Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Maberry, Jonathan.  Rot & Ruin. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.  2010. ISBN 1442402326

Reader’s Annotation: Benny Imura is forced to apprentice under the brother he despises as a zombie hunter. Little does he realize how much he will learn about what being brave and humane really means.

Plot Summary: In this post-apocalyptic America where zombis now infest most of America and people huddle within reinforced compounds every teenager has to find a job or have their rations cut in half.  Benny Imura is forced to apprentice as a zombie hunter under his older brother Tom who he despises as a coward who let their mother die.  Through his training he realizes that there is more to the story and that zombie hunting isn’t the fun and games he thought it would be.

Critical Evaluation

For readers going in expecting your typical hack and slash zombie book look elsewhere.  The world and characters Maberry weaves will hook you in and leave you surprisingly invested in the characters.  Benny’s character is often times irritating but the growth in his character is neat to watch as he realizes that his brother Tom isn’t so much a hunter but someone who is striving to give people the closure they need after the zombie apocalypse.  Tom’s character is simply amazing.  His skill with weapons and survival is top-notch and the amount of angst he puts up with from Benny is a true testament to his patience and understanding.

The story itself is pretty much non-stop action and there is never a dull moment.  There is some violence and gore but that’s not the focus of the story.  Instead it’s focused on Benny’s growth in maturity, dealing with his brother and friends and coming to terms with the way the world is outside his little community.

This book while I think girls will enjoy it is definitely a must recommend for teenage boys.  It’s a great book and is the first in a series.

About the author

Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times best-selling author and has won multiple Bram Stoker Awards.  He writes both adult and young adult fiction and Rot & Ruin is the first book in the Benny Imura series.

In addition to his fictional works he also has written several non-fiction books such as The Dryptopedia and Wanted Undead or Alive among others.  He also is the author of several projects for Marvel Comics.



Curriculum Ties


Book talking idea

What would you do in a zombieapocalypse? Run, hunker down and try to wait it out, go out in a blaze of glory?

Reading level

Ages 14 and up.

Challenge Issues


Why did I include this book

I really enjoyed Maberry’s adult zombie books and I’ve said before he is the only author who can get me so invested in the characters in a zombie book that I tear up at times.  I’ve heard great things about his young adult series and I wanted to include something that would appeal to the more reluctant male teen reader.


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Filed under Fiction, Post-war/apocalylptic/disaster

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