Sunday, July 7, 2013

REVIEW: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Ashes book coverTitle: Ashes
Author: Ilsa J. Bick Website Twitter Facebook
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Pages: 480
Buy It! amazon
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling post-apocalyptic novel about a world that could become ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

First Thoughts: This book was kind of eh for me; I felt like I was trudging along just to finish it and cross it off of my list, rather than being gripped by an exciting storyline. Honestly, I was glad to finish it so I could start another book on my list - that rarely happens to me.

Let me start by saying this book was not terrible, it just wasn’t great either; like I said, it was eh (for me at least). If the entire book was like its last 50 pages, I would have LOVED this book, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t.

So, here’s what I did like. The last 50 pages or! There was action, there were twists and turns, there was everything I was looking for in the first 400 pages. The excitement at the end almost made the slow-moving pace of the story totally worth it. Honestly, the end of this book was somewhat of a conundrum for me. I was ready to be done with this book and move on to my next read, but then the dang ending left me with a cliffhanger. Do I keep reading or not? If the second book in the series is like the end of this book, then I’m totally in, but what if it’s not? Oh, the problems of a reader.
I’ve spent the last few days thinking about this book before writing this because I was having a hard time explaining why it just didn’t click for me (my husband kept telling me it’s okay to just not like a book, but I needed a reason). I’ve decided that my problem is the believability of the book. I didn’t have a problem with the zombie plot; I had a problem with the characters. The character relationships didn’t quite click for me. I felt like there were jumps that just weren’t supported by the text. For example, the relationship between Alex and Tom. I liked each character enough, but their relationship did not make sense to me. There just wasn’t enough there to make me believe it. Same with the relationship between Alex and Chris. Maybe it was just Alex that wasn’t believable. I’m all for a strong female, but many of her decisions felt off. The secrets she kept for no logical reason, the decisions she felt forced into when she wasn’t, I hate to say it, but she kind of annoyed me.

I do think this book has redeeming moments that would appeal to a specific reader (just not me). The description of the zombies and their attacks are extremely vivid and visual. The cultish factor of the town Rule conveys creepiness and intrigue. Overall, it’s a good enough story, but with series like Divergent and Legend out there, it just doesn’t match up.

Final Thoughts: An okay book, but there are better post-apocalyptic reads out there. As one goodreads reviewer wrote, “call it the ‘Carol’ character of The Walking Dead. Might get more interesting, but just as likely to get killed.”

Who Should Read It? I think with its descriptive and sometimes gory zombie scenes, boys would enjoy this book (the series was actually recommended to me by a teenage boy). If you are not a character reader like I am, then I think you would enjoy this story more than I did. I will still recommend it, just with a few disclaimers added.

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