Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he doesn’t become a monster ~Friedrich Nietzsche
It has been 14 years since First Night, the night the world as it was known ended and the dead got back up and walked. This is the post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura was raised by his older brother Tom. The Imura brothers live in the civilization of Mountainside fenced in and fortified against the outside world they refer to as the Rot & Ruin. In order to avoid getting his rations cut in half Benny must find a job. The last thing he wants to do is become an apprentice as a zombie hunter with his cowardice older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He, reluctantly, joins his brother and prepares for an uninteresting and exhausting job of whacking zoms for cash, but what he finds is a family business that will teach him what it means to be human.
My husband and I have had many conversations about zombies. The “what if” discussions about where we would go, what we would take…you get the picture. We’d talk about what the characters in the movies could have done better and the fact that, for us, the best zombie stories aren’t about the zombies they are about the people surviving in this world infested by the living dead. Rot & Ruin is a perfect example of a story about the people and how they deal with the “zoms” but, more importantly, how they deal with each other.
Benny and Tom Imura captured my heart. Not only do they go through some difficult times out in the rot & ruin, but they go through many rough patches both internally and as brothers. The brothers, of course, are the focal point of the story and their journey is interwoven with the stories of characters, such as, Nix, the Lost Girl, Charlie Pink-eye, the Motor City Hammer and a plethora of other characters who helped to keep this gal on the edge of her seat.
So we can’t talk about a zombie book without talking about the zombies, right? I actually teared up a couple of times over scenes with the zombies. Rot & Ruin takes several scenes and solidifies the fact that the zoms were once our friends, family, neighbors….they were people just like you and I and they didn’t ask for this to happen to them. I won’t go into any more detail, because I truly think this book should be read by zombie fans and even some non-zombie fans. In fact, I think my mother would like this book and I just might pass it along to her to give it a try…no, I’ll buy her a copy, this one is MINE!
Oh, I have to mention Jonathan Maberry’s new use for the word “nom” or “noms”. They are the rare nomad zombies that just wander and never seem to stop anywhere. I love it!
Needless to say I LOVED Rot & Ruin and would HIGHLY suggest it to all of my friends and family. It has so much heart to it that sometimes it really is difficult to remember that you are reading a zombie novel. Excellent job, Mr. Maberry and thank you for a fantastic story!
Espresso rating: QUAD