Rot & Ruin is the first book in a series of 3 (maybe 4?) books set post-zombie apocalypse.
The novel(s) follow(s) Benny Imura, younger brother of ‘zombie slayer’ Tom Imura, who is in desperate need of an occupation to which he can actually commit.
He ends up apprenticing with his older brother, but he has a lot to learn over the course of the novel. Fortunately for us, he does seem to figure out how to grow the fuck up. I mean, he’s only 14 (I believe) so it’s not like it’s that unreasonable that he’d be immature, but nonetheless.
Quite frankly, although there are a lot of things that I could say about this book, there’s really only one that I particularly want to–the reason that I’m reviewing the novel at all:
I thoroughly appreciate the way that Maberry has worked his zombies and such. It is a disease, but they don’t know what it is or what caused it, but literally anybody who dies at this point will reawaken a zombie unless ‘silenced’, which is a practice of taking a metal pin thing and shoving it into the spinal column in the back of the neck to sever the nerves, etc. Also, they kind of just stand in place without anything to stimulate their senses. They have to hear noise or see movement in order to “animate.” Going out into the wilderness is still dangerous, of course, but that at least makes it a little easier.
However. My main criticism of this novel is simply that it’s aimed at such a young audience. This book is aimed at males ages 10-15 approx. Obviously I’m a 21 year old female and therefore not the intended audience, but that isn’t the point. Maberry’s prose is so hollow; there’s so much that he could be doing with this series, so many things that could be really delved into deeply, but aren’t because of the intended audience. Don’t get me wrong, it’s done very well as is, but I just really feel like it could be so much better if it was aimed at an older audience.
Okay, don’t get me wrong: tween boys need decent literature to read as well. I don’t mean to say that this series shouldn’t be for the designated audience. I’m just trying to say that it could be so much more if it were revised for an older audience. If it were revisited and republished for an older audience, fleshed out and delved into like I know it could be, I think it would be one helluva series. I mean, maybe that’s just me. And it seems kind of silly to “adultify” (which isn’t a word, but just go with it) a kids book, but in this instance, I think it could be worth it. Maybe that’s me. But that’s why you’re here, right? To hear my opinion? Now you’ve heard it.
So. By all means go read it, but buyer beware: Unless you tend to rather enjoy tween lit, you’ll feel a little disenchanted.
Unrelated: I got my boyfriend to read this and the sequel, Dust & Decay, because he’d been complaining about not really reading anymore and I wanted to fix that. He read each of them in about a day and a half I think, and he just bought the third book at Barnes & Noble in Minot on our way back home from my parents’. He, like me, hates to leave things unfinished. Plus, the second one ends on one helluva cliffhanger. The fourth one is now published, but still in hardcover and almost $20. And we’re broke. So there’s that.
Until next time,