Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry
Rot and Ruin
Simon & Schuster
458 pages

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.


Zombie literature is probably the only subgenre in literature that decays faster than other subgenre that is known. It doesn't feel so lively. Not only it features zombies--which apparently, for your information, are not alive, but zombie literature has formulaic structure--as shown in image above that I created out of boredom to show the effect of #unemployment. 

Rot & Ruin, unfortunately, falls perfectly to such formula. It starts with a zombie apocalypse fourteen years ago, and then the remaining survivors start to build civilization from scratch and live happily ever after. Or not really. There's a zombie infestation at the middle of the book. Then we are introduced to our real villain: not zombie, of course, but a human being who's as alive as Queen Elizabeth II. Then a final battle with the villain and some zombies. And, the peace is acquired. Or not really, according to next book

I bought this book from my fellow, Akhfin, and it's in hardcover. When I first opened the wrapping--which is really neat and super cool, Akhfin, and I accidentally ripped the cover, but never mind--my jaw dropped. The book is really cool, you know, because there's really cool illustration of zombie cards collection that appear in the book. The cover is really cool too, and then I realized that I am using words "cool" more than a 12-year-old boy who goes through his puberty age. But, seriously, this book has that cool atmosphere feeling. I know I should, at least, like this book. 

I like it honestly, but I am more frustrated in reading the book. I have to give Maberry some credit, though, because he tries to introduce new element in the book with his humanity touch. He portrays zombies are not only a cold-bloodless and haggard murder machine that are ravenous, but he portray them that they are human too in some part of their past. It is not groundbreaking, though it brings the book to the whole new different aspect. Some part are preachy, some part are touching and heartwarming--if that's ever possible in a zombie literature book. It feels like that some zombie-author (author who writes zombie literature I mean, not author who turns into zombie) try really hard to keep this subgenre fresh. Marion in Warm Bodies, for example, deliberately portrays zombies as something that has feeling--and lust if I must say. That book is not bad to be honest, but it's not something that will earn Pulitzer either. 

As if I hadn't tortured enough, Maberry decides to shove us a triangle-underage-love that is super cringeworthy. I feel really uncomfortable reading the semi-triangle-love between Benny, Nix, and (view spoiler) as if I just committed a crime--or watched kid-porn. Their interaction feels so awkward, the dialog feels so awkward. I mean, come on Benny, you haven't even known how to integrate in Calculus, but you have slept with a girl? That makes me look really bad. Nah, just kidding. But, I am serious about the relationship though.

The third point of view feels so rigid like it's shot by an amateur cameraman. The transition is not smooth, the narration feels like he just woke up from deep slumber, so unfocused and stiff. I have to try to stop rolling my eyes when I read the book. And it's not only that. The characters also contribute in this atrocity. Benny, our main character, are so unstable and his character development seems forced, but what can I expect from a fifteen-year teenage boy? For someone who lives in a dystopian world, I think the harsh world hasn't hit enough. My favorite character is Tom, Benny's older brother, which is really cool. (Cool count: 7). He reminds me of Daryl from Walking Dead, even though Tom sometimes can be Tom-ex-machina. But, he's cool so he passed my judgment. The other characters are not even worth mentioning, even the villain.

So, why three stars (or why 6.2) which are more than rating I gave to thisand this? Because the fight scene is amazingly built and executed. The fight scene is bloody, and I must admit that I forget to breathe when I read the fight scene with either human or zombie. I think what I like about zombie literature is its thrill, except for Warm Bodies. Sorry, Marion. Your book only turns on what should've not turned on. At least, it's entertaining. 

And this book is really cool with those cool illustrations and anything. (Cool count: 10).
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