It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.
I read Ashfall last year and loved it. (You can read my review of Ashfall here if you'd like.) Ashen Winter takes place shortly after the events in Ashfall. Due to the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano and the resulting volcanic winter, the temperatures have dropped to below freezing and Alex's world is even harsher than it was in Ashfall.
The action in this series is immediate and non-stop. Some events I found to be a bit unbelievable, but it was still a really fun read. I wish I had been able to read this as a readalong. It's the kind of book you can go on and on about with your friends. The main characters are very likeable. Alex is a nice guy and Darla is a badass, but they both do some pretty boneheaded things.
Even though I have some minor issues with Ashen Winter (possibly too much action), I still love this series hard core. I love the extreme take on what it would be like to survive a supervolcano eruption. The evolution of human reaction to such extreme conditions is awesome and extremely frightening. I know I said some of the events were unbelievable, but the world Mike Mullin has created is quite realistic and very thought provoking. Did I mention frightening?
The Ashfall series is one of my favorite series. If you haven't read Ashfall, you definitely need to start there before picking up Ashen Winter. The next book in the series is called Sunrise. SUNRISE! I hope we get plenty more time surviving the volcanic winter, but hooray for surviving to see the sun!
7/10: Recommended Read
Review copy provided by publisher