Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: Ashes

by Ilsa J. Black (Website | Facebook | Twitter)
Series: Ashes Trilogy, #1
Published: September 6th, 2011 by Egmont
Pages: 465 (Hardcover)
Genre: Post Apocalyptic & Horror
Contains: Gore, zombie-ish creatures
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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.

I thought Ashes was really intriguing. It had a really interesting premise and I had high hopes going into it. However, I found that it was a little slow to start and spent a lot of time building up to the main story. It especially spends a surprisingly large chunk talking about Alex’s “monster,” which was a bit frustrating because once the book really starts moving there is very little mentioned about it except at a few points. The best way to describe Ashes is a rollercoaster - there’s a long buildup in the beginning but once you reach a certain point it starts moving faster and really pulls you in.

The characters are really well developed because there are really only the three main characters so you really get to know each one as an individual. I really liked the depth with which these characters are built, how they all seem to have their own fears and varied reactions to the situations. By the end of the book I felt like I understood each of the main characters, especially Tom and Alex, and where they were coming from and their motivations.

The world of the Ashes trilogy is really established in this book, and while it does have some aspects that bothered me, overall it was brought to life well. I especially enjoyed how Bick was able to set up the story in such a way that the questions I asked about the world and what was going on in it were the same ones that the characters were asking, this lead to my questions being answered throughout the book.  One other thing that I thought was well done was the way that Bick was fairly explicit in the first scene with the Changed but from there refrained from being super graphic, so you knew what was happening but it wasn’t overly gory or gross.  

The setting was interesting to me because it moved away from the typical cityscape of most “zombie” books and had them in a more rural environment.  I thought this was good not only because of the new perspective but because it gave me a lot more time to get to know the characters rather than them just running for their lives.

Overall Ashes was a fun read and I enjoyed it. It did have a slow start but eventually built up to a really solid novel. The characters and settings were well developed and I felt like I really knew Alex by the end of the book. I was a bit hesitant at first cause I wasn’t super sold on the concept but it turned out to be well done and quite enjoyable, with a great cliffhanger at the end.

Rating: 4/5 stars
Read this soon.

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