I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
Series: Ashes Trilogy #1
Published by EgmontUSA on September 6, 2011
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Seventeen-year-old Alex is hiking through the wilderness when it happens: an earth-shattering electro-magnetic pulse that destroys almost everything. Survivors are divided between those who have developed a superhuman sense and those who have acquired a taste for human flesh. These flesh-hunters stalk the land: hungry, ruthless and increasingly clever. Alex meets up with Tom, a young army veteran, and Ellie, a lost girl, and they will fight together and be torn apart. Alex must face the most difficult question of all: in such vastly changed world, who can you trust?
‘Ashes’ is the story of Alex, a 17 year old girl with an inoperable brain tumor who leaves home by herself to go on a camping trip. While out in the wilderness, an event occurs that prevents the use of her electronic devices; she later discovers that an EMP had gone off and had not only shut down all electronic devices but killed billions. She begins caring for 8 year old Ellie as her grandfather was one of the first people killed by the EMP. Alex begins noticing that she’s changing in ways that she can’t explain. For one, her brain tumor had caused her to lose her sense of smell and taste but following the EMP those senses not only come back to her but they are heightened like never before. The changes continue in her throughout the story.
First impressions? Alex was not an immediately likable character but she does grow on you after some time. I’d say around the time the other main character, Tom, is introduced she starts acting like a likable human being.
Second? This CANNOT be a young adult book. This was one of the most gruesome books I have read in a LONG time. Not to say it wasn’t amazing, because it was, but planning meals around reading this book to make sure that you’re don’t have food in your stomach and/or are about to eat was essential. (I can stomach most things, I’m not exactly squeamish, but man can this author describe your internal organs. Lol)
One main issue I have with this book, which actually is an issue I have with many ‘YA’ books, is the situations that the author puts the characters in and how these characters act in these situations does not fit their age. The way that Alex acts in this book does not fit a 17 year old I don’t care how mature you are for your age. Tom was a bit more believable because he was in his 20’s and he had been in the army and had proper training and such.
My second issue was the fact that the first half of the book was super exciting and I loved every minute of it. It seemed like as soon as I hit 50% it just went immediately downhill. She got to the town Rule and I got seriously lost because all of these new characters were thrown in the mix and I got so confused keeping everybody straight. Plus? No zombies. No gruesome gory internal organ comments. Just life in this weird religious cult amish society. Just weird. I was trending on 4 stars up until the second half. And I missed Tom. No Tom, no zombies, the second half sucked. The author seemed to be following an interesting path in the storyline but then at the half mark she went in a completely different direction and I didn’t like it one bit. It seemed to me as if the first half was about survival and the bonds of friendship and such, and then the second half turned into some weird love triangle and it was completely inappropriate as far as I’m concerned. Didn’t fit at all with the rest of the story.
Compared to the many other dystopian novels I’ve read recently, this one lacked the realism that many others had. Ashfall, for example, was believable and you could imagine each and every eventually happening. With this novel, I don’t know if these characters just had bad luck but it just seemed to me like they were constantly dealing with a ridiculous amount of shit. Sure the world has gone to hell, but these damn kids just could not catch a break. Maybe that’s the way it’ll truly be if things like this ever happen, but for me it just didn’t seem realistic.
It’s not often that I will read a book that is the start of a new series and not want to continue. There’s either a cliffhanger that forces me to or an overall desire to see what happens to the characters. The ending of this book did not have me feeling the need to continue, the last half of the book just ruined the good parts, very disappointed!