Rot & Ruin by Jonathan MaberryRot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Rot & Ruin

byJonathan Maberry

Paperback | May 3, 2011

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 75 plum® points

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


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.
Jonathan Maberry was born on May 18, 1958. His early books dealt mainly with martial arts and self defense. He then wrote a number of books on the folklore and beliefs of the occult and paranormal including Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us and Hunger for Us, Zombie CSU, and They Bite. His f...
Title:Rot & RuinFormat:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.3 inPublished:May 3, 2011Publisher:Simon & Schuster Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442402334

ISBN - 13:9781442402331

Appropriate for ages: 12


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Rot and Ruin It has the action that zombie fans would want, with well-crafted characters, too. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-07-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Refreshing Twist So many zombie novels all seem to follow the same plot points but this one pleasantly surprised me. They don't focus as much on the zombies and more on deeper aspects of humanity, but it was still full of action and intrigue that was paced really well throughout the book.
Date published: 2017-03-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great YA read I was given this book as a gift, and while the reading was easy, I did enjoy it. If you want something simple and fast-paced, it's a good read for that.
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Good!! This book surprised me - what looks to be a gross-me-out zombie book on the outside is actually a story rife with humanity and compassion - and it still works as an action packed zombie book! Good stuff!
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Series EVER! Full of danger, intrigue and action, this stunningly crafted story will take you to another place you will not want to leave. #PlumReview
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Refreshing Zombie Novel This I picked up by complete chance and was surprised but how much I enjoy reading this. The world and characters created are amazingly well done and after I was finished I went right out and got the second in the series, really excited to see how this develops. HIGHLY recommend!!
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Best all round Zombie Novel This is the quality zombie inspired novel that I have been waiting for. Many books of the walking dead tell of mindless killers roaming every where wrecking havoc. These serve as the backdrop to some other story about the survivors. In this series, they are integral to the entire plot, not their activites, but how they are perceived and how they are treated. Benny Imura barely remembers life before First Night. That was the night everything changed, when the dead no longer stayed dead. He's been living with his brother in a fenced community and now that he's fifteen, he's required to train for a job. He tries many jobs, but none of them suit. He finally decides to do the last thing he said he'd ever do, to continue in the family business of zombie killer. That means spending days on end with his older brother Tom, who he views as a coward. As the training progresses, Benny starts to see Tom in a whole new light. He also learns much more about the world he thought he knew. Through this story, author Jonathan Maberry considers the many ways that the survivors deal with the zombies from outright slaughter, to a compassionate approach that recalls that the zombies were once their family members, friends and neighbours. He also looks at the variety of communities that have sprung up, several of them were not ones that I would have considered at all. This book is well written and should appeal to it's target YA audience. I am looking forward to reading the further books in the in the series.
Date published: 2015-02-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Rot and Ruin Pretty good book
Date published: 2014-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book It's a great book and would definitely recommend
Date published: 2014-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Great book ever
Date published: 2014-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is the real Hunger Games! Move over Katniss and Tris, there's a new hero in town and it's Tom Imura - along with his brother Benny. It’s been 14 years since the grey plague hit and the world has decayed into a dusty ruin sprinkled with pockets of civilization and the not so civilized. Millions of zombies wander the land and staying safe from the dead and the living is an everyday battle. This zombie trilogy is amazing. Fast-paced, lots of action and great characters. You’ll find this series in the teen section but like Twilight , Harry Potter and Hunger Games this is great fun for adults too! Check out “Dust and Decay” and “Flesh and Bone”.
Date published: 2014-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read Great book. recommend!!
Date published: 2013-11-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Was hoping for better... It wasn't as good as I thought and i was hoping for better. Good plot and message but it was kinda boring. The characters were amazing and I thought they were really thought out and they were really full of heart.
Date published: 2013-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent I read this book in one sitting. That wasn't my intention but I just could not put it down! Well written, fun to read and a little freaky too. The characters were great, realistically written and you really get invested in them. I would highly recommend to anyone interested in apocalypse type boosk or even dystopian novels. This is different from books like The Hunger Games and Divergent because it takes place only 15 years later. Many other dystopian books take place in almost a completely different world with very few things being recognizable. Great book and a great recommendation from
Date published: 2012-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of the best 'zom' books out there! I enjoyed reading this novel through and through. Sure, Benny Imura is rather hard to deal with in the first part of this book. His attitude is something close to a lazy brat who doesn’t enjoy any of the jobs he gets. Even when he becomes Tom’s apprentice, his attitude still doesn’t let up. Yet that’s the best part of Benny’s character, because it develops in a big way throughout this book. He goes from immature, to mature as the novel progresses. I enjoy reading Benny’s friendships with Chong and Nix. Especially with Chong. They both make a perfect friendship and that’s where some of the humor comes from. Character development in this book is wonderful and well done with all of the main characters. Of all the characters, Benny’s attitude wasn’t so great but it improved as the book went along. I found it hard to like Nix. She just wasn’t that great in my opinion. (Lilah on the other hand, ended up becoming one of my favorite characters, second to Tom). The plot of this book was also good. The action was great and everything you could want in a zombie plot. Yet besides zombies, there’s also the threat of not so nice humans out there and this is what I liked the most about the book. It’s not all just pure killing zombies, but also what humanity does in horrible situations and what some very horrible people are quite capable of doing. This was well done, as like Benny, we’re assuming this is all going to be about zombie killing. Tom shows Benny and the reader what’s it really like, getting rid of these ‘zoms’. Zombie fans rejoice, this is one of the better books out there regarding the subject. It’s catered to a younger audience but readers of all ages should enjoy this one as much as I did. Most definitely recommended!
Date published: 2012-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry -- After the First Night, everybody and everything was different. The lucky had survived, and most of them lived within small fenced towns like Mountainside – terrified of the millions of zoms that waited outside the iron gates. Living only with his older brother Tom, Benny joins the family business as a last resort for a job. Little did he know that it would change him forever. When his childhood friend Nix is kidnapped by one of the worst bounty hunters around, Benny finds himself on a long journey to find her, as well as a mysterious Lost Girl that will take him far beyond the fence, and far into the great Rot and Ruin. -- For a zombie novel, this book was pretty damn good. I really enjoyed reading it, and I thought that the writing was unique and appealing to me. A lot of the writing touches on the way people think, and how they thought and acted after the First Night of the zombie apocalypse. How the characters talked about the behaviour of other people in the book, I thought all of that was very well written and interesting to read – party because it was all logical and made perfect sense. The one thing that I didn’t like was Benny at the beginning of the book. I know that Maberry was trying to portray him as an immature, naive boy… but when I read it, it seemed to me like he was younger than 15. When I read it, even after I learned his age… I still pictured him as a 12 year old. Even the most immature people at age 15 aren’t as bad as he was. I understand the special exception rule, but it still kind of bothered me if you know what I mean, I don’t think there is much else to say, and I still thought the story was really great for zombies. Maberry added a lot of other elements that made the plot interesting, which is what other books sometimes fail to do. I give it a 4 out of 5. It seems to me like this needs a sequel, there is so much more that can be done! They need to go east and find out where the Jumbo Jet they saw came from. Anyway, check out his blog Later Cheese Graters, MRR
Date published: 2010-12-26

Read from the Book

1BENNY IMURA COULDN’T HOLD A JOB, SO HE TOOK TO KILLING.It was the family business. He barely liked his family—and by family he meant his older brother, Tom—and he definitely didn’t like the idea of “business.” Or work. The only part of the deal that sounded like it might be fun was the actual killing.He’d never done it before. Sure, he’d gone through a hundred simulations in gym class and in the Scouts, but they never let kids do any real killing. Not before they hit fifteen.“Why not?” he asked his Scoutmaster, a fat guy named Feeney who used to be a TV weatherman back in the day. Benny was eleven at the time and obsessed with zombie hunting. “How come you don’t let us whack some real zoms?”“Because killing’s the sort of thing you should learn from your folks,” said Feeney.“I don’t have any folks,” Benny countered. “My mom and dad died on First Night.”“Ouch. Sorry, Benny—I forgot. Point is, you got family of some kind, right?”“I guess. I got ‘I’m Mr. Freaking Perfect Tom Imura’ for a brother, and I don’t want to learn anything from him.”Feeney had stared at him. “Wow. I didn’t know you were related to him. He’s your brother, huh? Well, there’s your answer, kid. Nobody better to teach you the art of killing than a professional killer like Tom Imura.” Feeney paused and licked his lips nervously. “I guess being his brother and all, you’ve seen him take down a lot of zoms.”“No,” Benny said with huge annoyance. “He never lets me watch.”“Really? That’s odd. Well, ask him when you turn thirteen.”Benny had asked on his thirteenth birthday, and Tom had said no. Again. It wasn’t a discussion. Just “No.”That was more than two years ago, and now Benny was six weeks past his fifteenth birthday. He had four more weeks grace to find a paying job before town ordinance cut his rations by half. Benny hated being in that position, and if one more person gave him the “fifteen and free” speech, he was going to scream. He hated that as much as when people saw someone doing hard work and they said crap like, “Holy smokes, he’s going at that like he’s fifteen and out of food.”Like it was something to be happy about. Something to be proud of. Working your butt off for the rest of your life. Benny didn’t see where the fun was in that. Okay, maybe it was marginally okay because it meant only half days of school from then on, but it still sucked.His buddy Lou Chong said it was a sign of the growing cultural oppression that was driving postapocalyptic humanity toward acceptance of a new slave state. Benny had no freaking idea what Chong meant or if there was even meaning in anything he said. But he nodded agreement because the look on Chong’s face always made it seem like he knew exactly what was what.At home, before he even finished eating his dessert, Tom had said, “If I want to talk about you joining the family business, are you going to chew my head off? Again?”Benny stared venomous death at Tom and said, very clearly and distinctly, “I. Don’t. Want. To. Work. In. The. Family. Business.”“I’ll take that as a ‘no,’ then.”“Don’t you think it’s a little late now to try and get me all excited about it? I asked you a zillion times to—”“You asked me to take you out on kills.”“Right! And every time I did you—”Tom cut him off. “There’s a lot more to what I do, Benny.”“Yeah, there probably is, and maybe I would have thought the rest was something I could deal with, but you never let me see the cool stuff.”“There’s nothing ‘cool’ about killing,” Tom said sharply.“There is when you’re talking about killing zoms!” Benny fired back.That stalled the conversation. Tom stalked out of the room and banged around the kitchen for a while, and Benny threw himself down on the couch.Tom and Benny never talked about zombies. They had every reason to, but they never did. Benny couldn’t understand it. He hated zoms. Everyone hated them, though with Benny it was a white-hot consuming hatred that went back to his very first memory. Because it was his first memory—a nightmare image that was there every night when he closed his eyes. It was an image that was seared into him, even though it was something he had seen as a tiny child.Dad and Mom.Mom screaming, running toward Tom, shoving a squirming Benny—all of eighteen months—into Tom’s arms. Screaming and screaming. Telling him to run.While the thing that had been Dad pushed its way through the bedroom door that Mom had tried to block with a chair and lamps and anything else she could find.Benny remembered Mom screaming words, but the memory was so old and he had been so young that he didn’t remember what any of them were. Maybe there were no words. Maybe it was just her screaming.Benny remembered the wet heat on his face as Tom’s tears fell on him as they climbed out of the bedroom window. They had lived in a ranch-style house. One story. The window emptied out into a yard that was pulsing with red and blue police lights. There were more shouts and screams. The neighbors. The cops. Maybe the army. Thinking back, Benny figured it was probably the army. And the constant popping of gunfire, near and far away.But of all of it, Benny remembered a single last image. As Tom clutched him to his chest, Benny looked over his brother’s shoulder at the bedroom window. Mom leaned out of the window, screaming at them as Dad’s pale hands reached out of the shadows of the room and dragged her back out of sight.That was Benny’s oldest memory. If there had been older memories, then that image had burned them away. Because he had been so young the whole thing was little more than a collage of pictures and noises, but over the years Benny had burned his brain to reclaim each fragment, to assign meaning and sense to every scrap of what he could recall. Benny remembered the hammering sound vibrating against his chest that was Tom’s panicked heartbeat, and the long wail that was his own inarticulate cry for his mom and his dad.He hated Tom for running away. He hated that Tom hadn’t stayed and helped Mom. He hated what their dad had become on that First Night all those years ago. Just as he hated what Dad had turned Mom into.In his mind they were no longer Mom and Dad. They were the things that had killed them. Zoms. And he hated them with an intensity that made the sun feel cold and small.“Dude, what is it with you and zoms?” Chong once asked him. “You act like the zoms have a personal grudge against you.”“What, I’m supposed to have fuzzy bunny feelings for them?” Benny had snapped back.“No,” Chong had conceded, “but a little perspective would be nice. I mean … everybody hates zoms.”“You don’t.”Chong had shrugged his bony shoulders and his dark eyes had darted away. “Everybody hates zoms.”The way Benny saw it, when your first memory was of zombies killing your parents, then you had a license to hate them as much as you wanted. He tried to explain that to Chong, but his friend wouldn’t be drawn back into the conversation.A few years ago, when Benny found out that Tom was a zombie hunter, he hadn’t been proud of his brother. As far as he was concerned, if Tom really had what it took to be a zombie hunter, he’d have had the guts to help Mom. Instead, Tom had run away and left Mom to die. To become one of them.Tom came back into the living room, looked at the remains of the dessert on the table, then looked at Benny on the couch.“The offer still stands,” he said. “If you want to do what I do, then I’ll take you on as an apprentice. I’ll sign the papers so you can still get full rations.”Benny gave him a long, withering stare.“I’d rather be eaten by zoms than have you as my boss,” Benny said.Tom sighed, turned, and trudged upstairs. After that they didn’t talk to each other for days.© 2010 Jonathan Maberry

Editorial Reviews

"An action-packed, thought-provoking look at life—and death—as readers determine the true enemy."--Kirkus Reviews