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Rot & Ruin Paperback – May 3, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Rot & Ruin (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442402334
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442402331
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (289 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–At first glance, this appears to be a retelling of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Delacorte, 2009) but with a male protagonist. But Maberry's vision of a zombie-infested future has more action, more violence, and more emotional depth. Benny Imura was a baby when the zombie apocalypse happened. His first memory is of his mother handing him to his older half brother as she is being dragged down by his zombie-fied father. He resents Tom for leaving his mother, for running away. To Benny, Tom is a coward. To everyone else in their fenced-in town, Tom is the toughest, bravest zombie killer in California. As Benny approaches his 15th birthday, he must find a job or forfeit half of his food rations. After losing half a dozen jobs, he reluctantly agrees to work as Tom's apprentice in the “Family Business.” When they travel out into the Rot and Ruin, he witnesses things that change his opinion of his brother and forever alter his perception of the world. He also learns that flesh-eating zombies aren't the scariest or most dangerous monsters around. As with all zombie stories, this one requires a fairly large suspension of disbelief, but once the brothers enter the Rot and Ruin, readers become too wrapped up in the plot to dwell on some lapses of logic. The relationship between Benny and Tom becomes surprisingly complex and satisfying, as does the romantic subplot between Benny and his friend Nix. The length of the book may intimidate some reluctant readers but the striking cover, compelling action, and brutal violence will draw them in and keep them reading.–Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries.

He writes in several genres. His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; now in development for film; named in Booklist's Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; nominee for several state Teen Book Awards; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (September 11, 2012; and FIRE & ASH (2013). His thrillers include The Joe Ledger Thrillers from St. Martin's Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel; THE DRAGON FACTORY, 2010; HE KING OF PLAGUES, 2011; ASSASSIN'S CODE, 2011; EXTINCTION MACHINE, 2013; CODE ZER0, 2014, and JOE LEDGER: THE MISSING FILES, 2011 from Blackstone Audio.

His horror novels include The Pine Deep Trilogy from Pinnacle Books (GHOST ROAD BLUES, 2006, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel; DEAD MAN'S SONG, 2007; and BAD MOON RISING, 2008), as well as DEAD OF NIGHT, 2011 and its forthcoming sequel, FALL OF NIGHT, 2014. And the movie novelization, THE WOLFMAN, 2010, winner of the Scribe Award for Best Adaptation.

He is also editor and co-author of V-WARS, a shared-world vampire anthology from IDW.

Jonathan was an expert on the History Channel documentary, ZOMBIES: A Living History. He will also be featured in That $#(!'ll Rot Your Brain: How the Monster Kids Transformed Popular Culture, a forthcoming documentary on horror movies directed by Robert Tinnell.

His many nonfiction works include VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (Citadel Press, 2006); THE CRYPTOPEDIA (Citadel, 2007 -winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction; co-authored by David F. Kramer); ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead (Winner of the Hinzman and Black Quill Awards and finalist for a Stoker Award; 2008); THEY BITE! (2009 co-authored by David F. Kramer); WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE (2010; Bram Stoker finalist; co-authored by Janice Gable Bashman); THE VAMPIRE SLAYERS FIELD GUIDE TO THE UNDEAD (2001, written under the pen name of Shane MacDougall); ULTIMATE JUJUTSU (Strider Nolan, 2001); ULTIMATE SPARRING (Strider Nolan, 2000); JUDO AND YOU (Kendall Hunt 1991); and many others.

He writes a variety of projects for Marvel Comics involving CAPTAIN AMERICA, BLACK PANTHER, DOOMWAR, WOLVERINE, DEADPOOL, THE X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, the NY Times bestselling MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN, MARVEL UNIVERSE vs THE PUNISHER. MARVEL UNIVERSE vs WOLVERINE and the upcoming MARVEL UNIVERSE vs THE AVENGERS. All of Jonathan's comic book collections are released as Graphic Novel collections within a month or two of individual comic publication.

Recent short stories include "A Footnote in the Black Budget" (MADNESS OF CTHULHU, 2013), "Pegleg and Paddy Save the World" (HISTORY IS DEAD, Permuted Press 2007), "Doctor Nine" (KILLERS, Swimming Kangaroo Press, 2008; and reprinted in THE STORIES (in) BETWEEN Edited by Greg Schauer, Jeanne B. Benzel, and W.H. Horner. Fantasist Enterprises, 2009), "Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Greenbrier Ghost" (LEGENDS OF THE MOUNTAIN STATE 2, Bloodletting Books, 2008), "Clean Sweeps" (AND SO IT BEGINS, Dark Quest Books, 2008), "Family Business" (THE NEW DEAD, St. Martin's Press, 2010), "Like Part of the Family" (NEW BLOOD edited by Patrick Thomas and Diane Raetz, Padwolf Press, 2010), "Zero Tolerance" (THE LIVING DEAD 2, Night Shade Books), "Flint and Steel" (GI JOE: COBRA WARS, 2011), "Saint John" (THE MONSTER'S CORNER, 2011, St. Martin's), "Spellcaster 2.0" (An Apple for the Creature, Ace Books, 2012), "Jack and Jill" (21st Century Dead, St. Martin's Griffin,2012), "The Death Song of Dwar Guntha" (Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom, 2012, Simon & Schuster), "The Wind Through the Fence" (an original e-story available for all e-readers), "Property Condemned" (scheduled for the premier issue of NIGHTMARE MAGAZINE), "Chokepoint" (included in THE UNINVITED, Vol 2), and many others. His essay, "Take Me To Your Leader" is included in the nonfiction book, TRIUMPH OF THE WALKING DEAD: Robert Kirkman's Zombie Epic on Page and Screen edited by James Lowder (BenBella Books/Smart Pop, 2011).

In 2012 Blackstone Audio released two collections of Jonathan's short stories: Tales from the Fire Zone and Hungry Tales.

All of Jonathan's novels are available on audio, including the audio-only collection, JOE LEDGER: THE MISSING FILES (Blackstone), which includes the short stories "Countdown", "Zero Tolerance", "Deep Dark", "Material Witness" and "Dog Days". Another Joe Ledger short, "Mad Science", will appear in the audio anthology LIAR LIAR from The Liars Club.

Jonathan is the co-creator (with Laura Schrock) of ON THE SLAB, an entertainment news show in development by Stage 9 for ABC Disney / Stage 9. He was also a 'blog correspondent' on Sony's zombie-themed web show 'WOKE UP DEAD'; and was a recurring character on Laura Schrock's 'IT'S TODD'S SHOW'.

Jonathan's Big Scary Blog (www.jonathanmaberry.com) focuses on the publishing industry. Jonathan's interviews include Sandra Brown, Gayle Lynds, Alafair Burke, Charlaine Harris, James Rollins, Harlan Coben, Jeff Abbott, John Saul, Jonathan Kellerman, Barry Eisler, CJ Box, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jack Ketchum, Tom Piccarilli, Dale Brown, Kevin J. Anderson, Joe Lansdale, Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, Carrie Ryan, and many other best-selling authors.

He is a frequent keynote speaker, guest of honor and workshop leader at genre cons, libraries, writers conferences and publishing industry events, including KeyCon, ThrillerFest, Zombie Fest, Heather Graham's The Writers for New Orleans, Central Coast Writers Conference, NeCon, NY Comic Con, Texas Library Association Annual Conference, Sisters in Crime, BackSpace, PennWriters, Dragon*Con, PhilCon, Horror-Realm, Boucher Con, HorrorFind, Monster Mania, Philadelphia Writers Conference, Balticon, Romance Writers of America, American Library Association, The Write Stuff, Hypericon, AnthoCon, KillerCon, NAIBA, LunaCon, and many others.

Jonathan has sold more than 1,200 feature articles and 3,000 columns; as well as greeting cards, song lyrics, poetry, technical manuals, call-floor scripts, and two plays, including Tales from the Fire Zone. He is developing a psychological thriller novel based on that play.

Jonathan is a Contributing Editor for The Big Thrill (the newsletter of the International Thriller Writers), and is a member of SFWA, IAMTW, MWA, SCBWI, SFWA and HWA, as well as a jurist for the Edgar and Stoker Awards.

Jonathan was the Executive Director of the Writers Room of Bucks County (2005-06) and co-owner of the Writers Corner USA (2006-2009). Jonathan regularly visits local middle schools, high schools and colleges to talk about books, reading, publishing and the writing life. He is a board member of the River Union Stage, a professional equity theater based in Stockton, New Jersey.

Jonathan is a founding member of The Liars Club, a group of networking publishing professionals that includes celebrated authors Merry Jones, Gregory Frost, Jon McGoran, Ed Pettit, Dennis Tafoya, Keith Strunk, Don Lafferty, Kelly Simmons, Marie Lamba, Solomon Jones, Stephen Susco, Chuck Wendig, Sara Shepard, William Lashner, and Laura Schrock. The Liars Club works to support booksellers, raise awareness and support for public libraries, and cultivate a joy of reading and books. The late NY Times bestseller L. A. Banks was a founding member of the Liars Club.

On the last Sunday of every month Jonathan hosts the Writers Coffeehouse, a free three-hour open-agenda networking and discussion session for writers of all genres and levels of skill. The event is held at the Barnes & Noble in Willow Grove Pennsylvania. The Liars Club has begun launching additional Writers Coffeehouses throughout the region.

Jonathan has been a popular writing teacher and career counselor for writers for the last two decades. He teaches a highly regard series of classes and workshops including Write Your Novel in Nine Months, Act Like a Writer, Revise & Sell, Experimental Writing for Teens, and others. Many of his students have gone on to obtain representation and/or publish in short and novel-length fiction, magazine feature writing, nonfiction books, TV, film, and comics.

In 2004 Jonathan was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame largely because of his extensive writings in that field.

Jonathan lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Sara Jo, to whom he dedicates all of his published works, and their dog, Rosie. His stepson, Sam West-Mensch, serves a general manager of Jonathan's writing business.

Visit his website/blog and sign up for his free newsletter at www.jonathanmaberry.com
www.facebook.com/jonathanmaberry, www.twitter.com/jonathanmaberry

Customer Reviews

Rot & Ruin is a must read for zombie fans!
Jennifer Sicurella
Jonathan Maberry did an excellent job developing the characters and creating an interesting setting.
TeensReadToo
This book kept me hooked the whole time I read it.
Haley Bowden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Gold Star Award Winner!

Benny just turned fifteen. In his world, that means he must find a job in order to continue receiving his rations. The problem is, Benny can't find a job he likes. He and his best friend, Chong, waited too long to get one and all the easy jobs are gone. What's left isn't very appealing. He's tried being a locksmith, a fence tester, a fence technician, a carpet coat salesman, a pit thrower, a crank generator repairman, a spotter, a bottler, and an erosion artist. It seems like the only option left is to join the family business.

Benny's brother, Tom, is one of the most respected and successful zombie killers. The problem is, Benny doesn't know why people think Tom's that great. He's never seen Tom do anything especially exciting or impressive - in fact, he's actually turned away from violence, which makes Benny think Tom's a coward. Tom is nothing like the totally cool Zombie Killers like Charlie Pink-Eye and Motor City Hammer. Benny has never intended to do what Tom does. He's always said no every time Tom asked him to become his apprentice. But, his lack of success in any other job has left him no choice.

Benny learns a lot while out in the Rot & Ruin with Tom. He learns about his own past, what it is that Tom really does, and what separates man from monster. Benny's outlook on life completely changes as he begins to realize there might be more to life than just his small town of Mountainside.

ROT & RUIN is a perfect choice for readers who enjoyed THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. Both books take place in a small town of survivors surrounded by fences that keep the zombies out.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ron Edison on October 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you only read one zombie novel this year, this should be the one. Horror, adventure, romance, something to think about (not to mention the zoms) are shaken, stirred and blended into what may be Jonathan Maberry's best novel to date. It's YA, but as gruesome, brutal and thrilling as any contemporary adult genre novel. Exquisite narrative and dialogue with a set of memorable heroes and villains kept me turning the pages, and the conclusion is pointed at a sequel. Should appeal to fans of recent hits like The Enemy (Higson), The Hunger Games (Collins), and more serious zombie fiction by David Wellington and Brian Keene.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Pam van Hylckama Vlieg on September 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I picked Rot and Ruin up at Book Expo America back in May. I read it in August and feel absolutely in love with Maberry's story telling. We follow Benny through his coming of age in a post apocalyptic setting filled with `Zoms'. Benny despises his older brother Tom who is not as cool as the other zombie hunters like Charlie. He is in Benny's eyes weak, after all he left his parents and ran with Benny on First Night instead of saving the whole family.

Benny has it pretty good in his town, he is fed, he doesn't have to see any zombies and although he wants to learn about killing the zoms and is quite bloodthirsty for some action his gym coach tells him to talk to Tom that killing is something you should learn at home. Being fifteen means Benny has to get a job or go to half rations and pretty much starve to death. We watch Benny and his friends as they work for a day at several of the available jobs. While his friends find placement Benny can't find that perfect job so he takes Tom up on his offer of apprenticeship to zombie hunt.

With First Night being recent past history people hire the zombie hunters to put their infected family members to rest when they are past the point of grieving and want to do the right thing about them. Tom shows us that while it is easy to hate zombies that they were once regular people too.

Rot and Ruin has a great dystopic vibe. Technology and electricity and all our creature comforts are still there but survivors of First Night are too afraid to use them. They blame technology for the fall of society. The book also challenges social issues, is it okay to torture the zombies for fun?

If you are a fan of Carrie Ryan, George Romero or Mira Grant you will love Rot and Ruin. Jonathan Maberry is the author of Patient Zero as well.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Child King on June 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm seldom the voice of dissention when it comes to Maberry books because I'm a huge fan. After reading Rot & Ruin, it's difficult to believe that the bloated, overly-postulating, aimlessly meandering composition therein could possibly come from the man who penned the Pine Deep trilogy or Patient Zero. If there is credit to be offered here, it is in the fairly unique tack of making zombies the object of sympathy instead of scrutiny. Envisioning a world where family members would want their zombie loved ones "quieted" by a tender bounty hunter was promising. Sadly, R&R just couldn't deliver. The prose and much of the dialogue are rudimentary at best. Through the book, it was obvious that Maberry himself knew a lot of what he was writing was gobbledygook because he would postulate through Tom a question, then Benny would reply, "But that's stupid." Tom would nod and the reader would be left thinking, "Yep, pretty stupid, and thanks for not trying to make a coherent argument for why that is because we wouldn't believe that either." If it was just the prose and ridiculous arguments, I might have given R&R a pass, but the fact that this is essentially a road novel, with obvious protagonists that are utterly foolish cardboard caricatures, backstory that is uninspired and so many ridiculous, cliched plot elements, I just can't recommend it. One thread will make my point, (PLOT ELEMENTS BEYOND)you should not read further if you don't want any revelations. When Benny and Tom become the object of Crazy and Hammer's wrath (jeez even the names are horrible cliches), instead of just putting bullets in them, the villains begin comprising elaborate scenarios to dispose of them. We have the torturing and killing of a townsman that is then placed outside B&T's door as a trap.Read more ›
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