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- ISBN-13: 9781442402324
- ISBN-10: 1442402326
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
- Publish Date: September 2010
- Page Count: 458
- Reading Level: Ages 12-UP
Series: Rot & Ruin #1
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-09-27
- Reviewer: Staff
The delineation between man and monster, survivor and victim is fiercely debated in Maberry's (Patient Zero) thoughtful, postapocalyptic coming-of-age tale. In Mountainside, an oasis of civilization in a world ravaged by zombies, residents must find work at age 15 or have their rations halved. With every other option exhausted, Benny Imura reluctantly apprentices with his older brother, Tom, as a zombie killer, despite blaming Tom for their parents' deaths. As Benny accompanies Tom into the hostile wilderness, he learns how wrong he was about many things, from the supposed "coolness" of larger-than-life bounty hunter Charlie Matthias to the inhuman nature of "zoms" and the true purpose of Tom's work. The eye-opening experiences continue when Charlie kidnaps Benny's potential girlfriend, Nix, as part of his efforts to track down the fabled Lost Girl, who holds the key to a deadly secret. 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. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
When the dead rise, teens rise above it
What kid wouldn’t love to whack some zombies? Slaughter some bumbling, disintegrating bodies with gnashing teeth? Kill them before they kill you?
Benny Imura has absolutely no interest. But in his post-apocalyptic Californian community, Benny will lose half his rations if he does not find a job by the time he turns 15, so he has no choice but to become an apprentice to his lame zom-slaughtering brother Tom and to follow him into the Rot & Ruin—the world outside the fences. The zombie-covered fields of America reveal to Benny a world without morality and without humanity, even among the living.
Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin melds the entertainment of a zombie thriller with an examination of the roots of anger and the value of human life. When the dead rise, it is easy to find sport in whacking a former mailman or two. But Benny quickly discovers that the living dead were once simply living, and there are things far more evil in the world than a shuffling mob of zoms.
Along the way, Rot & Ruin ordains the younger generations with a sense of purpose and power, and a new understanding of what a hero really is: “Often it was the most unlikely of 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.”