Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin (Ashfall #2)

Ashen Winter (Ashfall, #2)Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Pub Date: October 16, 2012
Hardcover, 576 pages
Ashfall #2
ISBN: 9781933718750

My rating: 5.0/5.0

I loved Ashfall, I thought the setup was great and I was very anxious for Ashen Winter. So I was very excited to be a part of this blog tour and get an early chance to read Ashen Winter. And I was not disappointed.

The main characters of Alex and Darla return and Alex is determined to find his parents. This storyline and the twists, turns and action is great to follow. Along with some new faces and some old ones that they meet along the way. I love Alex and Darla and could not get enough of the characters, their decisions, their growth and how they love each other despite the major changes in the world around them. The new characters introduced also lend some depth to the story. My favorite is Ben. He is high functioning autistic and I love how he is so knowledgeable and helpful, but still has his own issues. I like that Mr. Mullin uses this type of character in the story to shed some light on this type of person and make him human and very lovable and functional at the same time. He's not the butt of jokes, he's real with feelings and a sister that cares for him very much.

The pace of Ashen Winter is break-neck. I could hardly put the book down. Whether they are running from the government bad guys or the real bad guys, the action keeps you engaged. When they aren't running, they are plotting how to get to the next stage they want to reach. And sometimes they are just trying to survive in this new world they have been thrust into. No matter what is going on, I felt I was right there and I was enthralled. I cared about what happened to each of the "good guys". I found myself cheering for them, biting my nails and turning the pages as fast as I could.

Ashen Winter is a great second installment. There is definitely no let down. The world building continues at break neck pace. The thrills are a mile-a-minute and the characters are down-to-earth and people you would really cheer for or against. Mr. Mullin writes great "good guys" and truly bad "bad guys" and a few that are in-between as well. I finished Ashen Winter within 24 hours and now I will anxiously await the next installment. One thing that is great about these books, there is jsut enough in this book to remind you of the first book if it's been a year since you've read it or if you haven't read it at all. Now I do recommend reading Ashfall first, but that's just because it's an excellent book, but you can read Ashen Winter on it's own. So go out, get the book and enjoy. If you enjoy post-apocalyptic-fiction, then this is a must read, if you enjoyed the sho Jericho when it was on, I have to tell you this is a must-read, it's different from Jericho, but parallels it in someways as all realistic post-apocalyptic fiction would. I loved the show, watched it between reading Ashfall and Ashen Winter and couldn't help but think of it while reading Ashen Winter. Ashen Winter just gave me fond memories of the show. I've recommended the book to my husband for that reason and I don't recommend just anything to him. Ashen Winter is post-apocalyptic fiction at it's best.

One word of warning as a parent, this deals with serious subjects and kids growing up before they really should. It's not out of line for the book, but I would recommend this book for older teens, 14+, or if you have a mature younger teen. There is "off-camera" sex, and references to human trafficking and rape, so it's not for just anyone. But as I said, this is a different world (or is it?) I never felt any of it was put in for gratuitous purposes, just as a sign of what is going on. I felt it was well-used. Just wanted this warning in for parents of younger teens. I know my son would enjoy this series, but I'm going to give it a few years.

My review of Ashfall

Author Bio
Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.
Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashen Winter is his second novel.  His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association.

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It's been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex's relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this trilogy. It's also been six months of waiting for Alex's parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex's parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

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***I received this book from through Netgalley for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***


emaginette said...

I think most kids grow up too fast today. I'm sure the parents appreciate the warning though. :-)

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