Sunday, May 6, 2012


   Title Ashes
   Author Ilsa Bick
   Genre Young Adult, Dystopian, Horror, Zombie
   Publisher Egmontusa
   Publication Date September 6, 2011
   How I Got This Book Blue Willow Bookshop
   Hardback 465
   Stand alone or series First in the trilogy
     My Average 42 pg/day
     Reading Difficulty 3
      (on a scale of 1-5 5 = dictionary vernacular)

Seventeen-year old Alex is just trying to deal with her own monster, taking some time in the wilderness to think things through, when her whole world ends. After Alex watches an elderly man, drop dead next to her, she and his bratty granddaughter, Ellie, decide to hike to safety. It's when Alex and Ellie come across some kids eating the guts out of a dead woman like spaghetti that she realizes they're in a lot more trouble than just a few dead adults and dead electronics. The world as Alex knows it has turned upside down. Many of the adults flat out died right away leaving the elderly and children to survive, but most of the adolescents have transformed into something else, something evil. For some reason, Alex  is spared, maybe it's her tumor. Maybe that's why she can smell them coming, the days-old roadkill stench. The makeshift family, Alex, Ellie and Tom, will do everything in their power to survive. But survival is difficult when you're an anomaly, and both sides want you. 

"People'll either shoot you, or decide you're worth your weight in gold."

Hit The Mark:
I absolutely loved the gore! There are some reviews that said they had a hard time eating while reading this book. Suck it up! You're reading a zombie book. What do you expect, the kids arn't limping over to hand you picked flowers... 

"With a grunt, the boy plunged his fist into the woman's abdomen and rooted around before coming back up with a drippy fistful of something liverish and soft enough that Alex could hear the squelch as the meaty thing oozed between his fists."

When I was younger, I never read much because of my dyslexia, but authors like Dean Koontz and Stephen King got me over that. Reading horror is like refreshing my brain back to the start point. I love it! 

The poetic description brought to the details in this book scared me at first. I was afraid it was going to drag the pace of the book down, but it only enhanced my reading experience. Bick keeps up a vernacular any writer would chew their (non writing) hand off for. If nothing else, I would reread this novel to steal some of her metaphors and other descriptors. 
The ending of this novel is like a kick in the teeth. I had no idea it was coming and as soon as I realized what was going on, I desperately wanted to read the next book -- So kudos Bick.

This book has the pace of a run-away train lit on fire, careening down a canyon with manic, gore covered brain-eaters hot on its tail.

Needs Improvement:
I agree with many of the reviews I have seen, this book really seems like two books. Book 1 - Escape from the woods to find safe shelter. Book 2 - escape from Rule. The second part did feel a little out of place, and it dragged a little - compared to the first section - but as I read on I felt like it really slipped into place and will defiantly play a part in the next book.

I didn't like Alex's character when she arrived in Rule. She acted completely different, from a tough, no-nonsense outdoorsy chick to a fluffy, defeated "free" prisoner. I say that because she was free to move around, do things see people... but she was not allowed to leave the compound or go anywhere without an escort, because she, like the other girls, is the future. The baby maker.

Once more characters are brought into the book, I had a hard time figuring out weather the character was an elderly person or a "spared." There was little difference in their speech or attitude. I felt like there should have been more of a difference to make each group stand out from the other. 
The last thing that bugged me was how long it took Alex to realize what Jess could do. It should have been as obvious to her as rain slapping her in the face after her interview with the Reverend, and Matt's explanation.

So I can see why some people felt disappointed with this novel. They went into it thinking it was your average zombie novel. Zombie's have inhabited the earth and there is really no point going on because eventually, their disease will spread and there will be too many to fight off. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. This is not that novel. There is a light. There is hope. The zombie's don't have any sort of disease that transforms adults and children alike into brain-dead killing machines covered in an entrails necklaces. They just were unlucky kids who didn't survive whatever caused many of the adults to drop dead. 

Rating: A+

If you like Ashfall, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Wither, & Eden, you might like this novel.

I was going to do another video blog, but I just didn't have time this time around. Sorry.

About the Author

Read my interview. Bick is a former Air Force major—and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, e-books, and novels.
From her website:
Helloooo, I’m right here … So let’s just say that I’m a child psychiatrist (yeah, you read that right) and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, ebooks and novels.

Believe me, no one is more shocked about this than I … unless you talk to my mother.

No comments:

Post a Comment