Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Alex has run away and is hiking through the wilderness with her dead parents' ashes, about to say goodbye to the life she no longer wants to live. But then the world suddenly changes. An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who has changed... Everyone still alive has turned - some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh). Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the zombies that are on the hunt, Alex meets up with Tom - an Army veteran who escaped one war only to find something worse at home - and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse. This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to find food, shelter, while fighting off the 'Changed' and those desperate to stay alive. A tense and involving adventure with shocks and sudden plot twists that will keep teen and adult readers gripped.

First line:
""Where are you?" Aunt Hannah demanded as soon as Alex thumbed TALK. "What do you think you're doing?""

I have to be honest and tell you I haven't read all of this book. I read the first 200 pages, skipped the middle, and read the last 150 pages (there are over 400 pages in this book). 
I'll explain my reasons later.
ASHES is a well-written, intriguing, suspenseful and scary story. Not scary as in "boo!" but as in I hope-this-never-happens scary. An electromagnetic pulse hits the earth, killing millions on impact. Then it affects the nuclear plants which go off and kill more people. In the meantime hundreds of thousand are turned into zombies.
Alex is the main character. She's camping high in the mountains when the EMP hits. A grandpa and his granddaughter are also nearby and the grandpa is killed. Alex reluctantly takes the girl with her to find the ranger station and, hopefully, safety.
I honestly didn't know this story had zombies in it. I was fine with it until a scene where it describes the zombies eating a dead, older woman. It was gross.
Alex meets up with a military guy close to her age who helps her not get killed by dogs. Along the way they tell their stories and grow closer. They also decide they need to get somewhere safe. They understand they will see zombies, dead bodies and killings.
I was worried about the middle of the book. More gore? Sex between the main characters? I honestly didn't want to take the chance.
I also didn't realize this was the first book in a trilogy. I'm don't think I'm going to read the rest of the series.

Rating: PG 17 (max)
S: not sure, didn't read the middle of the book
L: some
V: Yes. zombies killing/eating humans. humans killing zombies.


25% test (p.116):
"Water streamed from the mutt's flanks. Blood bubbled from a slash on its shoulder where it had struck a rock or snagged a branch. But it was there and it was alive, and now the animal went for her face with a flash of fangs, white and deadly.
Screaming, Alex pressed back against the rock, her only working arm--the right--flying up to protect her face. It was instinct, pure and simple--and saved her life. Crabbed on her back, unable to get to her feet, she felt the dog batten down, waited in a slow-motion dread for the jaws to grind and for her bones to break...Or maybe it would go for her throat next, or even push her under the water, hold her there until she drowned. But then her arm did not break, and she realized the dog had misjudged and that all it had was a very big mouthful of sopping wet sweatshirt. The pressure around her arm lessened for an instant as the dog let up and shifted its jaws, trying for a better grip--
Mina sailed across her vision. in an instant, the mutt had let go of Alex and whirled, incredibly fast for such a large dog. The..."


  1. I like your posts. You give us recommendation and warnings. there's so little time to read, I don't wan to waste any of it on books that aren't really my taste. Thanks!

  2. Thanks, Canda! I appreciate the feedback.