Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
Ashfall by Mike Mullin. Oh this book. It's near and dear to my heart. Ashfall was one hell of a ride, I will tell you that much.
The Good: First off, the crazy/cool/weird thing is that book is set in Iowa but that's not the only weird thing...ALL of the cities in Ashfall are the places I've lived in Iowa!!!! It's so weird to read a book that so accurately details the places I've lived! Mullin did a great job of describing Iowa and the cities in it. At first I thought that he must have lived in Iowa but I think he just did his research really well. Before I even started the book, I was super excited about the premise. I love the Dystopian-end-of-the-world-apocolyptic type novels and Ashfall certainly hit the mark on that genre. This book is so much more than the Super Volcano Eruption and life afterwards..it's about a young man coming to terms with who he is as a person, and the man he wants to become because of all the devastation. I love the journey Alex takes from a mere teenage boy to becoming a pretty fearless man. Mullin navigated the troubles and turmoils that any young man faces during puberty and managed to combine it with the immense trouble he faces after a natural disaster. I love love love Darla, the other main character and love interest. She reminds me a lot of Katniss except more contemporary. They both face such incredible hurdles and obstacles and I loved reading how they figured out how to overcome them. I think one of the most important things in these type of novels is being able to make it seem realistic. That is one of my highest compliments to this novel...everything about the eruption and life afterwards seems SO REALISTIC...it's actually scary how realistic it is. Another one of my favorite things about this novel is how Mullin did NOT shy away from the graphic. It is so important to the validity of the novel to know that things like murder, robbery, rape and execution would actually happen in real life if we were facing a devastating natural disaster like the one in Ashfall. I really thank Mullin for giving me a realistic read that kept me thinking about it long after it was over.
The Bad: Okay, even though I raved about this book, there was one major thing that I disliked about it. Sometimes the writing did not seem up to par with the content of the book. I was actually a little nervous after the first 30 or so pages because I felt like the writing was a little juvenile and not nearly as strong as it should have been for the type of book it is. I'm SO glad that I kept reading though, because it got MUCH better as the book progressed. It's almost as if the level of writing coincided with Alex's becoming stronger and more intelligent.
Overall, I really did enjoy this book! I'm excited to read Ashen Winter when it comes out! I give this novel an A-!
**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.