Rot & Ruin

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Rot & Ruin
Rot & Ruin Cover.gif
Author Jonathan Maberry
Cover artist Christina Andrews
Country United States,
Language English
Series Benny Imura Series
Genre Science Fiction
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
United States: September, 2010 United Kingdom: August, 2011
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 464
Followed by Dust & Decay

Rot & Ruin is a science fiction novel written by Jonathan Maberry and published by Simon & Schuster, set in the post-zombie apocalypse. The novel was released in the United States September 2010 and in United Kingdom March 2011. It is the first in a series; its sequel, Dust & Decay, was released August 2011. Flesh and Bone was released in September 2012 and Fire and Ash was released August 2013.[1] Set fourteen years after the zombie outbreak, the novel follows Benny Imura five months after he turns fifteen as he looks for a job so that his rations will not be halved. The novel is a third-person narrative that follows the protagonist, Benny Imura. Upon release, the book was generally well-received and received a majority of positive reviews.



Rot & Ruin takes place fourteen years after the zombie outbreak, when most living humans are spread out in small settlements just barely getting by. The communities rely on traders who pass through and the sparse gardens that a few people cultivate. Rot & Ruin plays out in a settlement and in the land outside of the fence, the Rot and Ruin. The Rot and Ruin is the dangerous land where zombies live.


Benny Imura: Benny is a fifteen-year-old pale, lean boy who has straight medium brown hair, and dark forest green eyes.Benny needs a job to live in Mountainside, a town in the Sierra Nevadas in Central California, and reluctantly joins his half-brother, Tom Imura, in the zombie-hunting business and discovers the reality of the business.

Nix Riley: Nix is a 14-year-old ginger with green eyes, who is one of Benny's friends. She lives with her mother at the poorest part of town, and had apparently been a skinny and gangly kid up until the past winter. She is described as a bookworm and has always dreamed of being an author, and is always seen writing poems and short stories in her journal. Nix has quite an obvious crush on Benny, but seems to be the only one making an effort in showing her affection.

Morgie Mitchell: Morgie is a 14-year-old boy, who is Benny's friend.

Lou Chong: Lou Chong, called Chong throughout most of the book, is Benny Imura's best friend.

Tom Imura: Tom Imura is Benny Imura's 34-year-old half-brother. Born from Japanese parents, he has straight black hair, light brown skin, and black eyes. He works as a zombie hunter, preferring to be called a Closure Specialist, who later on teaches Benny the family business.

Charlie Matthias: Charlie is a six-foot, six-inch albino with one blue eye and one pink one that that is milky and blind. He and his partner, the Hammer,are said to be one of the toughest bounty hunters in the entire Rot and Ruin, and Benny sees him as his idol. According to a resident in the town, Charlie and the Hammer had bagged and tagged sixty-three named heads and two thousand nameless dead.

Marion Hammer: Charlie Matthias's partner in killing zombies. Known to everyone as the Motor City Hammer, or just 'the Hammer'for his big reputation in the town for being one of the toughest bounty hunters alongside Charlie. Benny describes him as "bulldog ugly" but not as big as Charlie.

Plot summary[edit]

Benny Imura and his friend Chong look for a job. Benny is against becoming a zombie hunter. After trying many jobs, Chong becomes a spotter for the local watch, but Benny is still left without a job. Out of options, he finally asks Tom if he can be his apprentice. Tom accepts and the next morning they set out into the Rot and Ruin.

While they are beyond the fence Benny realizes that zombies are not monsters and should be respected as the dead are. Tom reveals to him the immorality of the hunters who maim the zombies to hunt them for sport.

A collectible zombie card of The Lost Girl pikes Benny's interest. He finds the card's artist, Rob Sacchetto, who tells him more about the Lost Girl, who wanders the Rot and Ruin, surviving on her own. When Benny leaves, Charlie Pink-eye and The Motor City Hammer stop Benny at the door and demand that he hand over the Lost Girl zombie card. They threaten Benny, which causes Benny lose respect for them.Tom intervenes and takes Benny home for training.

Benny and Nix see a jumbo jet fly overhead, turn around, and fly away. They decide to pursue the jet and see where it came from. In the end Benny and Tom go to Sunset Hollow, where Benny, Tom, and their family lived before the zombie outbreak. Benny realizes that Tom was not a coward and took Benny and ran away from their parents, who had already been infected. He earns respect and love for his brother.[2]


Rot & Ruin has gained a lot of prestige in the time that it has been around. It won the 2011 Eva Perry Mock Printz medal.[3] It was also selected to be a finalist for the 2010 Cybils Award, and won the 2011 award.[4] The novel also won four of the eleven nominations it received for Melinda Awards. It won Best Plot, Best Character Development for Benny, Best First Kiss for Benny and Nix, and Best Literary Boyfriend for Tom.[5]

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Maberry, Jonathan. Rot & Ruin. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010. 458. Print.
  3. ^ Perry, Eva. Eva Perry Mock Printz Book Club. 2011. Web. 28 Sep. 2011. <>.
  4. ^ Carbone, Emma. ""Rot & Ruin": A Review." New York Public Library. 03 Mar 2011. Web. 28 Sep. 2011. <>.
  5. ^ Carbone, Emma. "Rot & Ruin gets more love." Bookshelves of Doom. 24 Feb 2011. Web. 28 Sep. 2011. <>.