Review: ASHES by Ilsa J. Bick

Review: ASHES
Author Website: Ilsa J. Bick
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606841750
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥
Synopsis: as per Goodreads

Ashes begins when an electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, killing the vast majority of the world population and zapping every electronic device. Everyone still alive has changed considerably—some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh).

Among the few teens and children who are spared are Alex, a resourceful teen who was running from her own demons; Tom, who left the war in Afghanistan only to find something much worse at home, and Ellie, an angry eight-year-old girl whom the two must rescue. This improvised family will need to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive in this new chaotic world.

My Thoughts:

Since I am a new fan of Dystopian and Zombie novels, I am constantly searching for those novels that will fit my new passion. ASHES by Ilsa J. Bick is that novel and I knew that It would be a read worthy of my time. I am glad to say that I was not disappointed and that I am still left haunted by the vivid imagery and thought provoking storyline.

ASHES focuses on Alex, a teen that has had some major life altering events in her young life: from the unexpected death of her parents to her cancer diagnosis, she has always done what she can to survive. As the story begins I realize that Alex is a smart girl that decides to take charge of her situation so she packs up and heads out to the woods to make decisions on her future or lack therof. It is not long before "The Zap" occurs and everything changes. Alex becomes guardian to a strong-willed orphan and together they encounter the terrifying effects that "The Zap" has left in it's wake, from rabid dogs to flesh eating teens. Yet, all is not lost for soon another joins their duo and together they make a cozy family, but this setup cannot last forever and they know it. So they decide to brave the world beyond their safe hide out and that is when the real terror begins.

I adore reading a gritty story and Ilsa J. Bick has done a wicked job with ASHES. I like that this story is set in the "NOW" not some hundreds years from now so that I can understand with horrific terror the events that unfold before my eyes. This story is not candy coated for it is brutally graphic and not for the squeemish at heart. I know that I cringed on several occasions but I was loyal to it's characters because they where engaging and the story had my attention. I am in constant awe at how the story keeps evolving and how even when one should find the most comfort I am frightened even more. Then just when I think I have things figured out Ilsa injects a new twist that is terrifying to the core and then it ends. Arrrrrrrrg! Yes, ASHES has a major cliffhanger but it also leaves a few unanswered questions that will provide wicked good material for the next novel of which I surely want to read.


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