Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 480 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Benny Imura series
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 5/5 stars
This was a spectacular post-apocalyptic zombie read. I am honestly a bit burned out on this genre, but I loved this book. It has a more philosophical tone to it than a lot of zombie books out there. I really enjoyed the characters, the world, and the just the way the book was written in general.
I listened to this on audiobook and really enjoyed it. The narrator graspes the mood of the book very well and does a good job with all the different character voices.
Benny Imura is fifteen and it is time for him to choose his trade. If he doesn’t find a job his rations will be cut. Benny lives in a world where most of humanity has been wiped out by/turned into zombies. He lives in the small fenced in community of Mountainside, where most people do their best to ignore the world beyond the fence. Benny lives with his brother, Tom. Tom is one of the few bounty hunters who venture outside the fence into the Rot and Ruin. And…well…Benny is about to find out what Tom really does.
This was a really well done post-apocalyptic zombie read. Tom is really what makes this whole book. Tom has this samurai-like way of looking at the world. He is noble, incredibly tough, and ridiculed by those who don’t understand him. Tom sees the zombies and the Rot in Ruin in a way that is wise, sympathetic, and contemplative. Tom is determined to make the zombie-hating Benny see what he sees.
Benny is a brat. He hates zombies and wants them to die, he hates Mountainside and doesn’t understand why the people in Mountainside won’t reclaim some of the land. He is an all around fifteen year old know-it-all. But as he spends more time with Tom that starts to change.
Nix is the heroine in the story and she has led a rough life. Unfortunately for her it’s about to get rougher. Some old grievances between her mother and a bounty hunter named Charlie Pink-Eye are about to come to light.
As the story progresses we find that the evil in the world is more about certain people that inhabit it than the zombies. Benny learns the hardest rule of all, which is that there are no laws in the Rot and Ruin.
The book was incredibly well written and very interesting read. I enjoyed the zen-like samurai warrior feel that Tom brings to the story. It was easy to engage with the characters and I really felt Benny’s pain as he learned the truth of how the world works. The pace is somewhat deliberate, slowly building tension until things explode into danger and action.
Overall I loved this book. It was an incredibly well done zombie book. It has good action and excellent characters, but also an introspective quality to it that many zombie books lack. Highly recommended to fans of post-apocalyptic zombie books. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series, Dust and Decay.