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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

UK Publication Date: 29 September 2011
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Series: Ashes #1
Type: Young Adult Dystopian

Blurb from book cover
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 acquired a taste for human flesh. These flesh-hunters stalk the land: hungry, ruthless and increasingly clever.

Alex meets Tom, a young 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?

My Thoughts

Ashes by Ilsa J Bick is the first book in the Ashes trilogy and what a way to start. Ashes is a post-apocalyptic story told through the eyes of Alexandra or Alex as she's known in the book. Alex is a seventeen-year-old girl who, after enduring countless experimental treatments to control a brain tumour, decides that she's had enough and sets out to scatter her parents ashes at Lake Superior. Unfortunately for Alex things don't go according to plan.

After meeting a man named Jack and his granddaughter Ellie, a bratty eight-year-old girl, and Mina, Ellie's dog,  they experience, what Alex calls, the zap. The zap renders technology useless, kills millions of people, including Jack, within the first few minutes and those it doesn't kill it changes into fast, fierce cannibals. Alex also finds out that she has changed as well. Alex realises that her sense of smell, which the tumour had robbed her of, is back and more sensitive then ever, though this doesn't help her when she finds Rule, a small village which is hiding a deadly secret.

Through Alex we see the best and worst of humanity and it begs the question how far would you be willing to go if society broke down. Ashes is a gripping, and very dark read with memorable characters and a plot that is highly intriguing.

I have read some reviews that criticise the way the second half of the book is written, as it differs greatly from the first part. In the first half of the book we see a lot of violence and gore whereas in the second half it's very quiet and nothing much happens. I have to say that I really liked this, as it offered the reader a false sense of security which is quickly destroyed by the shocking cliffhanger at the end.

Ashes is definitely not for the faint of heart as some of the gore and violence is quite graphic.

I cannot wait to find out what happens next to Alex.

Rating 5 out of 5

2 comments:

Alex said...

I have heard a lot about this book and I am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the fine review.

Taylor Gilmore said...

I'm afraid I'm one of the faint at heart. I can't stomach graphic gore. I'm visiting and following from World Bloggers Community.

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