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Friday, October 12, 2012

Ashen Winter, by Mike Mullin

Ashen Winter (Ashfall, #2)It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano.

Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series.

It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa.

Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

I read this book just as soon as I finished Ashfall, which I LOVED. In fact, I found this book first and had to go find Ashfall and was insanely happy to have the second book waiting on me so I could pick up where I'd left Alex and Darla. This isn't a "read a little here and there" book. It's a "stay up all night because you can't put it down book." I do believe I had a reading hangover with this one.

Mullin beat what I call "middle child syndrome" in a trilogy. For some reason, the second book just isn't as strong as the first and third--but Mullin escaped this syndrome and gave a really strong book for part 2. Alex and Darla grow so much as characters in this book, over and above the sudden jump to adulthood they endured in Ashfall. Inf Ashfall, I really connected Darla, because I felt like a lot of the action was centered around or led by her. But in Ashen Winter, Alex is my guy--he's become a strong male character, protector of the "tribe," so to speak. The two meet new allies and fight against a street gang gone feral (seriously, SPOILER ALERT--there's cannibalism). Then there's Ben...I love Ben. How many dystopia novels have you read that include a major character with Autism Spectrum Disorder? And Ben is so vital to the group's survival, you can't help but cheer him on.

I think if you liked the Hunger Games series, you'll dig this one. It's, in some ways, a more savage dystopia than Hunger Games.

Read my review of Mullin's first book, Ashfall here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Tanglewood Press through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required 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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