Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rot & Ruin

Ooh, this was a good one!

Since reading the latest Stephen King a few weeks ago, I have been in the mood for some good old fashioned horror. When it can be added to the eighth grade summer reading list? Even better!

After an unexplained event called First Night turns much of the population into zombies, California is divided into small protected towns and the rot and ruin that surrounds them. For Benny Imura, this is all he has ever known.When Benny can't find a job and his rations are threatened to be cut off, he decides to join his brother as an apprentice bounty hunter. What he finds in the rot and ruin changes everything he knows.

Only now that I am reflecting on it do I realize how subtly author Jonathan Maberry changed the mood in the novel. For a zombie novel, it started out lighthearted, with Benny joking with his friends and a humorous introduction to the jobs that are necessary when the world is overrun by zombies. It doesn't take long, though, for things to fall apart and for Rot & Ruin to become serious.

I love the imagination it took to create this world. What are the fears? Who are the heroes? What is there to reach for? I became very attached to some of the characters and was actively rooting against others. This is what it's like to participate in a book.

Rot & Ruin is too heavy and gory for my sixth graders, but the eighth graders that my friend teaches will eat it up, pun slightly intended.

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