Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Series: Benny Imura #1
Published by Simon & Schuster (9.14.2010)
Hardcover, 458 pages
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In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
I’m afraid I only made it 25 pages into this book. I know I didn’t give it a fair chance, but I found those few pages to be so awful that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I have far too many other books to read to force myself through anything. (I’m not a masochist, either.)
This book was absurd. I don’t even know where to start to put all of my complaint notes (there were 2 pages!) together, so I’m just going to make a list because I love lists.
- Benny mentions that his first memory was at 18 months. Then goes on to count said memory in pretty decent detail. Really? My earliest memory is probably as a 5 or 6 year old, and even those are so broken and fuzzy they’re more like mental photographs than actual memories. This really irked me because it was completely illogical.
- Zoms. Now, I’m all for originality, but a) it sounds ridiculous (to me anyway), and b) you really can’t say the last syllable, a whole three letters? Makes me think of Yes Man where the nerdy dude at Carl’s work calls him ‘Car.’ *rolls eyes*
- Benny wants revenge on ‘zoms’ because they murdered his parents but ‘would rather be eaten by zoms than have his brother as his boss.’ (His brother could have taught him how to be a zombie hunter.)
- People were locking themselves in their rooms in case they died overnight and reanimated. People can randomly just die and turn into zombies? Um.
- The ‘gun bulls’ will shoot workers at the fence who get bitten by zombies, but won’t actually shoot the zombies – because people will get upset, since they wear the faces of loved ones. Really? Because people getting upset is more important than living. Right.
- Carpet coats. Literally. No, seriously. Coats made of actual carpet so that the zombies can’t bite the people.
- Benny actually weighed himself after wearing said coats of carpet, to see how many pounds he sweated off while wearing them. Wish I could lose pounds just from sweating!
- The boys try job after job after job, only to walk out on the first day for some insane mishap (i.e. slipping in a pile of dung and falling down, thus getting laughed at). First of all, who does this? Second of all, the jobs were ridiculous: Pit thrower (throwing dead bodies into a pit), Fence repairman, Erosion artist (making people look like zombies to see what it would look like), Crank generator repairman, and Spotter (spotting zombies).
- They don’t have electricity – and I quote – because of a strong religious movement that associated that kind of power with the ‘Godless behavior’ that had brought about ‘the end.’
I really think this book should be marked as Middle Grade, because it was horribly sophomoric. And like I said, absolutely flipping ABSURD. I wanted to spoon my eyes out. All in a mere 25 pages.
Will I ever pick this one up to try again someday? No, no I will not.
SYLO by D.J. MacHale
Series: The SYLO Chronicles #1
Published by Razorbill (7.2.2013)
Hardcover, 407 pages
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Does Tucker Pierce have what it takes to be a hero when the U.S. military quarantines his island?
Fourteen-year-old Tucker Pierce prefers to fly under the radar. He’s used to navigating around summer tourists in his hometown on idyllic Pemberwick Island, Maine. He’s content to sit on the sidelines as a backup player on the high school football team. And though his best friend Quinn tells him to “go for it,” he’s too chicken to ask Tori Sleeper on a date. There’s always tomorrow, he figures. Then Pemberwick Island is invaded by a mysterious branch of the U.S. military called SYLO. And sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option for Tucker, because tomorrow may never come.
It’s up to Tucker, Quinn, and Tori to uncover the truth about the singing aircraft that appears only at night—and the stranger named Feit who’s pushing a red crystal he calls the Ruby that brings unique powers to all who take it. Tucker and his friends must rescue not just Pemberwick Island, but the fate of the world—and all before tomorrow is too late.
I can’t even remember how far I got into this one…40 pages? Maybe 50? But I just couldn’t get into it and it was annoying me. First of all, the writing was horribly sophomoric. Secondly, I’ve never been too much of a fan of male POVs anyway, but Tucker’s voice grated on my nerves. Some of the things said were just so dumb that I was rolling my eyes way too often.
She looked like an magazine ad for ridiculous hotness.
An ad….for…..ridiculous hotness. Right. ‘But wait! Buy now, and you’ll get EXTREME hotness as a bonus, only for a limited time!’
“You guys look like you could use a break,” she said sweetly. “It is so hot.”
“Really,” Quinn agreed while giving her a sideways look. “Really, really hot.” He wasn’t talking about the weather.
Why did this irritate me? Not because the character was being annoyingly shallow, but because the author felt the need to point out that he wasn’t talking about the weather. This was another thing that bothered me: treating your readers as less than intelligent. You don’t constantly have to point things out. Sometimes showing works better than telling.
When Laska and Donald got there, they instantly separated Quinn and me. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to realize they wanted us each to separately give our version of what had happened to see if the stories matched.
Do you think your readers are stupid? I don’t know why this bothered me so much. But it could have just been made as a statement. A 12 year old would have known that without needing it to be pointed out! I just found that annoying.
“What do you think happened to Marty?” I asked.
Quinn shrugged. “We’ll know more tomorrow.”
“My parents are doing the autopsy as we speak.”
The quiet night suddenly got quieter. I’d forgotten that Quinn’s mom and dad were doctors at Arbortown Medical.
You ‘forgot’ that your BEST FRIEND’S parents were doctors? Really? See, after “We’ll know tomorrow,” he could have just said, His parents were doctors at Arbortown Medical and would be doing the autopsy. That just irked me.
It was stupid little things like that which pushed me to giving up on this book. I wasn’t enjoying it at all! I may try this one again in the very distant future. We shall see.
The First Days by Rhiannon Frater
Series: As the World Dies
Published by Tor (7.5.2011)
Paperback, 331 pages
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Katie is driving to work one beautiful day when a dead man jumps into her car and tries to eat her. That same morning, Jenni opens a bedroom door to find her husband devouring their toddler son.
Fate puts Jenni and Katie—total strangers—together in a pickup, fleeing the suddenly zombie-filled streets of the Texas city in which they live. Before the sun has set, they have become more than just friends and allies—they are bonded as tightly as any two people who have been to war together.
During their cross-Texas odyssey to find and rescue Jenni’s oldest son, Jenni discovers the joy of watching a zombie’s head explode when she shoots its brains out. Katie learns that she’s a terrific tactician—and a pretty good shot.
A chance encounter puts them on the road to an isolated, fortified town, besieged by zombies, where fewer than one hundred people cling to the shreds of civilization.
It looks like the end of the world. But Katie and Jenni and many others will do whatever they have to to stay alive. Run, fight, pick each other up when they stumble, fall in love…anything is possible at the end of the world.
So many people had been raving about Frater’s books, but I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t care for her writing style; to be honest, I found it a little sophomoric. (That seems to be the theme this month…) I felt nothing toward this book, and the attempts at humor gave me this face:
“We’re meals on wheels,” Jenni said with a bitter laugh.
“Chewy center is what it’s all about,” Katie said gloomily.
Is that supposed to be funny?
I couldn’t connect to the story and didn’t give a crap about the characters. The borderline lesbian relationship between the two lead females wasn’t my cup of tea, either. Before anyone gets offended: I have lesbian friends. I do not have any problem at all with it. But I don’t want to read about it. I don’t think it would have actually developed into that, but even without it, their friendship moved very fast. Insta-friendship??
Jenni looked at Katie again and thought of Katie’s words last night. They did share a bond. She felt it. She felt comfortable now with the warmth in her heart when she watched Katie. She had a new friend, a sister…a comrade. She could love Katie and not be afraid of being used or hurt.
This was on page 90! They barely knew each other. That just bothered me. I was 100 pages in and still not interested, and had to force myself to read it. I don’t have time to push myself through something I’m not enjoying! I probably will pick it up again in the future so I can continue with the series and see if it gets any better.
OMFG the cat! :’D I’ve heard a lot of hype about Frater as well but I’m not really sure if she write books that I will actually like from the reviews I’ve read (including yours).
Great reviews, luv! <33
THE CAT. Lol. That is the perfect visual for every single hate book ever. Lol. Sorry you couldn’t get through these. I enjoyed Sylo well enough. Not sure I’ll be picking up the sequel though, despite the interesting ending. Aaw Rot and Ruin? I’ve heard that’s good. I’ll probably still read it soon, but I’m sorry you didn’t like it.
Here’s to reading a good book soon!
Hehe, it IS perfect. And anything with a cat is awesome in my book ;D
I hope you like it more than I did! You probably will though, most everyone else did…
I loved Rot & Ruin. Goes to show what is one persons’ love isn’t for another.
True that! I was definitely the black sheep on that one. Seems to happen a lot for me =/
After your review, I definitely will not be reading any of them. Rot & Ruin already sounds really ridiculous, especially with the 18 month memory thing. (I read somewhere it’s impossible to form any memories from before you were two years old anyway.) As for Sylo, that “she looked like a magazine ad for ridiculous hotness” quote definitely would get on my nerves, too. Considering most magazine ads are ridiculously photoshopped.
Fantastic post, Jessi! I’m sorry that these weren’t for you but I loved reading your thoughts!
Yeah! I don’t even remember from two years. *sigh* Lol I just saw a video on Facebook where they took this model and showed you the process of photoshopping her: longer limbs, skinnier torso, airbrushed skin, made the eyes bigger…she looked like a completely different person!
Anyway. Lots of people liked these books. They just didn’t work for me =/
Thanks Leeny! <3
Okay so I’m not laughing at you, but rather at your quotes and your mini-reviews. Sorry you sat through this much of these books but your humor about them is awesome. There’s a real reason I don’t read zombie books – I’d be like you, not connecting to the characters, I’m afraid. Plus Rot & Ruin just sounds BAD.
Seems you had no luck with the zombie books! I’ve been planning to read Rot & ruin for a while now, this is not promising..
Hahaha I love that cat picture. I read Rot & Ruin last month and, while I did finish it and thought it was okay, it definitely wasn’t a favorite, and I agree with a lot of the things you mentioned you didn’t like about it.