Thursday, 22 September 2011

ARC Book Review: Ashes by Ilsa J Bick

Goodreads: Alex has run away and is hiking through the wilderness with her dead parents' ashes, about to say goodbye to the life she no longer wants to live. But then the world suddenly changes. An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who has changed... Everyone still alive has turned - some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh). Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the zombies that are on the hunt, Alex meets up with Tom - an Army veteran who escaped one war only to find something worse at home - and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse. This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to find food, shelter, while fighting off the 'Changed' and those desperate to stay alive. A tense and involving adventure with shocks and sudden plot twists that will keep teen and adult readers gripped.

Title: Ashes (Ashes Trilogy #1)
Author: Ilsa J Bick
Publisher: Quercus
Format: Paperback, 465 pages
Source: Pan MacMillan Australia (thank you so much!)

This book was addictive!  When I started reading, it was night and I was home alone. Reading the part when Alex and Ellie are trekking through the woods when gun shots are heard and then they see the teenage kids eating a woman, well, I didn't sleep well that night!!  But gee, it was fantastic.

Alex is a teenager that has run away, she is just 15 years old.  Alex was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and decided she needed time to sort out her options.  She was diagnose two years earlier and had been having treatment, but nothing worked.  She hiked up a mountain in the Waucamaw Wilderness and a few days later a couple of visitors arrived.  An elderly man, Jack and his Grand-daughter, Ellie (who is 8 years old) arrived with their dog Mina.  Ellie wasn't really impressed with Alex and didn't really want to stay, but Jack wanted a coffee and to shared their Krispy Kreme's.  A few moments later Jack was having a heart attack and Alex thought her head was going to explode.  Ellie had taken off down the trail to cool off and didn't know what was happening on top of the mountain.

Alex's head cleared, Jack had died with blood coming out of his head and Mina was also bleeding.  Mina became very protective of Jack's body while Ellie stumbled back up and she started to go into shock.  Nobody knew what was going on, but Alex decided it was best to pack up camp and head down to the Ranger's Station.  Ellie was fighting the idea, didn't want to leave Jack, but there was no alternative.  Alex headed off without Ellie, knowing she would follow eventually.

They reached the bottom of the mountain and headed to the camp ground for an overnight stay.  They heard noise, saw a couple of teenagers sitting around eating.  Then they realised what they were eating.  Alex and Ellie took off like a rocket, still not knowing what in the world was going on.

They had gotten away from those kids and set up camp for the night.  Heading for water the next day, Ellie was fishing for something to eat.  A bunch of wild dogs came upon the girls and decided they wanted lunch.  Alex was trying to ward them off when a man stumbled out of the woods, grabbed one of the dogs and he then proceeded to eat it... yummo!  After munching on the dog, he thought the girls looked tastier.  With a bang another man came along and shot the CHANGED man. The other man was Tom!

The three decided to keep to the plan and head for the Ranger's Station.  It was empty of people (all sorts), but fully stocked with food, weapons and beds.  They stayed there a while trying to work out what to do.  Tom was listed in the Army in explosives and told the girls he thought it was an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) or several that were detonated.

They made a plan to head to Canada.  There was an old truck in the shed and they found plenty of weapons and food to take along as well.  They headed out early one morning, following the old country roads to keep out of sight.  They had also been told about a town that was taking in refugees and that was their second option.

There are some very exciting adventures that Alex partakes in following their departure from the Ranger's Station.  I don't want to ruin the excitement, so will just say that Alex gets torn between two boys and has a strange affinity towards dogs.

My opinion:  I rated it 5 stars.  Wow, it ends in such a cliffhanger and now I want to read the next one, Shadows (Ashes #2), due out next year.  Ashes Trilogy

I loved that Alex was self sufficient, knew how to live off the land and protect herself.  She had the courage to do what was necessary and not think about her own needs in the process.

This was a fantastic read, I loved all the details, although some were gruesome.  The thing is this could actually happen in today's society, well except for the zombie part.  We rely on technology so much that I couldn't imagine being without electricity or plumbing for that matter.  Ilsa has a great method of writing and it was very easy to read.  Looking forward to the next one.

1 comment:

  1. I adored this book!! It was just really unique. The ending killed me too. I want to be like Alex LOL. I hear ya about that trek through the woods scene - and that EYE. Ugh. Scared me too.