Yeah, you read that subject right! To kick off October right, I'm jumping in with a PERSONALIZED, SIGNED copy of Jonathan Maberry's new YA zombie novel Rot & Ruin! Read through my review to find the details at the bottom.
Set 14 years after the dead first began to rise, Benny Imura is 15 and has to choose his career quickly, before the town cuts his ration allowance in half. Benny looks into pretty much every half-decent job in town (and even a couple that are less-than-decent), all hoping to avoid the inevitable: joining the family business and becoming his brother's apprentice. What does his brother do?
Benny and his older brother Tom have a complicated relationship - as in Benny does little more than tolerate his older brother, who is totally uncool in comparison to the bad-ass zombie bounty hunters that tell tall tales filled with daring and adventure to entertain the kids. But when Benny runs out of other job options, he reluctantly begins training to join his brother in the field - and learns that there's a lot more to zombie hunting than just whacking zoms.
When Jonathan was talking about the novel at Sunday's Books of Wonder event, he noted that zombie novels are never about the zombies - the zombies are metaphors and catalysts for change. I think rarely has that fact come through as clearly as it does in Rot & Ruin. This is not a book about zombies. This isn't even really a book about zombie hunters. It's a book about brothers, about family, and about what it means to be human. There's lots of philosophy in this book - not the heavy sort that put me to sleep in college, but this is definitely a book that asks readers to think.
That's not to say there isn't any zombie killing action in the story. In fact, there's quite a bit, and Benny is often in the thick of it, even though he's not a trained bounty hunter yet, which adds to the drama - often he's armed with nothing more than a bokken.