Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Alex thinks staying home alone for the weekend while his parents and sister go to visit relatives is going to be relaxing.  That all goes to shit when something slams into his house and puts his world into chaos.  Alex soon learns that the Yellowstone supervolcano has erupted, and even 900 miles away in Iowa, there is a storm of ash and thunderous explosions.  Soon Alex finds himself in an all-out mission to find his family... even if he has to die trying.  He sets off across a dangerous landscape on a pair of skis, determined to walk 140 miles to Warren, Illinois.  Along the way terrifying things happen to him, but his determination never falters.  Then he meets Darla who saves his life on more than one occasion and becomes a travel partner and someone he trusts completely.  Can they really survive in this post super-volcanic world where society has broken down??

This was a powerful, intense, and super realistic apocalyptic novel. It had me on the edge of my seat wondering with every turn of the page how Alex and everyone else would possibly survive this catastrophe and what else would be thrown their way. There was so much action in this book with one event after another occurring, that I was very tense the entire time reading it. It was one of those books that I felt the need to finish super-fast so I could stop having nightmares about it. Maybe it's because this event could potentially happen that made it so real for me. or maybe it was the writing, or the characters, but it had me unable to put it down at times. It's like a car-wreck you can't stop looking at even though you are deeply disturbed by it.

Alex turns out to be a very resourceful kid.  When the book starts out he seems to be just your average sullen teenager.  But on the road he figure things out quickly.  Darla was very Magyver-y and so also resourceful in her own ways.  I liked that she was smart and also physically strong, but also clearly attractive as well since Alex became so smitten.  I don't think I've ever read a book where the female love interest was mechanically smart, able to lift and carry a man at dead weight, and still be the love interest.  She protected Alex just as much if not more than he protected her.  You go girl!!!

There were parts of this book that highly disturbed me.  I don't think I'll ever forget (even though I would like to) what happened to little Katie's family or the incident at Darla's farm.  So disturbing and scary.  Even though I seriously loved this book, I came to realize why I don't usually read books in this genre that often.  They freaking scare me and make me think I'm going to die.  Hello!!  If Yellowstone blows, I'm definitely gonna die.  There is no way I can skin animals and fight off scary psychos that want to take my food.  I'm dead.  So yeah these type of books just get me to thinking way too much about how fragile society and life in general is.  I don't want to ever live in a world where people are driven to desperation. 

I think this quote sums it up pretty well:
"For the first time ever, I felt ashamed of my species. The volcano had taken our homes, our food, our automobiles, and our airplanes, but it hadn't taken our humanity. No, we'd given that up on our own."

Overall: INTENSE!!  An awesome, terrifying look at one boy's journey through an apocalyptic world.  I love that this was set in modern times (not 100 years in the future) and that there were no zombies or monsters (so it was realistic).  I recommend for anyone who likes reading end-of-the-world scenario books because this one rocked! I am definitely down to read Ashen Winter.

This Book Contains:
  • Action
  • Effects of a super-volcano
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Martial Arts
  • Basic survival tactics
  • Toilet water drinking
  • Disturbing images
  • Love even through tough times
Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating:

How I got this book: Library
Date Published: 10/11/2011


  1. I agree completely! I LOVED this book, and you're right, it was deeply disturbing. I live in Iowa, so the accuracy Mullin got on everything was kinda scary! I haven't read the sequel yet, but I need to!

    1. I am so curious about the sequel. Is it going to give me the same amount of nightmares... or is it worse??

  2. Glad you enjoyed ASHFALL! Yes, Michelle, the sequel will give you nightmares if the first one did. Some people like ASHFALL better, some like ASHEN WINTER better, which I guess means I got it about right. The third book, SUNRISE, will be out early next year.

    1. Well I look forward to reading both Ashen Winter AND Sunrise even if they will scare me :) I like being scared sometimes!! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog it means a lot!

  3. wow o.O I'm amazed you gave this 4 hearts! I recently just removed from my TBR but maybe I should put it back on?