What can I say, Rot & Ruin was not at all what I expected. I thought I was going to jump into something resembling The Walking Dead. I'm happy to say that is not the case.First Night totally screwed humanity. For some reason the dead came back to life that night and brought terror with it. I do hope that later on in the series we find out what the hell went wrong, and why there was suddenly undead everywhere. Benny has always thought his brother, Tom, was a coward. He doesn't understand why everyone admires Tom for his job as a zombie hunter. Benny is forced to apprentice with his brother since none of the other job prospects worked out. He's expecting to go out guns blazing to kill zoms. To Benny, zoms are evil and deserve to be killed by any means necessary. After his first trip out into the Ruin his opinion changes slightly. Although Benny is only 15, this is a story of growing up. He also learns that sometimes people can be worse than the zoms. He learns about honor, respect, survival, and hope.The characters were amazing. At times Benny seems kind of bratty, but that's because he doesn't understand the way things really are. He's thrown into obstacles and has to think fast to keep himself and those he cares about safe. Tom is an ideal role model for everyone. he's humble and tries to do the right thing, even when the world has gone to shit. Nix is fierce. She doesn't lose hope that things can be better. She also doesn't let fear hold her back. The Lost Girl may be one of my favorite characters. She's quite possibly insane, but has so much depth in her character and actions. I really hope we can learn more about her and her time in the Ruin.The action scenes are intense, but I enjoyed being inside Benny's head the most. There's a constant battle as he tries to form a new opinion about the zoms and humankind in general. I highly recommend this book for fans of coming of age stories, and even zombie fans can appreciate this novel. Who's the bigger monster: the zoms, or those whose hearts still beat???