Friday, July 26, 2013

'Dust & Decay' (Rot & Ruin) by Jonathan Maberry

Official Summary:
Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them.

Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?

In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.

I don't remember how I discovered Jonathan Maberry but it was probably back in the old MBTA commute days where every few weeks an Amazon bookstore day was needed to restock the queue. The entire ride up into work (never back because getting a seat heading out of the Park Street station during rush hour is near impossible) would be spent perusing Amazon's reading recommendations and downloading the next months title selections. That kind of convenience is the big reason I'm still remise to give up my Kindle with 3G even though the model with wifi would work just fine at home... wherever I am, I can always shop for books.

Anyway, I digress.

On that fateful day, sometime in late 2011, the first Maberry title I would ever read, Dead of Night landed on my Kindle by way of WhisperNet, and it was awesome. So awesome in fact that it not only spurred a zombie titles influx on the reading list (World War Z, Married With Zombies & Warm Bodies to name a few), but Jonathan Maberry made his way onto my author watch lists. 

Being on my author watch list is a BIG DEAL because being on that list means that I'll probably read everything you ever publish, including your pre-teen novels like the Rot and Ruin books, of which the second title is Dust & Decay, the supposed focus of this other chatter

What I'm trying to say is that Jonathan Maberry is a great writer. Not only because all of his novels are interesting and touching even when the backdrop is filled with flesh eating monsters, but because it is exceptionally tailored to his audience.  If I were twelve this series of books would some of the best stuff out there. Unfortunately, I'm in my thirties and the writing and story lines in this series are just too simplistic.

The Bottom Line: While I love Maberry's more mature titles and don't plan on letting them fall off my radar anytime soon, the language and plot lines explored in the Rot & Ruin series are much better suited for younger readers. As such, I'm still giving this title the green light it deserves, just be aware that if you're looking for a more graphic zombie experience than I'd say check out his Joe Ledger series or Dead of Night and pass this title onto the nearest horror or dystopia loving tween in your life. I think they'd love it.

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