Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Ashes" by Ilsa J. Bick

"It could happen tomorrow . . .
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.
For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human."-goodreads

Ashes is one of the best zombie books I’ve read, up there with The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Zombie Survival Guide, as well as one of the best post-apocalyptic books I’ve read (and probably one of the more ’realistic’ as well). But Ashes is so much more than that. As I was reading it I thought of it as one of those dolls that opens up and there’s another doll and another doll and another doll and another doll. Every page, there were more complicated (but awesome) things going on. Incredibly fast-paced, sometimes things happened so fast that I didn’t understand them right away-- but I don’t think Alex the protagonist did either, so that just enhanced it. Ashes bled fear, anxiety, tension, action, gruesomeness, creepy, scary, psychological stuff, and shock throughout the whole book. It was incredible! Also, it’s perfect for reading any time but I think I picked a fabulous time to read it, right around Halloween.

Alex is an epic heroine for the story. She’s a strong female character that doesn’t let herself totally give up for any reason, even when falling for a guy. She took charge and survived after the EMP, and helped others along the way. Granted, she also received help from several people, including Tom, the mysterious guy they meet along the way, however it wasn’t a *total* damsel-in-distress moment. Alex showed raw emotion throughout the book without being wimpy or anything like that. Tom was pretty cool too, when we got to meet him, and Ellie as well. Characters in this book (and a lot of similar books to these) are integral to me, I think, because you don’t typically see as many characters as often while they’re fighting their way through the EMP ravaged world.

An original thing that I liked about Ashes is that, while some post-apocalyptic (or dystopian) books avoid the actual disaster, experiencing it or explaining it, it started out from the beginning right before and the reader gets to see the whole thing unfold. I think a lot of the time it’s avoided because sometimes it’s hard to convince the reader and have them be like, ‘yeah, this could actually happen. The world really could end this way.’ and even I’m like that sometimes but Ashes convinced me. I’ll be thinking about the horrifyingly realistic (and horrifying in general) world from the book for a long time.
The bottom line: if you’re looking for an epic book, especially a scary post-apocalyptic zombie novel, Ashes is for you. I can’t wait for the next one! 

2 comments:

PaulaSHx said...

Wow! This sounds really spooky. The cover definitely freaks me out. On the other hand, it sounds good.
Paula @ PaulaSHx

Mrs. Brower said...

Great review! I just found this title in my Kindle (forgot I had it). Now I will definitely have to read it! BTW, you should check out Ashfall by Mike Mullin. No zombies, but you mentioned appreciating a book that can take on the actual apocalyptic event in a realistic way. Ashfall starts just as a supervolcano located under Yellowstone erupts. Author includes some of the actual scientific data he considered in writing this novel. Great book!