Title: Rot and Ruin
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Series: Benny Imura #1
Publication: March 2011 (UK) | May 2011(US)
Format: Paperback | 464 pages
Genre: Horror | Zombies
Nearly fourteen years ago, a freak virus swept across the world turning the living into the undead. Benny Imura was only a toddler, but his last memory of his parents is tainted by the image of them becoming zombies, and he blames his older brother, Tom, for not saving them.
Now Benny is fifteen, and Tom wants them to put their difficult relationship behind them and work together in the "family business" : as zombie killers. It's the last thing Benny wants to do, but he needs a job and he thinks it'll be an easy ride.
But when they head into the Rot and Ruin, an area full of wandering zombies, Benny soon realises that there's more to the job than just whacking zombies. And, as he's confronted with the truth about the world around him, Benny makes the most terrifying discovery of all, that the worst monsters you can imagine might actually be human ...
Rot and Ruin is about Benny Imura, his friends and what remains of his family. After 'First Night' most of the world's population were infected with a freak virus causing anyone who dies or is bitten to rise from the dead as a freaky flesh-eating zombie. Those who managed to escape, including Benny's brother Tom, chanced upon a small community in the mountains who have salvaged what they could to survive and do their best to fend off any 'walkers' in the area.
This book took me no time at all to finish purely because it was so gripping that I didn't want to do anything related to real life until I was done. Admittedly, I did think it was incredibly dull in the beginning where Benny was deciding which career he was going to settle into. It literally picked up after 20 pages though after which I was racing through pages.
I loved the fact that although this book is based on zombies, the author hasn't taken any spotlight off of the relationship between Benny and his brother Tom. Straight from the introduction of the protagonist, the difficulty Benny has with forgiving his brother for running away on 'First Night' is highlighted and Tom's reactions to Benny thinking him a coward are really apparent. It keeps the story getting repetitive with zombie after zombie shuffling towards somebody - that gets old really quickly. Instead the zombies become an extra problem hidden in the background, the primary problem being Benny seeing his brother the way everybody else sees him.
There are so many elements to this story that it stays captivating the whole way through until it gets to the point where you can feel the number of pages left thinning and you really don't want it to end. As soon as you think you are going to start to settle into the story and can sort of guess where it's going you're thrown right off the trail.
Every single character in this book is amazing in their own way and I got excited when any one of the them came back into the story. I can't fault the characters in any way. Not for the development, personalities or even for how many there are. There's no confusion, every one of them plays a part in the story perfectly.
This is definitely a book I'm going to add to my 'favourite reads' list and I really do urge everyone to pick this one up. I'm off to go and get the second in the series!
Benny Imura series:
- Rot and Ruin
- Dust and Decay
- Flesh and Bone
- Fire and Ash