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Book Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Ashes Title: Ashes 
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Series: Ashes Trilogy #1
Pages: 480
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Date of Publication: 6th September 2011
Source: netGalley
Synopsis from Goodreads: It could happen tomorrow...

A cataclysmic event. An army of "The Changed."
Can one teen really survive on her own?

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human...

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom---a young army veteran---and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.

My Thoughts:
I really loved this book, SO much more than I thought I would. It had a really interesting plot line with lots of twists and turns that I did not see coming, and there was so much about it that kept me hooked and reading for hours.

Alex is camping in the woods, trying to escape from all the reminders of her terminal brain tumour that she gets at home, when an electromagnetic pulse sweeps across the world, and turns around half of the world's population into something that is not entirely human. She meets up with two seemingly unharmed humans, eight year old Ellie, and a guy called Tom, and together they set out to see if they can find out what's happened to the world. But the EMP has wiped out all electrical equipment, and so they are forced to set out on foot. The journey will be difficult, and they'll need all their strength to survive.

Before I requested this book on netGalley, I didn't realise it was a post-apocalyptic book. I'd never even read a post-apocalyptic book before, so I didn't know what to expect until I read Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts, a couple of books before I read this. And Ashes was VERY similar to Dark Inside, I felt sometimes that the story and characters in Ashes had somehow slipped into Dark Inside, and it still made perfect sense, because they are VERY similar books. Whether this is the case for all post-apocalyptic books or this was just my luck, I have no idea, and that is probably my only complaint about this book - that the first half felt familiar.

However, I still really enjoyed it. It terrified me, and at times I didn't want to read on because I honestly had no idea what would happen and if the characters would survive, but I did because at the same time I also really needed to know what happened next. I raced through the book really quickly, and even though it was a huge 480 pages, I still read it in under 24 hours (which, may I add, I am VERY proud of ;) ) The plot had lots of fast-paced action and suspense, but it also had bits that were calmer, when the characters were resting, and it was nice to have those, just to give me a little breathing room.

The book is kind of told in two parts, the first being the three trying to figure out what the heck was going on, and then the second half is about Alex *minor spoiler* when she finds a cult. *spoiler over* I was a little disappointed by what happened at first, but then as I read more of it, I found it was interesting and I actually really enjoyed it. Some people had been saying that the second half was a bit odd and boring and just not as good as the first half, but I really liked it and thought that it was a great way to take the story.

I really liked Alex, I thought she was a great character. I really liked the way she took on a sort of maternal/big sister kind of role to Ellie, who was only eight, and I loved the way she persevered through Ellie's moods and eventually they became great friends, despite the age difference. I also liked how she didn't think of Tom as a love interest until she'd really got to know him, and even then their romance didn't go very far. It was nice to have a more action focused plot, one that didn't rely on the romance to make it good.

Overall, I really loved Ashes. I thought it was an awesome book, and I'd really recommend it to fans of YA dystopian and post-apocalyptic, though I would warn you (based on my very minute knowledge of the post-apocalyptic genre) to read it when you haven't read a post-apocalyptic book in a while, as this is very similar to the others I have read. Anyway, it has awesome characters, an awesome plot, and a HUGE cliffhanger at the end that has me eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

*Thank you to netGalley and EgmontUSA for allowing me access to this galley in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

My Rating:
I give it 5 Feet!

2011 e-book Challenge #17
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #74


  1. I am SO excited to read this book! I just met the author yesterday at the launch party and she was beyond amazing. Did you know its gonna be a trilogy? Anyway great review. I'm glad you liked it so much and that's awesome you read it in one day. I guess I shouldn't start my copy till I have enough time to finish it. :)

  2. I really enjoyed the author's first book, but I only got about a third of the way through this one. It was just too intense for me; I actually had nightmares after reading the first part.

  3. This book sounds really good! I'm definitely going to have to check it out. So glad you enjoyed it!


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