last august, i posted about THE NEW DEAD, a collection of stories that deal with a world full of zombies. one of the more memorable stories in the collection was jonathan maberry’s FAMILY BUSINESS.
i didn’t mention the story when i posted about THE NEW DEAD, because by then i had already found out that maberry was going to release a whole book based on the short story he had written.
and so i waited for ROT & RUIN to be released.
i got the book around a month ago, but only found the time to read it now. and i wish i hadn’t waited so long, because the book was well-written–and very heartfelt.
when reading zombie fiction, i always look for something that would set what i’m reading apart from the things i’ve already read and seen before. ROT & RUIN reminds me a little of mira grant’s FEED; but instead of setting the story in a political terrain, ROT & RUIN sets the story a little closer to home.
ROT & RUIN tells the story of benjamin imura, a teenager who must look for a part-time job in a post-apocalyptic world. everyone assumes that benjamin, or benny as he is known to everyone, would apprentice with his older brother tom. tom’s a bounty hunter, but he prefers the term “closure specialist.” benny doesn’t think much of his brother–especially since his first memory of tom is of him running away from their infected parents during first night.
but when tom takes benny out into the great rot and ruin, benny’s way of thinking begins to change. and just in time too, because their life in mountainside is about to get complicated.
ROT & RUIN is a coming-of-age story set in the post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. benny, our main character, journeys to learn that the world isn’t confined within the fences of their town. and that zombies are not the only things he should be keeping an eye out for.
to be quite honest, i was wary of ROT & RUIN as a full-length novel. i liked FAMILY BUSINESS, and how it was able to convey the emotions connected to closure. so i was afraid that the novel would stretch that a bit too thin. but i shouldn’t have worried. ROT & RUIN is rich in characters and in details, that while the events of FAMILY BUSINESS does still happen in the novel, it’s now just part of a bigger picture–of a bigger world that we’re going to discover in the next book.