Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin + Weekly Random Commenter Giveaway

Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Publish Date: October 11, 2011
Hardcover, 466 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic
 ISBN: 978-1933718552

My Review:
Wow what an rush of all different emotions.  Imagine being an everyday teenager, being a little perturbed at your parents for a normal reason.  They've gone off to visit family for the the weekend and left you at home alone.  And the the calamity of all calamities hits.  At first you think it's something small, but then you realize it's something on a much grander scale and as each day goes by you realize that it has much more far reaching effects than you ever thought.  This is where Alex is at within the first few pages of the book.  From there it moves on to him venturing out from his hometown to try and find his parents.

Mike Mullin has imagined a world that really could exist in a time like this, looting, attacks, murder, all just for a little food.  It's all about survival and while Alex wants to believe in the best in people we know from other situations in our world that disaster situations do not always bring out the best in people.  But while Alex does meet some bad people on his way to Warren, Illinois, he also meets some generous people like Darla and her mother.  Taking the good and bad along the way, Alex never gives up and with Darla who's life on the farm makes her the best person to have along on the trek they just might make it to where they are going.

I found the landscape descriptions and the weather descriptions to be very haunting but realistic.  I enjoyed the character development especially the "city boy" of Alex pitted against the "country girl" of Darla.  I like that Alex never let his ego get to him so much as to not let Darla use her skills to the advantage to help them the best.  Alex was a gentleman to the max but he was also a boy.   I liked watching their sweet romance blossom after they worked through some animosity.  They really made a great team. 

Ashfall is a great "what if" post-apocalyptic book and one of the most realistic books I've read in awhile.  I enjoyed it from beginning to end.  The plot kept me turning pages and the characters kept me engaged in the story.  It ended in a way that ties things up enough but I am hoping there will be another book because I really want to know how things continue in this post-apocalyptic society and how Alex and Darla continue to fare.  I care about these two characters and they will stay in my mind for quite a while.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:
Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

About the Author: 
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 hoping this writing thing works out.

Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. ASHFALL is his first novel.


Giveaway Information
Mike will be giving away a hardback of ASHFALL first editions during each week of the blog tour (that means 4 hardbacks) to a random commenter.  Open to the US/Canada only and in addition to the weekly giveaway - Mike is offering 1 copy to be given away to an International commenter as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.  So comment away to be entered in this week's drawing.

FTC Information: I received this book through Teen Book Scene for an honest review.