Monday, 19 September 2011

Ashes by Ilsa J Bick

Just When You Thought There Was Nothing Left To Lose.....

review by Maryom

Seventeen year old Alex heads off into the wilderness for some peace and quiet to reflect on the things that have shattered her life. While she is there, an electro-magnetic pulse destroys anything that's left! Of the few survivors, some turn into savage creatures hunting down humans for food but some discover that they now have enhanced senses. Alex's sense of smell might give her the edge over those hunting her... With fellow survivors - 8 year old Ellie and young soldier Tom - Alex needs to find a safe haven where she can start to re-build her shattered life. The question is what sort of world will the survivors build on the ashes of the old?

I found this a hard book to get into - mainly because the back of the book blurb had given away too much of the plot. Whilst Alex and the people she encounters are trying to understand and explain away what has occurred, the reader already knows.
Quarter of the way in, I moved into uncharted territory plot-wise and the book really got going. After this point I found it difficult to put Ashes down. Some of the characters come across as stereotypes rather than real people but Alex and Tom come across as believable people with real issues and troubles. Ilsa J Bick has added an interesting twist on the usual zombie story by having a main character who had little to live for before the world changed, but now sees, among the destruction of everything, the possibility of a future.

After the opening hiccough, Ashes is a fast-paced, dystopian adventure and I can't wait to read the follow-on book, unfortunately not out till next year.
A slight warning to anyone at all squeamish - this is at times violent, gory and stomach churning!

Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Quercus Books

Genre - teen,YA, fiction

Buy Ashes from Amazon - on pre-order till 29/9/11

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