Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.
I have to admit that I had high expectations regarding this. The whole idea revolving around a supervolcano seemed exceptional and I was really curious to read the book. I was lucky enough to be given Ashfall as a digital galley in order for me to review it.
My first thought on the book was related to how terrifying some aspects were. The lack of sun, total darkness, roaring sounds. And that was just the beginning. Mike Mullin’s version of world destruction is brilliant.
The story is brutal and it managed to affect me emotionally in many ways. It mostly got me sad. People dying, even turning into monsters, chaos reining our world and the environment being destroyed are difficult things to handle.
Alex was having a normal day when BOOM! Something hits his house and almost causes him to burn to death. And that’s how it all starts. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything, I’ll just pick on the most important aspects that made me fall in love with this book.
I love the fact that Alex is so - how to put it? Human? He’s not one of those typical YA heroes that gets through everything so easily just because he’s the chosen one or something cheesy like that. No, this kid succeeds through intelligence, courage and strong will. He shows that it’s worth fighting for your loved ones even in the toughest situations. You can see throughout the book how he grows from a normal, scared even, boy who spends most his time collecting treasures in WoW to a young man fighting the apocalypse in order to see his family again.
Mrs. Edmunds and Darla were dear to me also. They showed great kindness in helping Alex when they could have left him die. This shows that good people still exist between us and maybe if one day a supervolcano does erupt we could at least have hope of finding help somewhere.
It’s sweet how Darla and Alex ended up being together. I really admired their relationship, the familiarity of it and how attached they got to each other by the end.
I strongly recommend Ashfall; you won’t regret reading it.
Visit www.mikemullinauthor.com to read the first chapter of Ashen Winter, the sequel to Ashfall, which will be published by Tanglewood Press in fall 2012.
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