Author: Jonathan Mayberry
Published: September 14, 2010
Description from Goodreads:
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.
The world changed 15 years ago when something made people into zombies who spread the sickness by biting. Now the populations exist in small groups behind wire fences, and the zombies rule most of the world. This is the setting where Benny Imura is introduced, now at the age when he must declare a vocation in order to live in the town and share in its resources. After trying several jobs he decides to follow in his brothers footsteps and become a zombie killer. But the job is nothing like he imagined and as he leaves the town to venture into the world he learns many life lessons.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this novel and I was pleasantly surprised. Mayberry has provided a wonderful story about what is important in life, tucked into a zombie novel with lots of action. There are so many colorful characters inside, including Tom Imura, Benny's brother, his childhood friends and Lilah, the wild girl who is the object of legend, living alone in the wilds and killing zombies that wander the world outside the gates ("the ruin").
Benny doesn't really like Tom, he is nothing like the "cool" zombie killers named Charlie Pink Eye and he can't imagine why he is respected by the townspeople. When Tom takes him into the Rot & Ruin he comes to see Tom as a compassionate man who sees zombies for what they once were - people like them with hopes and dreams, and lives worth living. He sees how Tom uses this compassion to "quiet" the zombies and give them a final death.
He also comes to see the cruel people who use the zombies for fun and games. He realizes that the world inside the gates of Mountainside is only a glimpse of what is really happening. When his friend is kidnapped and taken to be used in zombie fights he must risk everything to save her.
Mayberry has created an interesting world where zombies outnumber the living and the world is a dangerous, dark place. But it also holds spots of goodness if you look for it. There is plenty of zombie type violence here, but it is used as needed to make the story real. I found this one of the better YA novels with zombies. I found myself immersed in the Rot and Ruin and could not stop reading until I found out how things turned out. I highly recommend the book for the moral story it teaches. It will be appreciated by teens and adults for the wonderful story it tells.
Rating: A wonderful story with zombies, don't miss this one
Author: Jonathan Mayberry