Books Young Adult Fiction Ashes (Ashes Trilogy #1)

Ashes (Ashes Trilogy #1) Hot

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Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 06, 2011
ISBN
978-1606841754
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It could happen tomorrow . . . An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

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Average editor rating from: 2 user(s)

Overall rating 
 
5.0
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5.0  (2)
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5.0  (2)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (2)

I either need to get some survival training or I need to stop reading books about the apocalypse.

ASHES is an intense and thrilling addition to the genre, detailing what happens after an electromagnetic pulse kills the majority of adults and leaves most teenagers as cannibalistic zombies. Alex has never been lucky: first her parents died and then she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. While she hikes to scatter her parents' ashes, she manages to escape the worst of the calamity and teams up with a cranky young orphan named Ellie and a cute veteran named Tom. The three stick together as they try to survive, but my zombie reading experience warned me that nothing was going to work out.

I loved this book. It kept me up late at night and had me panicking about the fact that I don't know how to start a fire or fight, and that I have two canned items in my cupboard. Ilsa J. Bick is insanely talented and able to weave a story that doesn't follow a predictable structure. Some of the sentences are so simple, yet knocked me out, like, "That was the last good time." This sentence pops up only halfway through the book, by the way.

ASHES ends with one of the best cliffhangers I've ever encountered, and I actually didn't know that it is the first in a trilogy, so I scrambled to the computer to learn more. Happily, Shadows will be released in Fall 2012, so while I have a wait to learn what happens next, I am comforted to know that eventually I will know.

If you love action, guts, being scared, and being surprised, make sure that ASHES is at the top of your To Read list.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

The Best Kind of Scary

I either need to get some survival training or I need to stop reading books about the apocalypse.

ASHES is an intense and thrilling addition to the genre, detailing what happens after an electromagnetic pulse kills the majority of adults and leaves most teenagers as cannibalistic zombies. Alex has never been lucky: first her parents died and then she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. While she hikes to scatter her parents' ashes, she manages to escape the worst of the calamity and teams up with a cranky young orphan named Ellie and a cute veteran named Tom. The three stick together as they try to survive, but my zombie reading experience warned me that nothing was going to work out.

I loved this book. It kept me up late at night and had me panicking about the fact that I don't know how to start a fire or fight, and that I have two canned items in my cupboard. Ilsa J. Bick is insanely talented and able to weave a story that doesn't follow a predictable structure. Some of the sentences are so simple, yet knocked me out, like, "That was the last good time." This sentence pops up only halfway through the book, by the way.

ASHES ends with one of the best cliffhangers I've ever encountered, and I actually didn't know that it is the first in a trilogy, so I scrambled to the computer to learn more. Happily, Shadows will be released in Fall 2012, so while I have a wait to learn what happens next, I am comforted to know that eventually I will know.

If you love action, guts, being scared, and being surprised, make sure that ASHES is at the top of your To Read list.

Was this review helpful to you? 
If you're on Twitter, I'm sure you've read alot about the YA dystopia ASHES. I knew I had to grab a copy of this book especially when I heard how amazing it was. Add a frightening premise in a world that could very well be our own. Plus, Egmont is the publisher. If you know by now, Egmont is one of my favorite publishers. I was able to get an ebook galley from Netgalley. Let’s just say this book doesn’t disappoint.

We start out with Alex on a mountain waiting to make peace with the death of her parents. She also refuses any more treatments for her brain tumor. Then Ellie, a smart mouth eight year old, and her grandfather come upon Alex right when the electromagnet wave hits. Alex finds something happens to her. Her lost of smell comes back. Plus not only can she smell but she can smell the emotions of people around her. Adults drop dead while the teens and kids seem to become animalistic to the point of becoming zombie like.

What I love about this story is it’s not the usual zombie tale. No, this one doesn’t follow any rules. For one thing Bick isn’t afraid to have her characters go to hell and back. And believe me this new world is hell. There are some very intense scenes that would give Stephen King a run for his money. But the beauty of this story is how the little details strengthen the storyline. And the whole premise of an electromagnet wave tampering with someone’s brain in a horrific way is very plausible which makes this story even more terrifying and wonderful.

There’s scenes that make you squirm yet also make you afraid to stop reading. A true storyteller is able to do this to a reader. And Bick, like King, is a master of this.

The cliffhanger ending is totally wow worthy. And yes, there’s more to Alex’s tale. This is book one of a trilogy. If you loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, you’ll love this story. I predict this will be a hot Fall YA book. Run, don’t walk to pick up this scary, creepy, but very amazing read. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Kim Baccellia, Editor Reviewed by Kim Baccellia, Editor September 05, 2011
Last updated: September 05, 2011
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (381)

Scary good tale

If you're on Twitter, I'm sure you've read alot about the YA dystopia ASHES. I knew I had to grab a copy of this book especially when I heard how amazing it was. Add a frightening premise in a world that could very well be our own. Plus, Egmont is the publisher. If you know by now, Egmont is one of my favorite publishers. I was able to get an ebook galley from Netgalley. Let’s just say this book doesn’t disappoint.

We start out with Alex on a mountain waiting to make peace with the death of her parents. She also refuses any more treatments for her brain tumor. Then Ellie, a smart mouth eight year old, and her grandfather come upon Alex right when the electromagnet wave hits. Alex finds something happens to her. Her lost of smell comes back. Plus not only can she smell but she can smell the emotions of people around her. Adults drop dead while the teens and kids seem to become animalistic to the point of becoming zombie like.

What I love about this story is it’s not the usual zombie tale. No, this one doesn’t follow any rules. For one thing Bick isn’t afraid to have her characters go to hell and back. And believe me this new world is hell. There are some very intense scenes that would give Stephen King a run for his money. But the beauty of this story is how the little details strengthen the storyline. And the whole premise of an electromagnet wave tampering with someone’s brain in a horrific way is very plausible which makes this story even more terrifying and wonderful.

There’s scenes that make you squirm yet also make you afraid to stop reading. A true storyteller is able to do this to a reader. And Bick, like King, is a master of this.

The cliffhanger ending is totally wow worthy. And yes, there’s more to Alex’s tale. This is book one of a trilogy. If you loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, you’ll love this story. I predict this will be a hot Fall YA book. Run, don’t walk to pick up this scary, creepy, but very amazing read. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

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Overall rating 
 
4.7
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4.9  (7)
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4.4  (7)
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4.7  (7)
Quite often you come across books that when you read you think, where had this book been all my life? Why the heck did I not read this until now? Let me start by saying I never read any survival based stories until now – I thought they were too raw and horrific for me to stomach (I never even watched Lost). Sure, I have read dystopic fiction but most of them are set in the distant future – like a few centuries after an apocalypse. But never a just-happened post-apocalypse story. So when I took up this book to read, I mentally prepared myself for the horror that usually accompanies such stories and I don’t regret taking this book at all. In fact, by the end of this book I am wide awake (which considering it’s 6am and me having read all night is quite a feat for the book). I just couldn’t put it down!

Ashes begins with Alex camping out and going forward to Lake Superior with a specific purpose in mind. She is a cancer patient who has gone through ever treatment imaginable and been told there is not much light left at the end of the tunnel, besides the proverbial white one. So, when in the midst of camping out and meeting an old man and his grand-daughter, an EMP strikes affecting the entire world, she is exhilarated to regain some of her lost senses – which seem to be sharper than before. Traversing through the trails with the kid and her dog, she meets Tom who saves them from the new danger of this new world – cannibalistic people whose brains got affected by the EMP, essentially Changed. They go out in search of help at the Ranger’s station and learn that the whole world has been made anew and the old rules no longer apply. Survival would be easier if they weren’t headed towards civilization and the three of them carved an existence for themselves. Soon, times comes for them to move and there are new dangers on the way. Without giving out spoilers, I’ll just say that Alex’s journey takes her through some weird community (which is ironically called Rule) where they have reverted back to older ways. In this new times, people like her, the Spared are a commodity and a hope for the future. And while she wants to escape this new life, some bigger things are also going into play. Let me just say – last two lines of the novel? Best cliffhanger ever! (I would hate the author if I didn’t already have the second book with me)

I cannot gush enough of the fact that the book was so well-written that I have chewed my nails to stubs and have been awake an entire night. The writing is so descriptive and realistic, and Alex puts a very nice perspective on things. She is slightly jaded, but a survivor – so she is hopeful. Most of the times, that’s what carries her forward, even though with her condition she could have just given up. Although the events leading up to her entering Rule do dampen her spirit to some extent, I feel at that point of time she was just tired of her life. The plot twists come out of nowhere and at times, you just hold your breath to read whats happening next. The gore and the horror – yep, this one’s not just for everybody. There are a lot of things going for this book though – don’t let the horror part scare you off. I am glad I took my chance with this book.
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Krutula Nair Reviewed by Krutula Nair September 14, 2013
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (88)

Breath-taking book

Quite often you come across books that when you read you think, where had this book been all my life? Why the heck did I not read this until now? Let me start by saying I never read any survival based stories until now – I thought they were too raw and horrific for me to stomach (I never even watched Lost). Sure, I have read dystopic fiction but most of them are set in the distant future – like a few centuries after an apocalypse. But never a just-happened post-apocalypse story. So when I took up this book to read, I mentally prepared myself for the horror that usually accompanies such stories and I don’t regret taking this book at all. In fact, by the end of this book I am wide awake (which considering it’s 6am and me having read all night is quite a feat for the book). I just couldn’t put it down!

Ashes begins with Alex camping out and going forward to Lake Superior with a specific purpose in mind. She is a cancer patient who has gone through ever treatment imaginable and been told there is not much light left at the end of the tunnel, besides the proverbial white one. So, when in the midst of camping out and meeting an old man and his grand-daughter, an EMP strikes affecting the entire world, she is exhilarated to regain some of her lost senses – which seem to be sharper than before. Traversing through the trails with the kid and her dog, she meets Tom who saves them from the new danger of this new world – cannibalistic people whose brains got affected by the EMP, essentially Changed. They go out in search of help at the Ranger’s station and learn that the whole world has been made anew and the old rules no longer apply. Survival would be easier if they weren’t headed towards civilization and the three of them carved an existence for themselves. Soon, times comes for them to move and there are new dangers on the way. Without giving out spoilers, I’ll just say that Alex’s journey takes her through some weird community (which is ironically called Rule) where they have reverted back to older ways. In this new times, people like her, the Spared are a commodity and a hope for the future. And while she wants to escape this new life, some bigger things are also going into play. Let me just say – last two lines of the novel? Best cliffhanger ever! (I would hate the author if I didn’t already have the second book with me)

I cannot gush enough of the fact that the book was so well-written that I have chewed my nails to stubs and have been awake an entire night. The writing is so descriptive and realistic, and Alex puts a very nice perspective on things. She is slightly jaded, but a survivor – so she is hopeful. Most of the times, that’s what carries her forward, even though with her condition she could have just given up. Although the events leading up to her entering Rule do dampen her spirit to some extent, I feel at that point of time she was just tired of her life. The plot twists come out of nowhere and at times, you just hold your breath to read whats happening next. The gore and the horror – yep, this one’s not just for everybody. There are a lot of things going for this book though – don’t let the horror part scare you off. I am glad I took my chance with this book.

Was this review helpful to you? 
Quite often you come across books that when you read you think, where had this book been all my life? Why the heck did I not read this until now? Let me start by saying I never read any survival based stories until now – I thought they were too raw and horrific for me to stomach (I never even watched Lost). Sure, I have read dystopic fiction but most of them are set in the distant future – like a few centuries after an apocalypse. But never a just-happened post-apocalypse story. So when I took up this book to read, I mentally prepared myself for the horror that usually accompanies such stories and I don’t regret taking this book at all. In fact, by the end of this book I am wide awake (which considering it’s 6am and me having read all night is quite a feat for the book). I just couldn’t put it down!

Ashes begins with Alex camping out and going forward to Lake Superior with a specific purpose in mind. She is a cancer patient who has gone through ever treatment imaginable and been told there is not much light left at the end of the tunnel, besides the proverbial white one. So, when in the midst of camping out and meeting an old man and his grand-daughter, an EMP strikes affecting the entire world, she is exhilarated to regain some of her lost senses – which seem to be sharper than before. Traversing through the trails with the kid and her dog, she meets Tom who saves them from the new danger of this new world – cannibalistic people whose brains got affected by the EMP, essentially Changed. They go out in search of help at the Ranger’s station and learn that the whole world has been made anew and the old rules no longer apply. Survival would be easier if they weren’t headed towards civilization and the three of them carved an existence for themselves. Soon, times comes for them to move and there are new dangers on the way. Without giving out spoilers, I’ll just say that Alex’s journey takes her through some weird community (which is ironically called Rule) where they have reverted back to older ways. In this new times, people like her, the Spared are a commodity and a hope for the future. And while she wants to escape this new life, some bigger things are also going into play. Let me just say – last two lines of the novel? Best cliffhanger ever! (I would hate the author if I didn’t already have the second book with me)

I cannot gush enough of the fact that the book was so well-written that I have chewed my nails to stubs and have been awake an entire night. The writing is so descriptive and realistic, and Alex puts a very nice perspective on things. She is slightly jaded, but a survivor – so she is hopeful. Most of the times, that’s what carries her forward, even though with her condition she could have just given up. Although the events leading up to her entering Rule do dampen her spirit to some extent, I feel at that point of time she was just tired of her life. The plot twists come out of nowhere and at times, you just hold your breath to read whats happening next. The gore and the horror – yep, this one’s not just for everybody. There are a lot of things going for this book though – don’t let the horror part scare you off. I am glad I took my chance with this book.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Krutula Nair Reviewed by Krutula Nair September 04, 2013
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (88)

Exciting dystopia

Quite often you come across books that when you read you think, where had this book been all my life? Why the heck did I not read this until now? Let me start by saying I never read any survival based stories until now – I thought they were too raw and horrific for me to stomach (I never even watched Lost). Sure, I have read dystopic fiction but most of them are set in the distant future – like a few centuries after an apocalypse. But never a just-happened post-apocalypse story. So when I took up this book to read, I mentally prepared myself for the horror that usually accompanies such stories and I don’t regret taking this book at all. In fact, by the end of this book I am wide awake (which considering it’s 6am and me having read all night is quite a feat for the book). I just couldn’t put it down!

Ashes begins with Alex camping out and going forward to Lake Superior with a specific purpose in mind. She is a cancer patient who has gone through ever treatment imaginable and been told there is not much light left at the end of the tunnel, besides the proverbial white one. So, when in the midst of camping out and meeting an old man and his grand-daughter, an EMP strikes affecting the entire world, she is exhilarated to regain some of her lost senses – which seem to be sharper than before. Traversing through the trails with the kid and her dog, she meets Tom who saves them from the new danger of this new world – cannibalistic people whose brains got affected by the EMP, essentially Changed. They go out in search of help at the Ranger’s station and learn that the whole world has been made anew and the old rules no longer apply. Survival would be easier if they weren’t headed towards civilization and the three of them carved an existence for themselves. Soon, times comes for them to move and there are new dangers on the way. Without giving out spoilers, I’ll just say that Alex’s journey takes her through some weird community (which is ironically called Rule) where they have reverted back to older ways. In this new times, people like her, the Spared are a commodity and a hope for the future. And while she wants to escape this new life, some bigger things are also going into play. Let me just say – last two lines of the novel? Best cliffhanger ever! (I would hate the author if I didn’t already have the second book with me)

I cannot gush enough of the fact that the book was so well-written that I have chewed my nails to stubs and have been awake an entire night. The writing is so descriptive and realistic, and Alex puts a very nice perspective on things. She is slightly jaded, but a survivor – so she is hopeful. Most of the times, that’s what carries her forward, even though with her condition she could have just given up. Although the events leading up to her entering Rule do dampen her spirit to some extent, I feel at that point of time she was just tired of her life. The plot twists come out of nowhere and at times, you just hold your breath to read whats happening next. The gore and the horror – yep, this one’s not just for everybody. There are a lot of things going for this book though – don’t let the horror part scare you off. I am glad I took my chance with this book.

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Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick was absolutely FANTASTIC. It was all kinds of creepy and gruesome and horrifying and utterly riveting, and even a bit romantic in certain parts.

You might look at the 480 page count of Ashes and be deterred. But let me just say – they flew by. I’d be on page 90 and then all of the sudden on page 202 and I could not believe I’d already read that much. The pacing of Ashes is absolutely brilliant and the story really, really sucks you in.

I loved the variety of characters. Alex was brave and yet terrified at the same time, and I really admired her for her actions throughout the book. There is a bit of a love triangle but not really? It’s hard to explain. And I really loved the character of Ellie, although she was (at times) a bit too mature for an 8 year old girl.

Just a fair warning to animal lovers like me – there are about 2 pages in Ashes that contains some pretty graphic dog attacking/dog death, but the rest of the book is SO worth it, so if you can stomach it or skip over it, I highly recommend reading Ashes despite it.

Overall, I freaking loved Ashes. I loved the pacing and the tone and the characters. Ashes has such an interesting concept – zombies but not zombies, and they’re not even really the whole focus of the book. And the ending was like whaaaaat! I absolutely can’t wait to read the next book in this series, Shadows, which releases some time next year.

Review originally posted on my blog http://hobbitsies.net/2011/09/ashes-by-ilsa-j-bick/
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Tara Gonzalez Reviewed by Tara Gonzalez December 21, 2012
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (68)

Hobbitsies Reviews: Amazing and intense, very fast-paced

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick was absolutely FANTASTIC. It was all kinds of creepy and gruesome and horrifying and utterly riveting, and even a bit romantic in certain parts.

You might look at the 480 page count of Ashes and be deterred. But let me just say – they flew by. I’d be on page 90 and then all of the sudden on page 202 and I could not believe I’d already read that much. The pacing of Ashes is absolutely brilliant and the story really, really sucks you in.

I loved the variety of characters. Alex was brave and yet terrified at the same time, and I really admired her for her actions throughout the book. There is a bit of a love triangle but not really? It’s hard to explain. And I really loved the character of Ellie, although she was (at times) a bit too mature for an 8 year old girl.

Just a fair warning to animal lovers like me – there are about 2 pages in Ashes that contains some pretty graphic dog attacking/dog death, but the rest of the book is SO worth it, so if you can stomach it or skip over it, I highly recommend reading Ashes despite it.

Overall, I freaking loved Ashes. I loved the pacing and the tone and the characters. Ashes has such an interesting concept – zombies but not zombies, and they’re not even really the whole focus of the book. And the ending was like whaaaaat! I absolutely can’t wait to read the next book in this series, Shadows, which releases some time next year.

Review originally posted on my blog http://hobbitsies.net/2011/09/ashes-by-ilsa-j-bick/

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Alex is on a mission. Diagnosed with a brain tumor that remains unaffected by chemo, radiation, and various other drugs, she finds herself on a hike to Lake Superior for a final goodbye to her parents by scattering their ashes. Secluded and alone, she happens upon a grandfather and his eight-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, in the woods. When a silent roar in the sky flattens them to the ground with excruciating pain that sends all animals in the forest into a state of panic, Alex immediately knows something is wrong; especially when Ellie’s grandfather falls over dead. Alex decides to head directly to the ranger station with a very defiant Ellie in tow. Soon, though, Alex realizes that the deadly wave of pain that she refers to as “The Zap” had more effects than immediate death and mind-bending pain. There are other… things in the forest, and this new era has morphed into something she never would’ve imagined. Luckily for her and Ellie, they encounter a young soldier named Tom who helps them unravel the clues to what is going on in the world and how widespread it is; but most importantly, he keeps them safe.

Things I liked about the book: Ms. Bick has created characters with believable depth, layered with flaws and a strength that it takes to survive in this new world. Alex was the perfect heroine, vulnerable enough to succumb to fear when it was warranted, but strong enough to kick butt when she needed to do so. Ellie was young and alone in the world, turned cold and bitter because of the loss of her family, but reacted as any young child would given the circumstances. Then there’s Tom and his secrets, his assured strength and smarts kept them moving and kept them alive. I appreciated that the undertones of a relationship were kept secondary to the plot, but it was enough to keep you anchored to the “family” bond that was blossoming among them all. Each person and their behavior read very authentic to who they were, and I felt that each character remained true to the voice that the author gave them from the very beginning.

What I disliked about the book: There was something quite disjointed about the beginning of this book and its ending. The novel had a very natural flow to the plot and a steady arc until I reached a little over the halfway point, where I felt the climax had come to a head, but then that particular plot-line almost seemed to fizzle off and die. In its place, a new story-line was introduced and continued to build to where the book ended, almost at the exact moment the next arc’s climax mounted. I was left very puzzled and a little aggravated in both cases. I’ll be curious to discover which plot subject the author decides to pick up with in the next book, and if she’ll be able to tie the two different ones together in some way.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this title. It was completely different than any book I’ve ever read. Also, the fact that this particular apocalyptic event could happen set my teeth on edge. It was a thriller of a story that kept me on the edge of my seat and rooting for Alex in every situation. Ilsa J. Bick has a way with words that will draw you in and keep your heart racing until the very last page. I can’t wait to read the next book!
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Christina Reviewed by Christina October 25, 2012
Top 100 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (21)

A dystopian thriller that will keep your heart racing!

Alex is on a mission. Diagnosed with a brain tumor that remains unaffected by chemo, radiation, and various other drugs, she finds herself on a hike to Lake Superior for a final goodbye to her parents by scattering their ashes. Secluded and alone, she happens upon a grandfather and his eight-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, in the woods. When a silent roar in the sky flattens them to the ground with excruciating pain that sends all animals in the forest into a state of panic, Alex immediately knows something is wrong; especially when Ellie’s grandfather falls over dead. Alex decides to head directly to the ranger station with a very defiant Ellie in tow. Soon, though, Alex realizes that the deadly wave of pain that she refers to as “The Zap” had more effects than immediate death and mind-bending pain. There are other… things in the forest, and this new era has morphed into something she never would’ve imagined. Luckily for her and Ellie, they encounter a young soldier named Tom who helps them unravel the clues to what is going on in the world and how widespread it is; but most importantly, he keeps them safe.

Things I liked about the book: Ms. Bick has created characters with believable depth, layered with flaws and a strength that it takes to survive in this new world. Alex was the perfect heroine, vulnerable enough to succumb to fear when it was warranted, but strong enough to kick butt when she needed to do so. Ellie was young and alone in the world, turned cold and bitter because of the loss of her family, but reacted as any young child would given the circumstances. Then there’s Tom and his secrets, his assured strength and smarts kept them moving and kept them alive. I appreciated that the undertones of a relationship were kept secondary to the plot, but it was enough to keep you anchored to the “family” bond that was blossoming among them all. Each person and their behavior read very authentic to who they were, and I felt that each character remained true to the voice that the author gave them from the very beginning.

What I disliked about the book: There was something quite disjointed about the beginning of this book and its ending. The novel had a very natural flow to the plot and a steady arc until I reached a little over the halfway point, where I felt the climax had come to a head, but then that particular plot-line almost seemed to fizzle off and die. In its place, a new story-line was introduced and continued to build to where the book ended, almost at the exact moment the next arc’s climax mounted. I was left very puzzled and a little aggravated in both cases. I’ll be curious to discover which plot subject the author decides to pick up with in the next book, and if she’ll be able to tie the two different ones together in some way.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this title. It was completely different than any book I’ve ever read. Also, the fact that this particular apocalyptic event could happen set my teeth on edge. It was a thriller of a story that kept me on the edge of my seat and rooting for Alex in every situation. Ilsa J. Bick has a way with words that will draw you in and keep your heart racing until the very last page. I can’t wait to read the next book!

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Let's just go ahead and stamp "Not My Kind of Book" on this one to start with.

I don't do "terrifying" in...anything, really. I don't like being scared. But Harmony went on and on about this book and it was an Egmont book, so finally I caved and bought it. Shortly after, Harmony made me read it.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to, though.

Alex goes through a lot of character growth. She was pretty unlikable to start with, but so much happens to her and she experiences so much in her journey, that she becomes more and more likable. Less a bratty teenager and someone so much stronger and wiser.

The side characters were diverse and well built. We had Ellie, who may be the most bratty person on the planet. Tom who was wonderful and lovely. And then we had the many people she meets later on who all have very different motivations and beliefs and obviously they aren't all good.

The story itself had a lot of twists and turns to it and there was always something new to worry about. Always something unexpected and interesting. You can't tell at all how this story will end when you start reading. It's not even worth trying to figure it out. But it was definitely entertaining and it really sucks you in.

Ashes is definitely well written. Ilsa J. Bick knows what she's doing. Creepy and desolate but hopeful and exciting and just...an awesome balance all around.

Despite all this good, we've already stamped the book. We didn't have the right chemistry, you know? Maybe some day we'll work things out and I'll read the other books in the series, but right now, our relationship isn't really stable.

Ashes did click with a lot of other people though. And I didn't really have a problem with the book (except for two Me-Specific problems that y'all probably don't care about). So if you think this might be a You kind of book, definitely grab it!
Julie Reviewed by Julie July 21, 2012
Top 100 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (44)

Really Good Book, But...

Let's just go ahead and stamp "Not My Kind of Book" on this one to start with.

I don't do "terrifying" in...anything, really. I don't like being scared. But Harmony went on and on about this book and it was an Egmont book, so finally I caved and bought it. Shortly after, Harmony made me read it.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to, though.

Alex goes through a lot of character growth. She was pretty unlikable to start with, but so much happens to her and she experiences so much in her journey, that she becomes more and more likable. Less a bratty teenager and someone so much stronger and wiser.

The side characters were diverse and well built. We had Ellie, who may be the most bratty person on the planet. Tom who was wonderful and lovely. And then we had the many people she meets later on who all have very different motivations and beliefs and obviously they aren't all good.

The story itself had a lot of twists and turns to it and there was always something new to worry about. Always something unexpected and interesting. You can't tell at all how this story will end when you start reading. It's not even worth trying to figure it out. But it was definitely entertaining and it really sucks you in.

Ashes is definitely well written. Ilsa J. Bick knows what she's doing. Creepy and desolate but hopeful and exciting and just...an awesome balance all around.

Despite all this good, we've already stamped the book. We didn't have the right chemistry, you know? Maybe some day we'll work things out and I'll read the other books in the series, but right now, our relationship isn't really stable.

Ashes did click with a lot of other people though. And I didn't really have a problem with the book (except for two Me-Specific problems that y'all probably don't care about). So if you think this might be a You kind of book, definitely grab it!

Was this review helpful to you? 
It took me longer than usual to get to this book, probably because the cover didn't really appeal to me, but wow. Just, wow. Ashes is beautiful, terrifying, real, painful and just plain scary. Usually, dystopian and apocalyptic novels, to me, are a representation of what life may be in the future, and generally happy and calm even when the characters meet conflict. But this pretty much just freaked me out, something that books don't do a lot to me. This is not only dystopia, but pure horror. Generally I have two reactions to horror novels:
1. I freak out and leave the book forever with this kind of face. O_O And then I cower beneath my blanket and hope the monster under the bed doesn't get me.
2. I read it, for the sake of trying to fool myself into thinking I'm not that chicken and end up liking it.
But Ashes wasn't just there to scare my pants off. It connected with me, like I was living in Alex's shoes. Alex, with her own baggage to get rid of. Ellie, who at first seemed like a bratty little sister but a character who I came to love afterwards. Tom, sweet and just plain good, even with his own secrets, who I cried over, something that doesn't happen a lot. The setting, very modern and real in the beginning morphing into a nightmare making the apocalypse seem not too far off in the distance, way too close for my own comfort. Any choice you make could be your last. (I think I read that from a book, but I don't remember . . .) I generally don't go around buying my books because of lack of money (I get 99% of my reads from the library), but all I want to do is go to the nearest bookstore to get a copy for myself and cry myself to sleep while reading this.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Grace Lo Reviewed by Grace Lo July 14, 2012
Top 100 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (35)

Terrifying, sad, beautiful.

It took me longer than usual to get to this book, probably because the cover didn't really appeal to me, but wow. Just, wow. Ashes is beautiful, terrifying, real, painful and just plain scary. Usually, dystopian and apocalyptic novels, to me, are a representation of what life may be in the future, and generally happy and calm even when the characters meet conflict. But this pretty much just freaked me out, something that books don't do a lot to me. This is not only dystopia, but pure horror. Generally I have two reactions to horror novels:
1. I freak out and leave the book forever with this kind of face. O_O And then I cower beneath my blanket and hope the monster under the bed doesn't get me.
2. I read it, for the sake of trying to fool myself into thinking I'm not that chicken and end up liking it.
But Ashes wasn't just there to scare my pants off. It connected with me, like I was living in Alex's shoes. Alex, with her own baggage to get rid of. Ellie, who at first seemed like a bratty little sister but a character who I came to love afterwards. Tom, sweet and just plain good, even with his own secrets, who I cried over, something that doesn't happen a lot. The setting, very modern and real in the beginning morphing into a nightmare making the apocalypse seem not too far off in the distance, way too close for my own comfort. Any choice you make could be your last. (I think I read that from a book, but I don't remember . . .) I generally don't go around buying my books because of lack of money (I get 99% of my reads from the library), but all I want to do is go to the nearest bookstore to get a copy for myself and cry myself to sleep while reading this.

Was this review helpful to you? 
Let me begin by pointing out that I have read only amazing reviews of Ashes. Pretty much every blogger I follow raved about its complete awesomeness. Unfortunately, I did not find myself so much in love with it. The story was interesting and, by the end, I was definitely interested in what was going to happen. I even plan on reading the sequel to Ashes, because I cannot just let the story end where it did. Warning: the ending is seriously abrupt. Can you say cliffhanger?

Although I feel really sad for Alex and was exceedingly happy to see her healed, I never really liked her or connected with her. This is really weird, because she definitely knows how to take care of herself and kick ass when she has to, meaning that she's just the kind of heroine I generally love. In some ways, she reminds me of Trella from Inside Out and Outside In, bruised and not trusting. Alex's coldness, though, stems from the fact that she could die at any moment. Why get close to someone when you're only going to leave them or be left by them because they can't stand to watch you die? While I totally get that and would probably be the exact same way, it still makes her hard to get close to even as a reader, for me at least.

Her romances, too, were rather tough for me to accept, what with her being so closed off. There was no guy that I shipped her with and no relationship that seemed like it would pan out in the end. In fact, they seemed borne of stress, fear and proximity. One romance even struck me as little short of Stockholm Syndrome.

Since I don't want to spoil anything, I'm going to be kind of vague about what happened to create the crazy post-apocalyptic world in Ashes. Let's just say that it was pretty stellar. The fact that the event, the "zap" affected people's brains in different ways definitely intrigues me as well. However, I had trouble dealing with teens turning into people eaters. It seemed to lessen the credibility and seriousness of the novel.

What creeped me out in a more believable way was the way that normal people reacted to this calamity, which killed off everyone in middle age and turned most youths into cannibals, leaving only the elderly, young children and a few teens like Alex to keep the world going. These aspects were close to being Witheresque, what with their only being a few women of reproductive age. Plus, with limited resources come unlimited conflicts with other folks only trying to survive just like you are. Mostly, I just feel like the cannibalistic adolescents were unnecessary.

Even though I didn't love this, I do want to know more. Maybe Bick can convince me in book two. Before writing this one off because of my opinion, definitely check out some other reviews.
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

Grows on You

Let me begin by pointing out that I have read only amazing reviews of Ashes. Pretty much every blogger I follow raved about its complete awesomeness. Unfortunately, I did not find myself so much in love with it. The story was interesting and, by the end, I was definitely interested in what was going to happen. I even plan on reading the sequel to Ashes, because I cannot just let the story end where it did. Warning: the ending is seriously abrupt. Can you say cliffhanger?

Although I feel really sad for Alex and was exceedingly happy to see her healed, I never really liked her or connected with her. This is really weird, because she definitely knows how to take care of herself and kick ass when she has to, meaning that she's just the kind of heroine I generally love. In some ways, she reminds me of Trella from Inside Out and Outside In, bruised and not trusting. Alex's coldness, though, stems from the fact that she could die at any moment. Why get close to someone when you're only going to leave them or be left by them because they can't stand to watch you die? While I totally get that and would probably be the exact same way, it still makes her hard to get close to even as a reader, for me at least.

Her romances, too, were rather tough for me to accept, what with her being so closed off. There was no guy that I shipped her with and no relationship that seemed like it would pan out in the end. In fact, they seemed borne of stress, fear and proximity. One romance even struck me as little short of Stockholm Syndrome.

Since I don't want to spoil anything, I'm going to be kind of vague about what happened to create the crazy post-apocalyptic world in Ashes. Let's just say that it was pretty stellar. The fact that the event, the "zap" affected people's brains in different ways definitely intrigues me as well. However, I had trouble dealing with teens turning into people eaters. It seemed to lessen the credibility and seriousness of the novel.

What creeped me out in a more believable way was the way that normal people reacted to this calamity, which killed off everyone in middle age and turned most youths into cannibals, leaving only the elderly, young children and a few teens like Alex to keep the world going. These aspects were close to being Witheresque, what with their only being a few women of reproductive age. Plus, with limited resources come unlimited conflicts with other folks only trying to survive just like you are. Mostly, I just feel like the cannibalistic adolescents were unnecessary.

Even though I didn't love this, I do want to know more. Maybe Bick can convince me in book two. Before writing this one off because of my opinion, definitely check out some other reviews.

Was this review helpful to you? 
This book is a mega-loop-the-loop-roller-coaster-ride, so buckle up and hold on tight! Oh my gosh, I honestly could not put it down. Within only pages, I was beyond my family's grasp. It's riveting, terrifying, touching, heart-wrenching, hopeful, romantic, and tragic--and I loved it! It reminded me a lot of Jonathan Maberry's Rot & Ruin, but Ashes is most definitely YA, while I think Rot & Ruin is still upper MG friendly.

I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I'm trying to keep this review vague. I want to make it absolutely clear, though, that for the dystopian, zombie-loving readers out there, this is a WINNER! It will rock your world.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Shannon O'Donnell Reviewed by Shannon O'Donnell October 12, 2011
Top 1000 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (1)

Amazing!!

This book is a mega-loop-the-loop-roller-coaster-ride, so buckle up and hold on tight! Oh my gosh, I honestly could not put it down. Within only pages, I was beyond my family's grasp. It's riveting, terrifying, touching, heart-wrenching, hopeful, romantic, and tragic--and I loved it! It reminded me a lot of Jonathan Maberry's Rot & Ruin, but Ashes is most definitely YA, while I think Rot & Ruin is still upper MG friendly.

I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I'm trying to keep this review vague. I want to make it absolutely clear, though, that for the dystopian, zombie-loving readers out there, this is a WINNER! It will rock your world.

Was this review helpful to you? 
 
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