Friday, February 1, 2013

Book Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Alex has run away. She has run away from her Aunt Hannah and her pestering ways, fueled by her desire to spread her parents’ ashes over Lake Superior. But mostly she's running away from the massive brain tumor that has taken over some of her senses, and not responded to the latest rounds of treatment.

Alone in the wilderness, Alex wants to hike out to the spot her parents often took her too. She meets and old man and his granddaughter Ellie and their very loyal dog. It's when she's talking to them that it happens, Jack (the old man) is dead, and while Alex felt an immense pain she is mostly okay, and Ellie comes running back. It becomes apparent that whatever caused the pain caused other things too- like the fact that the LED flashlights and iPods don't work.

Four days out in the wilderness with few supplies Alex has to depend on her survival skills, and take care of Ellie. Forced to find rations, and help the two take off to a ranger station they locate on a map. It's on their way that they see them- perfectly normal looking teens, except for the fact that they are eating people.

Eventually they team up with a soldier named Tom and head towards the station, and hope for the best. Even after recharging at the station and loading up on supplies, they still have no idea what happened or if there are any more regular people out there. Their final goal is to make their way towards the closest town, and find other survivors. They promise to stay together, only to be forced to separate on the road.

Hold on to your hats (and any other supplies you can gather) for this crazy survival story. Ashes is not your average zombie story, for starters they never really died and no one really knows what they are. Author Ilsa Bick crafts a plausible story that looks at nuclear fallout and the big what ifs of the aftermath. Alex is not your typical teen, and her issues give her extra trouble in meeting up with people and trusting the, but these very issues are what give her a chance to survive.

Fans of survival stories may find more to like than those looking for a horror gore fest. I was hesitant to read this one, but once I got going I couldn't put this fast paced story down!

I'll see you @ the library!
Katie (Now reading Code Name Verity, finally and hopefully for real!)

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