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Rot & Ruin
Book
2011
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

It's been 14 years since First Night, when the dead came back to life. Six billion people have died (and reanimated) since then, and America has collapsed into isolated communities living within the great Rot and Ruin. Benny is 15, which means it's time to get a job or face cut rations, but his general laziness leaves him with only one employment option: join his stuffy, sword-swinging, Japanese half-brother, Tom, as an apprentice bounty hunter. This means heading beyond the gates to slice and dice zoms, but Benny quickly begins to see the undead in a new light as well as realizing that Tom is much more than he ever let on. The plot is driven by an evil bounty-hunter rival and the cruel games he plays, but Maberry has more than gore on his mind. The chief emotion here is sadness, and the book plays out like an extended elegy for a lost world. Tom's a bit too perfect and his pontification too extended, but this is nevertheless an impressive mix of meaning and mayhem.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

It's been 14 years since First Night, when a zombie apocalypse turned America into the Rot and Ruin wasteland and war-torn survivors formed a new community behind a protective fence and away from "Godless behaviors." Rescued at the age of two on First Night by his older stepbrother Tom, Benny Imura, a reticent bounty hunter, must now take a job. The teen begrudgingly accompanies his seemingly cowardly brother into the Rot and Ruin, where he discovers an Old West lawlessness, a gang of renegade bounty hunters kidnapping children to pit against zoms for sport, a mysterious Lost Girl who's lived in the Ruin all her life and Tom's true character. In his first YA novel, prolific zombie writer Maberry (Patient Zero, 2009, etc.) blends a community structure and terrifying zombie chase scenes reminiscent of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth (2009) with the ethical dilemmas (e.g., the power of fear and the nature of evil) of Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking series. The result is an action-packed, thought-provoking look at lifeand deathas readers determine the true enemy. (Science fiction. 13 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
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.
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