Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Review: Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

So, what exactly does one choose as reading material when one is waiting for one's sweet and lovely baby boy to be born?

Post-apocolyptic zombie-hunting novels, of course.

No, really, it fits! Life will never be the same. And teenage boys are idiots.
"In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human."
There is actually a lot to compare here. Some members of our family hunt, some do not. All of us like animals. The two are not mutually exclusive: there is a difference between hunting and joyfully slaughtering animals. Unfortunately, there are those who do not see the difference, and to teenage boys like Benny, the dramatic always seems the coolest. Hopefully, by the time L. can pick up a gun, he will know the difference. (If not, he won't be picking up a gun!)

Benny learns this lesson, but he's still a 15-year-old boy. He still makes some boneheaded moves and assumptions. He still wants to act first, think later. It takes him a while to accept that his opinions of certain people have been a little off-base.

He is not a charicature, however, and Maberry has somehow made it easy for us to like him and root for him even while we are rolling our eyes and shaking our heads at him. He also strikes a balance between the external and internal action of the story that will appeal to both genders, as well as to different age groups (it is VERY graphic, however, so I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers. M. just finished it and concurs!)

In short, I think this has a wide appeal, even to those who, like me, aren't heavily into the zombie movement. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel soon!

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