I admit to struggling to get into Rot and Ruin to begin with purely because I made a fundamental error upon beginnning this novel. I picked this up because I really enjoyed Patient Zero by Maberry and thought that this would be just as fantastic. And it is. But in an entirely different way. So the mistake I made was expecting this to be written in the same kind of way which it wasn't, after all it is a young adult novel which Patient Zero wasn't.
Having said that, I persevered in the hopes that Maberry would turn it around and provide me with a hidden gem and actually he did just that. Roughly 20-25% of the way through things started to get interesting and from that point it just got better and better. I love that the chapters are mostly short and sweet - this is a great tension builder for me. The characters were fantastic - each one was memorable and I liked them. The mini love triangle was great fun too.
But what makes this any different or any better then all the other zombie novels? It's simple. This isn't just the run of the mill, virus leading to infection leading to an apocolypse. And although I usually love that sequence of events this novel actually looks at the aftermath of these events. The main character Benny Imura and his brother Tom have a difficult relationship since their parents were turned into zombies during "First Night" - the beginning of the infection. Benny is searching for a job but eventually decides to join his brother who provides closure for families by "quieting" their loved ones. This essentially means he kills the zombie but before that he reads a letter from the family.
There are a lot of different ideas in Rot and Ruin like childrens zombie cards, the sliver to quiet the zombies and the bounty hunters. I would recommend this book because it really did get very good but be aware that this isn't another Patient Zero.