Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Mike Mullin
Published September 27th, 2011
by Tanglewood Press
Format: Ebook

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.
*A copy was provided by Tanglewood Press for review purposes*

The first night after I started reading this book, I dreamt about being stuck in a house and hiding from some people while trying to survive/escape. All night. THAT, is a sign of a good book!

This story is told in Alex's point of view. A huge volcano has erupted and they're now seeing and living the after effects. Which means a LOT of ash falling, incredible climate changes, and desperate food situations. I love that the book started right before the eruption. We got to live through it with Alex while he was unaware of what was happening or why his house was basically falling down on him.

I hate to compare books, especially with big hits like the Hunger Games. But I seriously have NOT read a book since the Hunger Games that has given me such a rush of pulse pounding excitement; not knowing if they were going to survive from one page to the next. Once the ash started falling and Alex figured it wasn't going to stop any time soon, he left to go find his family who were away at his uncle's house. It's a 2 hour drive from there. So imagine slugging through cement-like wet ash, on foot. All food has been scavenged, nothing naturally growing is salvageable, the heavy ash is making houses collapse, no more electricity or phones. Breathing is even a problem. It was exhilarating; every single minute of this book had my adrenaline pumping.

The protagonist, Alex, was  extremely strong willed and his character was deeply realistic. I could connect with him and really worry about him to the core. He got into dire situations that were very intense, but still realistic under the circumstances. I could imagine this all happening for real; the human reaction and violence that would occur is how I would expect it. Everyone is out for their own and trying to survive. I'm sure we can all imagine what desperate people will do in these circumstances.

There is nothing paranormal in this book. It's a natural disaster happening in the present. The story itself is nothing like I've ever read, it's certainly original with a strong apocalyptic feel. Following Alex on his alarming and scary journey was thrilling and thoroughly addicting. I would give it 10 stars if I could! 

5 Hot Espressos