YA fantasy/dystopian series. Although I’m having the suspicion there might be more in the sequel… Because there sure were some pretty obvious hints at possible romantic developments and even a love triangle. I’m glad there wasn’t any in the first book though and the ending was quite satisfying (even though the final fighting scenes were not that credible). All in all Rot & Ruin is an interesting, entertaining and fast-paced zombie read that will appeal to fans of the genre.

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Benny Imura grew up in this zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America and doesn’t know any better; his biggest worry being his need to find a job before his time is up and his rations are cut in half. His older brother and zombie hunter Tom does remember the time before the First Night though… As he saw their father turn into a zombie in front of them and had to run with little Benny. Benny still feels Tom is a coward and when Tom offers him to be his apprentice, Benny refuses. But he cannot seem to get another job that interests him, so it seems like he will have no choice but to accept his boring brother’s offer. But when he goes outside for the first time to see how his brother does his job, he encounters a whole different reality. Benny realizes he has been wrong about a whole lot of things in life, including his brother…

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It kind of came as a surprise, but Rot & Ruin turned out to be another exception to the rule and I really enjoyed this zombie and action-packed story. It’s well written and the worldbuilding is interesting, and I liked the fact that the zombies are slightly humanised and the bounty hunters are the actual bad guys. The fact that there is almost no romance involved is a huge bonus as well… At one point I thought this was going to be a repeat experience of The 5th Wave (cheesy romance scenes ruining an excellent story), but I guess I was wrong. If you enjoy reading the genre, I can definitely recommend Rot & Ruin! The sequel is already on my wishlist.

WWW Wednesdays #101 – July 27th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve only just started When We Collided by Emery Lord, but I have heard so many great things about it that I can’t wait to continue reading! I won’t be having a lot of spare time this week, but hopefully I will be able to finish it before the weekend.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I was able to finally finish was The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse. I can’t say I really enjoyed it. The first part was quite slow and I had problems with the prose. I also wish the story would have focused on the war itself… The Neverland descriptions were really entertaining to read though.
* I then read the Dorothy Must Die novella Ruler Of Beasts by Danielle Paige. This one was probably one of my favorite novellas of the bunch… Mostly because Ozma played a big role in the story and a new interesting character (the Nome King) was introduced.
* Next up was The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel, which made it to my list of favorite 2016 reads. Such a powerful and well written story! I can definitely recommend this one.
* I then finally finished The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz, a book I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would. I normally love historical fiction, but I didn’t like the main character Joan and there was too much ‘strong’ religious dialogue and cheesy romance in the last part of the story.
* Next up was the supershort, but action-packed story Environmentally Friendly by Elias Zanbaka. Without doubt an interesting and fast-paced read!
* I then read Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry for free at Riveted. Check out the website if you haven’t already; each two weeks or so they offer four new free titles to read online! (This one is available until August 1st). Rot & Ruin turned out to be a very good read, which I’m still surprised about because I normally don’t really like stories with zombies… But it’s well written and I like that there’s almost no romance (at least in the first book).
* The last book I finished is The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne, which turned out to be even better than her first novel. Well written prose, great descriptions that set a spooky atmosphere and many many plot twists… Recommended!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably read my last pending ARC first: the Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection by Barbara Venkataraman. It definitely sounds like an entertaining read! I also want to read The Bird And The Sword by Amy Harmon, but I might try Thunderlight by Adrienne Woods first. I really enjoyed the first book and since I’m in the mood for a dragon story this one sounds like a great choice. Secret Letters by Leah Scheier is still my newest TBR jar pick.