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Rot & Ruin (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) Library Binding – May 3, 2011
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies, Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter.
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I have read a LOT of semi pro zombie series that have thousands of very high ratings that are incredibly marginal books. This is not one of those.
The character's emotions and actions are believable. No crazy coincidences, stupid luck etc to get people in or out of trouble.
An example of a series with a large popular folloing is zombie fallout. I gave up reading zombie fallout to book 4. That series was absolutely horrible (unless you like juvenile comedy fart jokes which many do - like deadpool).
This series is a serious book, well written, with characters that are consistent and have a good backstory. There is even some moderately sophisticated philosophy going on as well.
I would put it in the same league as books like the dust/wool series, day by day armageddon, forest of teeth and hands and the remaining as far as being engaging and enjoyable to read.
In a zombie apocalypse book I never expected to feel sorry for the zombies but it seems that is the case here. In most zombie books they are the enemy (brains.....brains....brains...). It is run away from them to survive and I don't suggest you hug one is this book either, but did you every stop to think, who are the zombies? They are your family and friends and neighbors. Everyone has lost someone in the Rot and Ruin.
Benny and Tom are brothers who escaped on first night zombies came into the world and found refuge in a small walled town. Benny was so young when it happened but he still has a few memories from that time and blames Tom for running away and not helping their parents. They have an estranged relationship, but that all starts to change when Benny teams up with Tom and learns the brother he thought he knew his whole life is not at all what or who Benny thought he was.
This is a story of friendship and loyalties. You don't have to be a zombie to be bad, there are plenty of people who are as evil as they come and Benny learns that the hard way as he explores outside of the fenced town he grew up in. More than just that town survived and Benny comes to realize that living in a gated town isn't the only way to go. Some people have survived out in the wilderness and he is inexplicably drawn to a lost and wild girl named Lilah, who has lived in the wild practically all her life.
There are some great side characters in Benny's friends that will probably come into more play later in the series but Jix was by far my favorite with her quick tongue and sharp humor.
"Benny Imura," she said with a rare flicker of a smile on her mouth, "if you are going to say something like 'I love you' and you choose here, in a way station out in the Rot and Ruin to do it, so help me, I will kick your ass."
Benny has to decide how much he will risk to save Jix and ultimately choose between the friend he had all his life and the strange lost girl on a trading card he feels drawn to.
This book had plenty of action and adventure along the journey to introduce this world. There are a few disturbing scenes of cruelty to zombies. It was a fun and fast read and great if you or your kids like zombies or dystopias
Guys, I love me a zombie book. Some of my favorite books ever are zombie books. There’s just something about the way they bring up questions about what makes someone human and what makes someone a monster that I find hugely compelling and this book was no different. It doesn’t help that it feels a lot like an episode of Supernatural either. Maberry creates a desolate wasteland in which America has succumbed to the zombie apocalypse and it’s such a haunting setting for the story and an apt metaphor for life. Survivors have created small towns to live in, away from the rest of the world which has been dubbed The Rot and Ruin. These settlement camps are actually tight knit communities of people trying to move on with their life, but having no idea how to do so. Most of the time, people live and die in these small spaces without ever trying to find something better out there and it’s heartbreaking, but also very real. Because who wants to tempt fate when a zombie horde could come along? People have a hard enough time breaking out of their comfort zones and trying to do something scary without a bunch of flesh eating monsters to worry about.
This book hits you heard with FAMILY FEELS. Tom Imura is one of the best characters I’ve come across in a while. He’s such an interesting mix of grace, honor, and obligation. He genuinely loves his little brother and wants to help build a world for him that will actually mean something in the end, that can offer him something more than just waiting to die. He serves as a great mentor and is a fully fleshed out almost main character. He’s the yin to Benny’s yang and it’s a truly wonderful and interesting dichotomy that’s explored between the brothers. Benny is a good protagonist in his own right and we spend most of the time in his head and you can actually feel and see him growing as a person as his journey into the zombie wasteland continues. He learns a lot about himself, his brother, and what it means to be a human being in a world of the dead. It brings up complex moral dilemmas in a very organic, beautiful way. There are times it does’t even feel like a young adult novel to me and instead reads like a haunting treatise on the human condition and the choices we make in order to live.
The pace is also pretty action packed and there were moments where I found myself holding my breath wondering what was going to happen next. The heart of this book, really, is the family aspect and the bond between brothers as they learn things about each other they didn’t know before. It’s of note that Benny and Tom don’t really know each other well at all in the beginning of this book even though they’re the only family they have left and they live in such a confined world and it really speaks to Maberry’s credit as a storyteller that their relationship progression was so rewarding and finely revealed. There is a bit of romance in the book as well, as Benny’s longtime friend Nix is a secondary character with a crush that becomes pretty complicated, but it’s by no means a focal point of the story. So if you like your YA novels with a little more emphasis on love of the romantic persuasion, you might be a bit disappointed. However, I’m sure this aspect is going to come into play in a much bigger way later in the series. All in all, I really enjoyed the book and have already Kindled the second installment.