Sunday, May 29, 2011

ARC Review: Ashfall (Ashfall #1) by Mike Mullin

Expected date of publication: October 11th, 2011

SummaryUnder the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget. (From: Goodreads)

Why I wanted to read it: Post-apocalyptic fiction involving a supervolcano! Ashfall was actually my "Waiting on" Wednesday pick a few weeks ago. After a friendly encouragement of the author I managed to get a review copy through Netgalley. Yay!

My thoughts: It could not be more fitting that ashcloud 2.0 was approaching Ireland while I was reading Ashfall :)

Let me start of with saying that I loved Ashfall. It exceeded my expectations and was one of the most intense books I read this year. The story was great from beginning to end with never a dull moment. 

The disaster scenario of a supervolcano with major ash fall is interesting and original. The aftermath as described in Ashfall is terrifying and results in a lot of intense scenes in the book. There are quite a few mature themes that are being dealt with (references to rape and cannibalism) and there are some graphic and violent scenes. 

Alex is such a great character. He is strong and brave, and does what he needs to do in order to survive and to get to his family. His heart is obviously in the right place and it's interesting to see him struggle with some of the horrible decisions he was forced to make. 
Of course there is also a bit of love. Judging from the blurb I was a bit wary of this as it could have been so corny. Darla, the female character is so refreshing: she is just as brave and strong (if not stronger) than Alex, and absolutely not a damsel in distress. They complement each other and I really liked how their relationship developed.

The ending reminded me a bit of the ending of "Life as we knew it", another post-apocalyptic book that I liked a lot. It was similar in how they look for ways to survive this new world, but it also ended with a tiny spark of hope in a very bleak future. 

I enjoyed the writing style. The descriptions are very detailed and I could easily picture the landscape covered in ash. The language used is vivid and rich and the writer seems to be very eloquent. Not sure if it really reflects how an average teenage boy would speak, but I could definitely appreciate it. 
The only thing I did not like about the book is the cover (well, obviously I have not seen the actual cover, but only the one on Goodreads). I am not sure if it represents the story very well, and it also seems to target a more junior audience than the book is actually aimed at.

Ashfall is a great. It's intense, depressing and terrifying, which are in my eyes the key elements for a good post-apocalyptic story. It's a must-read for fans of the genre and I will definitely keep an eye out for the sequel: Ashen Winter.

Challenge Check: 1st in a Series Challenge, Dystopia Challenge
Rating: ❤ (5/5)


Jenny said...

I keep hearing good things about this one. Sigh, another book to add to my TBR list.

Mike Mullin said...

I'm glad you enjoyed ASHFALL, Selina! That's a very well-written review. I put links to it on my blog and website. I hope ashcloud 2.0 didn't inconvenience you too much.

Selina said...

@ Mike Mullin: Thank you! I will add it to my Goodreads reviews as well. Ashcloud 2.0 was quite small compared to last year, so luckily there was no inconvenience this time around :)

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