Author: Mike Mullin
Genre: Teen Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
ISBN-13 Book: 9781933718552
Source: I received a e-copy of this book from Netgalley, then purchased a copy for my personal collection. This is my honest review!
Ashfall by Mike Mullin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Alex was looking forward to his weekend alone while his parents and little sister traveled to Warren, IL to visit his uncle. He thought he would finally have time to play video games and avoid being hassled by his mother. Little did he know that soon he would be wishing to see his parents and little sister again. When the supervolcano under Yellowstone erupts spreading ash and debris hundreds of miles, Alex finds himself homeless and alone. Determined to find his family again, Alex packs up some supplies, grabs a pair of skis and sets off a on a journey that will take him over a 150 miles. Alex travels through a world in chaos, looters and desperate people pepper his journey to find his family.
When I first finished reading this novel I felt like I needed to form this review in the form of a letter to the author. “Dear Mr. Mullin, couldn’t you cut poor Alex a break?” This novel keeps you on the edge of your seat never knowing what will happen to Alex next. His journey to find his family is full of danger, suspense, and even a dash of romance.
This novel has some of best developed characters I have found in a novel in a long time. I enjoyed watching Alex change and grow through his experiences in the novel. Darla was a fascinating character and equally well developed. These are two people watching as their world collapses around them and doing their best to survive and remain hopeful. Neither knows what lies at the end of their journey, but they are determined to get there.
The plot is tight, and the journey harrowing. The pacing in this novel is spot on and keeps you turning the pages eager to see what is going to happen to Alex next. Readers should be prepared to face a society that is falling apart. Violence, looting, and even sexual violence, have all become a part of this disintegrating society.
Overall this is one of the most engaging books I have read this year. Not since I read Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It have I had such a reaction to the setting and events of a novel. Like with Pfeffer’s work, Mullin had me wanting to go out to Sam’s Club and start stockpiling food, water, and nonperishables for the end of the world. I love it when an author can pull you that deeply into their story and have you feeling like you are living in the world they created. Thank you, Mike, for an unforgettable novel, a novel that could make me believe I was there. I eagerly anticipate the next installment Ashen Winter which is due out in October of 2013.
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