Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Publication date: September 2011
Pages: 480
Source: e-book from Library
For: Dystopian Challenge (I count apocalyptic stuff)
Series: Ashes series, Book 1

Alex is hiking alone in the woods when an electromagnetic pulse races across the land and destroys all electronic signals and kills a lot of people. Stuck with a bratty girl whose grandfather was killed, Alex tries to keep her and Ellie alive, while figuring out just how much damage her world has suffered. But when they discover there are more frightening changes to the human race than they thought, it becomes a very fight for their lives.

Things I Liked:
For one thing, this story felt very very real.  Like it could happen and there was no glossing over of what would happen to people.  There were no happy parts, really, just parts that didn't suck as much.  It was so realistic and chilling and I pretty much couldn't look away.  I loved the survivalist parts at the beginning - being a big fan of camping with less (though, not quite that little), it was interesting to think about what I might have done or tried to do to survive.  While I had a hard time grasping and believing some of the effects of the zap, I think some of it makes sense.  The story is so intense and the action seems to come at a non-stop pace and it left me reeling.  This is very good apocalyptic (and dystopic, horror, sci-fi, etc) lit that doesn't make survival sound easy.

Things I Didn't Like:
As I mentioned above, I struggled with some of the explanations of what happened - it was never fully explained, which made sense because they would have access to limited information - but I still wanted more.  I found it hard to believe in what happened to the "changed," but most everything else made sense (well, except for maybe what happened to Alex too).  When Alex arrived in Rule, however, I kind of lost interest in the story.  It slowed down, naturally, and she seemed to change while she was there.  Then suddenly the action picks up right at the end again.  I will definitely be reading more in this series, as the action was realistic and heart-pounding and the ending left me eager to read more (ie, total clifhanger).  Hand this to your older teens not afraid of some grit and gore.

The first part reminded me of Gone by Michael Grant
The second part reminded me of Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien
The Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan

s-factor: !@# 
plenty throughout, a few f-bombs

mrg-factor: none 
though there is kissing and pining and what not

v-factor: ->->->->
the biggest detractor for me - so much really gory stuff

Overall rating: ****

What helps you suspend your disbelief?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I won this book in a giveaway and I have yet to read it. I want to so much because I LOVE zombies. (I know zombies are weird to love, lol.)

    1. If you love zombies, I think you'll enjoy this one too. Zombies are totally normal to love - in fiction, anyway :)

  2. Huh, I didn't even care that the pulse thing wasn't explained. I just accepted that it was some mysterious thing that made weird things happen and went from there :) I loved the entire book and can't wait to get my hands on the sequel (the ARC of which will soon be winging its way to me!).

    1. Ooh I can't wait to read what you think about the sequel. I really did enjoy the book, despite all that stuff I didn't like! And I picked it up pretty much on your recommendation, btw :)

  3. Hmmm, I believe I have this one on my TBR list. It sounds exciting at the very least.

    1. Actually, I think you'll like this one Jenny. Maybe I'm totally wrong, though. Still, it seems like your kind of book :)


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