Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Book: Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Series: Ashfall #1
Genre: Adventure / Young Adult
Buy A Copy:
Amazon | Book Depository
Available Formats: Print / Ebook
Publication Date: September 27th, 2011

First Sentence: "I was home alone on that Friday evening. Those who survived know exactly which Friday I mean."
How Did I Get This Book: Netgalley
Under 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.
Ashfall is an incredible coming-of-age adventure story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a gritty story that asks some rather tough questions. The main being, How far would people go to survive

When the Volcano in Yellowstone Park erupts, fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone for the weekend. At the start of Alex’s story, he is very much a boy. He is understandably frightened and looks to his neighbors for guidance and protection. Well, without giving away to many details, he witnesses some rather traumatic events and decides to take off alone in search of his family. 

It is at this point in the story that I really got hooked.  I don’t know why, but there is something about survival stories. We all would like to think that we would keep our cool in desperate times, but who knows. Alex faces some incredible challenges along his journey – food and water shortages, encounters with desperate and dangerous people; you name it, he overcomes it. Ashfall may be an adventure story, but at its core it is a coming-of-age story.  

I also would like to talk a little about the romance between Alex and Darla. I was a bit nervous when Darla’s character was introduced. I wasn’t an immediate fan of hers and I could not see how a romance would fit into the puzzle. Well, long story short, I had to eat my words.  The relationship between the two was so incredibly raw, honest and just plain believable.  It wasn’t rushed and it wasn’t exaggerated. They fit together beautifully and complemented one another; it was an equal partnership. They relied on one another and trusted each other completely. 

I honestly do not want to divulge too much information about the plot because I do not want to spoil it for you guys. But trust me when I say this – you need to read Ashfall.  It’s exciting, addicting and undeniably entertaining. You won’t be disappointed with this series debut!

Favorite Quotes:
I hate to disappoint, but I just lay there, curled in a ball, shaking in pure terror.
Then, we waited. Waited for the noise to end. Waited for the house to fall on our heads. Waited for something, anything to change.
The next few hours were, well, how to describe it? Ask someone to lock you in a box with no light, nobody to talk to, and then have them beat on it with a tree limb to make a hideous sound. Do that for hours, and if you're still not bat-shit crazy, you'll know how we felt.
Maybe we were ghosts of a sort, spirits from the world that had died when the volcano erupted.
I didn't say anything - just held up my hands and shuffled backward toward the door. Antagonizing a little old lady holding a shotgun seemed like a very bad idea.
I'd never heard any noise quite so welcome as the click that a shotgun made when it wasn't killing me.
But even more than I wanted to check out and give my emotional wounds time to scab over, I wanted to live.
I didn't care much for being called stupid and softhearted. But the boyfriend bit I could live with.
I wanted, needed to see her so badly that it woke me up at night.


Jan von Harz said...

This was a exteremely well written novel that captures the horror of what it would be like if something as devastating as a super volcano erupting and changing live as we know it forever. I was also very much impressed with the realistic nature of the romance and am looking forward to seeing what happens next in this series. Great review.

Bibliotropic said...

I was really impressed by the sheer amount of realism in Ashfall. Mullin didn't steer clear of the worse aspects of humanity in a crisis just because they weren't pretty on the page. Crisis has a tendency to bring out the best and the worst in us, and I was happy to see that Mullin handled that well. I can't say that certain scenes were thus enjoyable to read, but I have to respect the man for not avoiding what probably would have happened.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it sounds like this is quite an epic story. It would have been terrifying and it sounds like it's written very realistically too!

I hadn't heard of it but now I'll keep an eye out for it!

Trekking in India said...

Ascending the heights and being a part of the Himalayan landscape is an experience beyond comparison. Above all trekking in the Himalaya is often a mix of adventure, pleasure and self realisation.

Unknown said...

I enjoy this series as do my HS students. It's relatable especially since we live in Iowa but it's an interesting storyline and good for high school students. I'd be cautious of middle schoolers reading this, at least younger ones.
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