Friday, January 27, 2012

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

The Skinny: I am not sure “enjoyable” is the precise word to describe this reading experience, but I strongly recommend this book.
Ashfall is a post-apocalyptic tale that combines reality and unimaginable horrors.  A volcano in Yellowstone National Park erupts, and the United States is covered with ash.  Alex, a seemingly quiet computer game fan, seeks to reconnect with his family after staying home from a family holiday.  While Alex journeys to his family’s location, he is confronted with every worst case scenario.  Though he receives help along the way, he encounters far too much suffering for a young boy of sixteen.
Young adult literature is a fairly new genre for me, and I have been devouring it since starving myself for years. Dystopian and post-apocalyptic literatures have dominated my recent readings, and the effects are quite unnerving. I have found myself to be a bit more paranoid than usual and desiring nothing more than to hoard food and water. Ashfall did nothing to assuage my fears. In fact, it reinforced my delusional thinking that I need to stockpile supplies. Unlike most post-apocalyptic literature, Ashfall was quite real. The plot, themes, and characters synthesize to create a story that could be reality one day.
When I initially met Alex, I thought he was a quiet, irascible boy.  After the explosion, latent resilience and survival skills emerge, and Alex is shown to prosper in spite of difficulties. This transition is meaningful, because it highlights the change that many individuals experience after surviving a trauma or some sort of arduousness. The need to survive trumps every previous fear and insecurity. I would like to think that I could survive in a similar situation as Alex, but I am not sure. To know that every sunrise accompanies a day plagued with violence and fear might be too much to endure.
Ashfall is a great book, and I encourage you to read it if you are interested in a realistic take on a post-apocalyptic future.

*I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes.


  1. I am a fan of dystopian literature- so this book sounds like a book I would really like. I think the fact that it seems real- is fascinating and I will probably want to better prepare for a disaster! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I usually like reading Dystopian books, but for some reason, this one doesn't seem like my cup of tea. Welcome to the YA genre by the way. There's a lot of great YA books out there, for those who are just starting out. Thanks for stopping by, and giving some in put on my review. I love Ethan and Merit too, and can't wait for more of Chloe Neill books! :)

    Livin' Life Through Books

  3. I thought it was a great novel for young adults. However, I found the adult novel based on the idea of a post-apocalyptic road-trip, THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy, to be much more compelling. Actually, it would be very interesting to have a Senior AP Lit class do a comparison of these two books and discuss the differences between young adult and adult fiction.
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