10 December 2011

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Ashes (Ashes Trilogy #1)  by Ilsa J. Bick

Published: 6 September 2011 by Egmont USA

Pages: 480 (hardcover)

Genre/s: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Zombie

Source: Own library

Check it Out: GoodreadsAmazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository


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. 

My Thoughts

I’d heard a lot about this book, and had it recommended to me a few times, so I decided maybe I’d better just jump on the bandwagon and read it. After all, it’s only another YA post-apocalyptic series, how bad could it be?

Ashes starts off with the ‘typical’ apocalyptic event, this one being the EMP scenario, but with a slight difference. As I don’t do spoilers, I won’t say what the difference is, but it is a difference that has been explored before, just not very often.

The first half of Ashes focuses mainly on the survival of Alex, Ellie and Tom, and the building of their characters and relationships, which is done gradually and thoroughly. Alex is a tough girl but is easy to warm to and Ellie is a little girl with some serious ‘tude.

Alex is affected by the EMP in an extra-ordinary way, which gives an additional dimension to an already good PA scenario being played out, mainly through the themes of survival and friendship.

If you’ve read any other reviews of Ashes, you’ll know (and if not, now you do), the book takes a very drastic turn almost exactly half-way through, and for me, that’s when it all went a little bit sideways. Not necessarily in a bad way, just completely unexpected, and it did take me a little while to adjust my brain to the quick change.

The second half does have a completely different focus than the first half, and I can see where for some readers that could be a turning point – either for better or for worse, as the tone, pace and writing makes a pretty radical 180.

It’s hard to summarise how I felt about this book, as it does almost seem to be two different books. I liked the first half focus on survival, and the second half focus on exploring the effects of the EMP in human beings and animals. I liked Alex, but I did find some of her ‘skills’ to be a little bit outside the realms of a normal 17-year-old, and there are a few teenage crush scenes that made me flinch. I will keep an eye out for the next book in the series, but a warning – this book ends in a massively disturbing cliffhanger – argh! 

P.S. – on the zombie scale this one rates pretty low – there’s not a lot of brain-slurping-action going on!

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