Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Title:  Ashes
Author:  Ilsa J. Bick
Genre:  Young Adult/Horror/Speculative Fiction
Publisher:  Pan Macmillan (Imprint: Quercus)
Publication Date:  1st October 2011
ISBN:  9780857382627
Stand alone or series:   Ashes Trilogy #1
Pages:  352 pages
Book Received from:  Pan Macmillan (Publishers)
First Lines:  "Where are you?"  Aunt Hanna demanded as soon as Alex thumbed talk.  "What do you think you're doing?"

Alex has run away and is hiking through the wilderness with her dead parents' ashes, about to say goodbye to the life she no longer wants to live. But then the world suddenly changes. An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who has changed...
Everyone still alive has turned – some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh). Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the zombies that are on the hunt, Alex meets up with Tom – an Army veteran who escaped one war only to find something worse at home – 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 find food, shelter, while fighting off the "Changed" and those desperate to stay alive.
A tense and involving adventure with shocks and sudden plot twists that will keep teen and adult readers gripped.

My Thoughts:
I don't know where to start here really.  Ashes is one of those books I would have come across eventually if it hadn't been for Pan Macmillan that had sent this to me.  I must admit, on Goodreads one of the covers where it has the face with the striped pattern over it did kind of turn me off the book initially.

I was thoroughly surprised when I started reading Ashes.  The main character Alex is terminally ill with a tumour in the brain.  The kind of sick you don't generally come back from if it's in the last stages.  So it was quite unusual to have a character that is as sick as this, at the beginning.  What gets my attention even more is that she takes it upon herself to go hiking with her dead parents ashes.  She meets Jack and Ellie while hiking and that's where the EMP (aka Electromagnetic pulse) hits.

Before I go on, I will have to say this.  Ellie was the most annoying snotty nosed character in the beginning!  It was irritating to the point I'd call it authentic lol.  Thankfully it doesn't last for very long and with the story moving along it falls into the background.

The story itself is fast past, edge of your seat reading for roughly 300 or so pages.  There is a lull right after that but the way the authors done it, it seems deliberate.  Kind of lulling you into a that false comfort of belonging. But that doesn't last though.  The end is left on a cliffhanger.

Ashes is an awesome read.  It's gory and will have you turning the pages fast to find out if Alex can outrun the changed humans.  A great addition to Young Adult reading.

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