Tween Review: ASHES by Ilsa J. Bick + GIVEAWAY!!!
It could happen tomorrow . . .
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.
For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.
Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.
As ASHES begins we are introduced to seventeen year old Alex. Alex is a girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She has suffered incredible loss and dealt with personal issues that no young life should ever have to deal with. Fed up with everything and ready to concede to the troubles she faces, Alex decides to head to the mountains to camp and hike alone. Along the way, she pulls over and calls her Aunt, who of course is against Alex’s idea, but goes along with it because she realizes that Alex needs closure for her losses and a chance to come to terms with everything else going on in her head.
Alex is surprisingly capable and skilled hiker who knows what she is doing thanks in part to the trips she took with her father. As she makes her progress up the mountain she encounters an older gentleman who is camping with his granddaughter Ellie and a trained military dog. At first Alex is startled by the company, but she begins to visit with the family and observes some characteristics in Ellie that feel familiar to Alex. Just as they begin to get to know one another the dog begins to bark like crazy, the man drops dead and Alex is overcome with an excruciating pain in her head. After recovering from the sudden pain and examining the man, Alex realizes she needs to take Ellie and find help…but they are in the middle of the woods and for unknown reasons her electric devices are not working.
Ellie doesn’t make things easy for Alex, in fact the young girl is down right awful and a total brat. Soon enough they begin to come to an understanding and depend on each other. As they continue to look for help they come across what appears to be teenagers feasting on the remains of other humans in the woods. Terrified they make a run for it, but just when they think they are in the clear, another “changed” human begins to chase after them with the same look in his eyes that the teenagers they ran into earlier had. As they are chased by the crazed man they are rescued by another young man, Tom, who seems to be unchanged. Tom kills the changed man and saves Alex and Ellie. Together they team up to try to find help and discover what has happened to the world and why. But, they face many dangers in this new world and the “changed” ones may not be the scariest threat against them.
This story is basically three parts. First, we read about Alex and the immediate outcome from the Electromagnetic Pulse. Then we have the second part that seemed to focus on survival and the building of the relationships between Alex, Ellie and Tom. Last, is what I like to call the “curve ball” part, where everything goes wrong and we are introduced to characters and circumstances that do just what my term implies…throw a curve ball in the story. I actually enjoyed the third part most, but unfortunately it would spoil to much to tell you about it. Guess you’ll just have to read it for yourself. ;)
I really loved this book. I found it completely engrossing and addictive. Unlike other books in this genre that have made my head spin by the surprises, this one fueled my desire to keep reading and turn pages faster. ASHES is an incredibly smart book with a heroine that grows on you as her character grows. Ilsa J. Bick is an amazing writer- The way she is able to write real human emotions and behaviors in her characters and incorporate them into a science-fiction type of scenario and still make it feel real blew my mind. Plus…The foreshadowing is brilliant! There are little things that are brought up at the beginning that become a more important piece to the puzzle and as the reader you just kind of sit there and think to yourself “A-ha! The plot thickens”. The only downside is waiting for the next book to be released.