Rot & Ruin is set about fifteen years after the first night; when people stopped dying for good and started rising from the dead. As expected, the first night sent the world into a whirlwind of panic and a battle for survival. A baby during the first night, Benny Imura was rescued by his older half-brother, Tom.
These days, most people won’t leave the secuity of the chain link fences which surround towns that have sprung up in the years since the first night. Within these fences life has been pieced back together. Towns have been built, families created, adults go to work and kids go to school, trading happens. In Mountainside, once you turn fifteen you need to find a job or else your rations will be halved. After a string of failed attempts, Tom offers to take Benny on as an apprentice; he is a zombie hunter out in the rot and ruin. Tom is a local hero. The police and mayor love him; all the women want to be with him and all the men want to be him. All except Benny and his heroes: bounty hunters Charlie Pink-eye and Motor City Hammer. They believe Tom is a coward, not worth the ground he stands on.
As Benny begins his training, Tom realises that Benny has no understanding of what life is like beyond the fences. Beyond the fence there are no laws or enforcers of the law. It is rough and dangerous and no one is there to save you. During his first trip beyond the walls, his life as he knows and his veiws about it rapidly change, as it starts to look like his life and the lives of all he cares about may be in danger.
Rot & Ruin is not my normal type of book but I had challenged myself to try new things this year. It is a great first book in a series and it can also be read as a stand alone. I sped through book one to four in the space of a week. The final book Bits & Pieces is more of a collection of stories woven through memories of our favourite characters, and some new characters, beginning at the first night right through to present day. Rot & Ruin is not only a zombie book, it is a coming of age story that just happens to be filled with zombies.
Reviewed by Kristen Clothier
Catalogue link: Rot & Ruin