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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ashfall, by Mike Mullin

Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the earth forever.

Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when Yellowstone erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait—to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.

I snagged this book to read because I've received an advance copy of book two in the series, Ashen Winter. The blurb for the second book left me feeling like I needed all of the back story to understand what was going on. And for the record, now that I've started book two, YES YOU NEED TO READ THIS ONE FIRST. Book two jumps in kind of head first to the story and you'll be lost immediately if you don't have Ashfall under your belt.

Ashfall is definitely post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction. The best part of this particular apocalypse scenario is that the trigger event is one that isn't so hard to believe--the eruption of a super volcano in Yellowstone National Park. One that we do happen to know exists and hasn't erupted in 640,000 years. And when it did erupt....well.....Krakatoa ain't got nothin' on this one

Excellent book. There's adventure, there's action, there's some blood and gore, there's even some love. All the pieces work and it was unbelievably easy to get caught up in this story. In light of the major earthquakes that have happened in the last few years, the realization that something like this is possible tomorrow, adds the scariness of this book. Not horror scary, but reality scary.

It is rather intense. I wouldn't hand this to a junior high student, definitely my 15/16 and up crowd, and can even think of some adults who would enjoy this one.

Reading other reviews, it appears to be a love/hate book. You either LOVED it, or you didn't and there doesn't seem to be much happy medium. I think if you like The Last Survivors series (by Susan Beth Pfeffer, the first book is Life As We Knew It), you'll enjoy this one. It's, frankly, awesome.   

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book for my personal collection to read and review. I was not required or even asked to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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