Book Review: Ashes

Ashes CoverBook: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Published September 2011|Published by EgmontUSA

E-book|Borrowed from the library|361 pages

Series: Ashes Trilogy #1

Genre: YA: Post-Apocalyptic

Goodreads|Barnes And Noble|Amazon|Ilsa J. Bick’s Website

Summary: 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.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling post-apocalyptic novel about a world that could become ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

After listening to Drowning Instinct, I knew I had to read Ashes!  Ashes was an interesting but strange book that was hard to put down.

You can’t go wrong with zombie-like people and an EMP that destroyed electronics and killed people.   There are so many unanswered questions, and I really want to know what happens next, especially with that ending!  I’m not surprised that there was a cliffhanger.  Let me tell you, that was one cliffhanger I was not expecting!

I’m really impressed with what Bick did with the zombies and the Zap.  It’s an interesting combination- and one that’s a nice change from the typical zombie story where there’s some illness or something that turns people into zombies.  Plus, the only technology that works seems to be from the good ‘ole days, which means you’d need some serious survival skills.  I really feel like making sure I’m prepared for an earthquake now…

But back to the book.  It’s really creepy in that “this could really happen” kind of way.  Not necessarily the zombie part but the electromagnetic pulse part of it.  Although, if you think about it, something like that would have to have an effect on people.  But I was completely drawn in, and you can’t help but think about what you’d do if you had no way to figure out what was going on.  If people Changed…if people dropped dead…if you had a brain tumor and couldn’t smell but all of a sudden you could smell and you did feel better.

The characters are also great.  Alex is definitely a really tough character, but I couldn’t help but love Tom and Ellie…and I think I may have a soft spot for Ellie’s grandpa…even though he had a really brief appearance.  We meet quite a few interesting characters along the way, and about halfway through, we end up in a town called Rule, where there is a community doing what they can to survive and make it through.

As much as I enjoyed the book overall, I think I enjoyed the part of the novel that takes place in the woods more than when Alex arrives in Rule.  Things are pretty well-paced through the book, and time passes reasonably well, but…I don’t know, Rule just didn’t seem as interesting as the time surviving out in the “wild.”  Maybe we’ll get the back story on Rule, because there is more to Rule than what we get in  Ashes.  It definitely felt like two different books, so while I wasn’t surprised that Alex would find her way to a surviving community, I was surprised at how truly different things were once Alex arrived in Rule.

Final Thoughts:

Ashes was a quick, fun but really creepy read.  I’m amazed at the world Bick created and the characters that populate a world where an EMP destroyed technology and killed and changed people.  I didn’t particularly enjoy Alex’s time in Rule, but I have the feeling there’s a lot going on in Rule that we never saw.  Ashes gets 4 stars.

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