Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Ashfall is the first book in the YA Ashfall series from Mike Mullin.

Book Description
Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don't realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the Earth forever.

Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when the supervolcano erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter.  When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait--to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.

With nonstop action, a little romance, and realistic science, debut author Mike Mullin tells a mesmerizing story. Readers will turn Ashfall's pages breathlessly, and continue to ponder Alex and Darla's fate long after they close the book.

Ashfall is a real pageturner. I made the mistake of starting Ashfall when I was ready to go to bed. Don't do that if you require lots of beauty sleep.

Mike Mullin threw build-up and foreshadowing out the window when he wrote Ashfall. The supervolcano eruption... chapter one. That's how I love my stories. There is a lot of action in Ashfall, and it is all delivered without apology.

The natural disaster aspect of Ashfall evoked a lot of emotion in me. The story itself is well written and thought provoking, but as someone who has been through multiple hurricanes, I made a lot of emotional connections to Ashfall. I'm also never, ever letting my son quit TaeKwonDo.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Ashfall to be more than a young adult book about survival. There are also strong elements of YA romance, post-apocalypse and even some dystopia. The girl lead Darla is a bad ass, but she's vulnerable when she needs to be. Alex is the opposite (in a nice way). He's vulnerable, but a badass when he needs to be.

Once again - how does this keep happening to me?! - I wasn't aware Ashfall was a series. When will I understand YA = series? Thankfully there was no frustrating cliffhanger. I feel like a received a complete story, and I'm left with the typical craving for more you get with a good first book in a series. I will definitely pick up Ashen Winter when it is released next fall.

If you are a YA fan of the post-apocalyptic flavor and you don't mind some brutal and unforgiving scenes, you need to read Ashfall. Just make sure you don't start reading it at bedtime!

8/10: Great read

Review copy provided by publisher


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  1. I'm totally looking forward to reading this one!!!

  2. I love a good quick start to a book too, one that just sucks me in right away and keeps me there. Hopefully I'll be able to pick this book up soon.

    Great review!

  3. I definitely want to read this. Fab-tastic review. Hopefully you were able to catch up on sleep :)

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed this too I though it was amazing. I loved that it was so exciting you just could not. stop. reading! Every page was full of energy. I'm also happy there wasn't a cliffhanger.

    Xpresso Reads

  5. Looking forward to reading this one, hopefully soon! Good to know about all the action! And yeah, YA almost always equals series.


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