Monday, 20 August 2012

Ashes (Ashes #1)

Ashes (Ashes #1) by Ilsa J. Bick
Paperback, 465 pages

Published 29th September 2011 by Quercus

My shelves: 
apocalyptic, books-i-own, cover-appeal, dystopian, horror, read, read-in-2012, sci-fi, series-or-companions, young-adult, zombies
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
No, she thought. No, please, God, I'm not seeing this

Seventeen-year-old Alex is hiking through the wilderness when it happens: an earth-shattering electromagnetic pulse that destroys almost everything.

Survivors are divided between those who have developed a superhuman sense and those who have aquired a taste for human flesh. These flesh-hunters stalk the land: hungry, ruthless and increasingly clever...

Alex meets Tom, a younge army veteran, and Ellie, a lost girl. They will fight together and be torn apart, but Alex must face the most difficult question of all: 
In such a vastly changed world, who can you trust?

A srtory of high-wire tension, gut-wrenching twist, and burgeoning love, Ashes will leave you breathless.

Buy this book:
I bought Ashes last year and to be honest, I'm really not sure why it took me so long to get around to it. I absolutely loved the premise of this one as I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic type books, even if they do scare me a little bit! As the next book in this trilogy, Shadows, is being released very soon, I thought it was definitely time to pick this one up off my shelves.

Ashes is about a girl named Alex who has a brain tumour and seems to have given up on all of the available treatments, instead deciding to live her life by herself, exploring the wilderness. When Alex is out in theforest, she comes across an old man, his somewhat troubled granddaughter, Ellie, and her dog, Mina. After forming a bond with the old man and being frustrated by Ellie, something very strange happens. The real action of the book starts when the world is hit with several electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) which changes everything. The old man dies, and Alex is left with Ellie and her dog and no idea of what has happened.

I really loved the start of this book. Learning about our protagonist was enjoyable and so was the mystery of the big 'zap' that changed the world. I loved moving through the wilderness with Alex and was quite captivated. The first half of the book was certainly a page turner. Parts of the story were very gruesome and quite disgusting, but the vivid imagery did work well - it gave the book a rather horrifying edge - I certainly wouldn't recommend this for younger teens, though!

Unfortunately, as the book progressed I did start to become a little bored. I absolutely loved following Alex, Ellie and Tom but around halfway or three-quarters of the way through, the book felt a bit disjointed as the characters were separated and I started to lose interest. The last section of the book, where Alex is led into living with some sort of cult was okay but it just didn't capture my imagination as the rest of the book had. The whole cult situation felt a little bit random and the introduction of a love triangle was unnecessary.

Getting to know our main character was very fascinating - Having a character with a terminal illness was different and interesting, I liked reading about her past and the thoughts she had in the present-day. We got to learn more about her as the book progressed and I found her to be a very likeable character. Whilst I didn't find anything about her particularly stand-out or striking, she was strong yet still very human and vulnerable - I liked that about her. I also came to love Ellie, the girl who was at first quite hostile but came to be slightly more mature, yet still kept her fragility. During their exploration of the woods to try and find some safety, we also met Tom, a character who certainly played a big role and is one of the romantic interests in the book. I did like Tom, he seemed like a genuine, caring guy but I personally wouldn't have been able to trust someone as quickly as Alex trusted him, especially in the situation that they were in. We do meet several other characters during the book and they are all well written and quite well formed.

This book does end on quite a big and somewhat exciting cliffhanger, so I do want to know what will happen next to all of our characters. It will be interesting to discover what has become of each character and what they plan to do in regards to the cult. This book had enough positive features in the first half for me to want to read on, so I will be looking forward to trying out the second book, Shadows.


  1. I have this book in my pile somewhere...I was thinking about pulling it out and reading it because it sounds interesting and the second book is coming out soon. I saw the sequel (Shadows?) in NetGalley. But, I already requested two books there that are book #2 in a series and where I haven't read book #1.

  2. Thanks for the review. The premise does sound interesting. Sorry it wasn't as good as you'd hoped. Also glad to hear you like post-apocalyptic books. You know, for my own reasons. :D

  3. This book sounds intriguing every time I read the summary :D Although you didn't love love love it, I'm glad to see it got a 3.5 from you :D Thanks for the review hun!

    Chocolate Coated Reviews

  4. I really loved this book! I agree that the whole cult bit at the end was a bit random, but I think it worked well. Not that I can remember it all that much, as I read it when it came out last year... Anyway, great review and thanks for reminding me that the second one's coming out very soon!

  5. The main character sounds fascinating, but what a shame that the book lacked of action halfway. I saw the sequel on Netgalley, but I haven't read this one, so I skipped it. I might give it a shot soon, because I like the 'zap' that made the world change.

  6. I've seen the sequel of this around everywhere, so I'm glad you enjoyed this novel too! I haven't read it yet, but it really does seem very good. Plus, the concept sounds fascinating! Wonderful review, Stephanie! :)

  7. eh.. i hate it when book start becoming boring in the middle!! This book seems like it has alot of things i would be annoyed of! Great review though! Dont think this would be a book i'd pick up!
    - Farah @MajiBookshelf

  8. I loooved Ashes, although I agree there were some very slow part in the middle! Still, it found it surprisingly awesome:)

  9. oh it's always difficult when you get to be bored in a book... But it's tre this book sounds interesting, I didn't know it so thanks for the discovery and the review.

  10. I didnt even finish this book, id probably read it again but not now. sorry that it wasnt what you were hoping for, but hope the next read will be better. Great review Stephanie. x

  11. I know exactly what you mean! It was almost like this book was written by a person with a multiple personality disorder and the first half (which I loved) had nothing to do with the second half (which I didn't like at all).
    Great review!

  12. I really like the premise of this, I was immediately thinking about what could have caused the pulses and Alex sounds like a good main character.

    Shame about the second half of a book, it's such a let down when that happens :(

  13. I do love dystopian & post-apocalyptic. Shame it didn't quite live up to the brilliant sounding synopsis.

    Can't believe I haven't visited your very cute blog before, I'm now a new follower :)

  14. I haven't read enough post-apocalyptic books and I love that you can read about how the character adapts to a sudden, extreme change in the world. This book sounds really interesting, even the cult part has me intrigued. I think the only thing that turns me away from this book is the love triangle.
    Isa @ Chasing Quills

  15. I quite enjoyed this but I get where you come from when you say that it got slow. I'm looking forwards to reading Shadows though.


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