“The zombie took a shambling step toward him, raising fingers that were bone white and looked strangely disjointed, as if all the knuckles were broken.” (Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry)
Zombie books, or movies for that matter, have a certain set of expectations: they are violent, horrific, and action-packed. Even though I’ve seen comic variations (such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), I have never before seen a heart-warming one. Jonathan Maberry takes the zombie apocalypse to a new level of reality; instead of writing a book that imagines how much fun it’d be to rampage across the country, killing ‘zoms’, he constructs a world where people actually have to deal with the fact that their loved ones have turned into the living dead.
Imagine this: your mother, son or significant other has just turned into a zombie before your very eyes. They look almost the same as they used to, perhaps their eyes are a bit deadened, their mouth a little bloody, but they resemble a person you can’t live without. Would you go on a zombie-bashing spree and run into them with a car door? Probably not. You would want them killed with as little mayhem as possible – because even though they are trying to eat your living flesh, you still love them. This train of thought is what percolates through Rot and Ruin – zombie book lovers will get their fair share of violence, but this is truly a book that explores love and closure, and the unexpected medium just makes the impact that much greater. Although I never would have looked twice at this book without the aid of a required reading list, as soon as my reading time is my own again, I plan on finishing the trilogy.