Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Ashes (Ashes Trilogy #1)
Author:  Ilsa J. Bick
Publisher: Egmont USA, 465 pages
Publication Date:  September 6, 2011

From Goodreads:
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.

This was a fast-paced thrilling post-apocalyptic novel that read like two different books. Alex is in the woods dealing with the fact that she is dying of a brain tumor.  She meets an old man and his granddaughter, Ellie.  Apparently an EMP goes off and the old man dies, and Alex is left caring for a very angry eight-year old in the middle of the wilderness.  This EMP blast has also affected other people in a very bad way, and Alex and Ellie are on the run.  They then meet Tom and it's the three of them trying to figure out what's going on and how to survive.  There are some gory scenes, let me tell you.  Just be prepared.

Alex is a great MC, very strong, a take-action kind of girl.  Tom is a soldier who has secrets.  Even though they spend a lot of time together and they grow close, they still don't completely open up to each other, and I never felt like I got to know Tom very well.  There's just not a lot of conversation between them.  

Then the book completely switches gears and Alex finds herself in a situation where she's safe.  Or is she?  I can't really say anything more without spoiling it.  Just know that it is creepy.  And this is when her personality changes and she becomes a fairly weak character, somewhat accepting of the status quo (although she does recognize that she's doing it).  And there's a new cast of characters, including Chris, who I never understood at all, and I really didn't understand Alex's feelings for him.  

The book ends in a cliffhanger (in the middle of a scene type cliffhanger), which made me immediately buy the second book on my Kindle because I just had to know what was going to happen.  All in all, a compelling read where the characters are put in really horrific situations.  I couldn't put it down.  But the book does feel like two totally separate books, which is a bit jarring.

Posted by:  Pam


  1. I read this and the 2nd book last year and I really enjoyed them. I still need to pick up the last in the trilogy :)

    Great review!

    1. On Netgalley and Edelweiss you can just download Monsters (no request necessary). And the author's website includes So You Read Ashes a Year Ago and So You Read Ashes a Year Ago, where she provides a synopsis of each book to get you up to speed. ~Pam

  2. This is so funny, I just finished my first Bick book today! I love her writing. It sounds like this book had an excellent cast of characters, I'll have to check it out :)

    1. This was my first book by her and I did enjoy it. Definitely dark and disturbing. ~Pam

  3. I'm not sure this is my type of book but excellent review! :D

  4. Weird how the book switched gears like that but I'm glad you still found it hard to put down. I'll be starting this series soon!

    1. It's definitely written in such a way that keeps you flipping the pages frantically. ~Pam