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    New Fiendish Review: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

    Book:                  Rot & Ruin

    Author:               Jonathan Maberry

    Publisher:           Simon & Schuster

    ISBN/ASIN:       9781442410343 (galley)

    Release Date:     October 5, 2010

    Rating:   5 Stars (FB’s Top 10 of 2010)

    Buy: | Amazon | B&N | Borders | Powell’s | Indiebound

    Come and visit Jonathan Maberry’s Big and Scary Blog (muah-ha-ha-ha!). Check out Simon & Schuster’s Page

    He’s also a two-time Bram Stoker winner which means he writes super-duper fabulous (as you’ll see once you crack the pages of R&R)

    Rot & Ruin. Wasteland. Where the zombies roam the environs of a ravaged and forgotten country.

    It’s been about fourteen years since First Night when the dead rose. Game Over. Instead of millions, now there are only a few thousand survivors left scattered in encampments. Surviving as best they can. Combating the constant threat of the undead at their doorstep. This is the age in which Benny Imura lives in. And its not as if he likes it.

    In the protected enclave of Mountainside, the kids hear one thing behind their protective walls. And another of what is really happening outside. The survivors have little to do with what is outside their walls. They hire a zombie hunter like Benny’s brother Tom to “quiet” their relatives who have succumbed to the contagion and who wander the deserts aimlessly. They are reassured that their loved ones are finally put to rest. But not all the hunters have Tom’s ethics or morality-or his humanity.

    In fact, for zombie hunters like Charlie Pink-eye and Motor City Hammer, the dead have become a profitable business-and vicious entertainment. Deep within the mountainous wastes of the Ruin hides a place only whispered about: Gameland. The last stop. Where humans go head-to-head with zombies. And one very tricky girl, The Lost Girl, whose fate was born during First Night is the only human who managed to escape the games-and survive intact. 

    When Benny’s brother crosses Charlie Pink-eye for the last time, the disturbing truth of what happens outside the walls will come straight to Mountainside’s doorstep. It will lead Benny and Tom on a bloody journey to rescue Nix and others from the grisly fate of Gameland-to confront and deal with the zombie hunters once and for all. On their quest they will scour the desert to find the only one who survived the zombie games: The Lost Girl. With her help, they might actually be able rid the Ruin of its pestilence for good. 

    Rot & Ruin was thrilling triumph, full of action, gripping conflict, soul-fullness, gore, solemnity, and hope. It is a coming of age piece honed in the ashes of apocalypse. And throughout, page after page it makes you feel slightly discombobulated and indecisive. 

    Do the survivors embrace or spurn them-these remnants of humanity? Are they theirs to hunt, to maim, to pulverize in the dust to atone for the contagion that took the world away? Will ceaseless vengeance wreak a perpetual cycle stealing the last vestiges of humanity left to those who survived? 

    Maberry poses these troubling questions pausing on that elemental “?” Who are the real zombies? Is it us or them? It forever alters our view and forges a new perception of what exactly a zombie novel should be: fragmented beauty, scattered hope, humane, bittersweet. Tom and Benny’s journey in the Ruin is much more than a rescue mission. It is potential salvation-for all the survivors that are courageous enough to finally brave the walls and step onto the path less traveled. Perhaps into a new future. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.

    For readers that liked The Big Empty series by J.B. Stephens, Rot & Ruin will appeal as well as to fans of The Passage and The Reapers Are the Angels

    And for those who are just plain undecided, be sure to pick up Zombies vs Unicorns (an arc I will be reviewing soon) by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier a searing and fun anthology from some of the best voices out there that answer: which are more HAWT? Who has more butt-kicking capacity? Mmm. Zombiez…

    Find out what Karen Kincy thinks of R&R

    Find out what Karin’s Book Nook thinks of R&R

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat).


    New Juicy Review: The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell

    Book:                 The Reapers Are the Angels

    Author:              Alden Bell

    Publisher:         Henry Holt & Co.

    ISBN/ASIN:        9780805092431

    Rating:              5 Stars (FB's Top Ten of 2010)

    Release Date:  August 3, 2010

    Buy:   | Amazon | Borders | B&N | Powell’s | Indiebound | Waterstone’s | WHS |

    Read an Excerpt

    August 4, 2010-Joshua Gaylord (aka Alden Bell) will be conducting his book launch (Reading & Signing) at B&N 150 East 86th Street (at Lexington).

    The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell starts off like a lyrical melody that both fills your head and packs a wallop all in the same breath-a spicy Southern feast wrapped up in soft vowels and a wayward twang. For such a small tale (a mere two hundred and twenty or so compact pages) Reapers has more punch than The Passage, simply because of its soul and its enigmatic lead, and for its finality.

    Reapers tells the story of Temple, who grows up in the aftermath of a global epidemic that lays waste to the world and morphs a portion of the population into zombies. While she has no recollection of any world before the epidemic, she has mastered a life for herself and has done so from an early age. For Temple, it has and always will be, a struggle to survive, to keep moving and to keep slaying. And it appears she has an affinity for it. But Bell has managed to build many layers to Temple. Underneath that steely exterior lies a vulnerable girl who, when peeled back, is surprising, and troubling. 

    There are remnants of influences from other sources, in Bell's has a familiar feel of "The Stand" and "I am Legend" but the creation of his heroine is what makes The Reapers Are the Angels a truly amazing piece of work. Temple is a tragic lead and those who are pulled into her sphere know that the outcome cannot be good but will go along for the ride anyway.

    It does not have the overwhelming derivative feel of Cronin’s piece. The difference between The Passage and Reapers is that Temple, Bell’s heroine is the lost heart and soul of humanity and even she does not know it. Temple, sometimes, an uncompromising stoic, is also an unknowing angel of death in the vacuum of a forgotten wasteland. Her ferociousness coupled with her fragility, is what makes her engaging to readers. We cleave to her vulnerability as much as we embrace her ferociousness, which has singularly been borne out of guilt.

    Temple is endlessly running from herself, and from her humanity. Bell’s grisly tale of gore and zombies serves as the backdrop, the purgatory she must endure as she races from one corner of the abandoned country to another…shunning a home, real companionship, endlessly engaging in the “meatskin tango”. It is why she welcomes the chase from Moses. As long as she is fighting the slugs and winning, she staves off the feelings. In Reapers, those who have survived, struggle with going on, persevering. To what end? Never has this been more pronounced by Temple’s journey-The Reapers are the Angels reads like a hell-bound Natty Gann and Temple cannot help but be its incandescent slayer. Unforgettable in its finality and riveting in its soulfulness.

    From the Book-Blogosphere:

    Read what Speculative Horizons says about The Reapers are the Angels.

    Read what Graeme’s Fantasy Book Reviews says about The Reapers are the Angels.

    Read what Read In a Single Sitting says about The Reapers are the Angels.

    Read what Steve’s Fantasy Book Reviews says about The Reapers are the Angels.