Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers   
458 pages 
Science Fiction
Subjects: zombies, undead, dystopia,

Fifteen year old, Benny Imura needs a job. And in the zombie-infested America, his job options are a bit different. Without a job, his rations will be cut in half.

Benny really doesn’t want to be an apprentice to his brother Tom, but he doesn’t have an option. He expects a boring job, killing zoms for cash, but he gets something else. Benny will learn what it means to be human.

I don’t like zombies, not really. Brains? Really? Sorry zombie fans, but they’re lame. That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a well written zombie book. Rot & Ruin had adventure, action, a touch of romance, and a Western-y feel except with a katana.

The characters and the plot were interesting, though predictable. I really loved the Western Red Dead Redemption (if anyone knows what I’m talking about) feel.

The romance between Nix and Benny was off by a bit. Benny swore that he didn’t think of Nix in any way but a friend, then without any true buildup they’re kissing by the end. It was a bit rushed. He seemed to have more attraction to the Lost Girl than Nix.

The characters were interesting and I liked all of them. As a main character, I wasn’t to fond of Benny. He seemed oblivious to everything and was an annoying twerp to everyone as well. But I didn’t hate him.

Tom was a bit annoying. He teaches Benny to be respectful to the living dead but Benny isn’t having it.

Benny: “Wah, I don’t like zombies! KILL THEM!”
Tom: “They used to be people too.
Benny: “KILL THEM.
Tom: “That isn’t very nice.”
Benny: “So? Kill them!”

It goes on like this for the first 100 pages or so, then Benny sort of grows up.

Nix and The Lost Girl were the two main female characters and they rocked. Nix was strong, compassionate, and intelligent. The Lost Girl was cold, capable and deadly. Very good characters that I wish were the norm in YA fiction.

Plot & Writing:
The story was sweet but predictable. There wasn’t anything in the story that I didn’t expect coming. It was a bit of a let down. The beginning was slow, but entertaining. The middle sort of dragged up until they found Nix again (and then the Lost Girl).

At times, I wish that the story’s main character was Lost Girl. I thought it would be a bit more interesting. Either Lost Girl or Nix would be good MCs.

The writing was fast paced and worked well with the story, The action sequences were quick and really kept you reading. There wasn’t too much foreshadowing (in the romance or the story) and I though it needed a bit of work but other wise it was well done.

What I liked and disliked:

  • Interesting Story
  • Well made characters
  • Action
  • Western-y feel


  • predictable story
  • annoying characters (at times)
  • Not enough action
  • Rushed romance
  • no foreshadowing

In conclusion:
Rot & Ruin is a good light read with a good (and easily found) message. I recommend reading it.


Favorite Character: Nix or The Lost Girl
Favorite Quote: 

“People need something to blame. If they can’t find something rational to blame, then they’ll very happily blame something irrational.”

Rating:  ★★★☆☆


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