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Tween Review: ASHES by Ilsa J. Bick + GIVEAWAY!!!

Submitted by on October 22, 2011 – 9:25 am18 Comments

Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Book: Ashes
Series: ASHES Trilogy-Book 1
Release: September 6, 2011
Reviewer: Desi
Purchase: - Barnes & Noble

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.

Desilula is our resident "Tween" who helps give us insight to all the Young adult and children's books from the perspective of....well...a young adult. She loves to read and write and absolutely hates math! Her favorite books include classics like "Little Women" and "Alice in Wonderland", but she is hip with all the latest young adult books including her favorite, "Hunger Games"! She enjoys hanging out with friends and doing activities like swimming, skate boarding, climbing trees, and performing in plays or musicals. She plays a little piano, and a little guitar (mostly power chords;)) and has played in a band. She loves animals and plans to travel the world someday!
Doll Desi
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  • Amy @ bookgoonie says:

    Awesome chicka. The cover art did nothing for me, but your review makes me want to pick it up ;)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Kelly Mills says:

    Great giveaway!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Lisa Sperry says:

    sounds really interesting :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • [...] wish to thank Ilsa J Bick for taking the time to answer a few questions. Be sure to check out our tween doll, Desi’s, review of ASHES and enter to win your very own copy in our [...]

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  • Library Lady says:

    My favorite Halloween memory was actually going trick or treating with my niece on her very first Halloween to go. She was almost two the first time she went out and it was so much fun watching her bubble with excitement each time she got candy.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Stephanie says:

    The blurb sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Victoria Zumbrum says:

    Great giveaway. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Vivien says:

    I’m so glad you loved it! Sounds like an awesome read!

    Reply to this comment »
  • [...] Read all about it and enter the giveaway Here [...]

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  • bamafever says:

    Great review. I want this now.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Sarah Bibi Setar says:

    Wow! This sounds horrific and suspensful. I love these survival stories.

    As an extra entry in the giveaway, I’d like to share a spooky story:
    A spooky tale I can think of is the time I was on holiday in Egypt and we had a suite hotel room with three bedrooms. My mum and I slept in one and my grandparents in the other, while my brother stayed in the third. Just after we switched the lights off to go to bed at night, they were switched on a short while later and I saw a shadow pass through the light seeping under our bedroom door and heard footsteps. Then there was a loud bang and the lights went out. We had to be moved from our room in the middle of the night because the electrical box had exploded, but we all swore that we’d heard someone moving about when the light went on for that brief period of time.


    (Identity Seeker)

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  • Lori Strongin says:

    I’ve been seeing this book make it’s way around the blogosphere and it keeps sounding better and better. I love the idea of this “makeshift family” Alex builds around herself.

    Thanks for the giveaway op!


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  • says:

    My favorite memory of Halloween is when my cousin and I when to a party in Rosarito beach at the “Papas&Beer”, it was this demons and angels theme. It was really fun, we stay until the morning.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Bamafever says:

    Great review~! You totally sold me to reading it. :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • says:

    Love your review! This book sounds so great.

    My favorite Halloween memory is the year it snowed on Halloween (about 10 years ago). My friends and I were too stubborn to NOT go trick-or-treating, and we were also to stubborn to NOT wear jackets. So we ended up getting so frozen we could barely walk home. Needless to say, we all got cold. But at least we got candy! :)

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Krista M says:

    I have been itching to get a copy of this one, money’s tight to hardbacks are not in my near future. Very excited about this, heard great things! Thank You for the giveaway!

    Reply to this comment »
  • erin says:

    Spooky experience…my husband and I were watching strangers and he turned it off about half way through he was starting to freak out. We went to bed and then at 4am (same time as in the movie) our doorbell rang! My husband called out Who is it? and it was just the police looking for a little boy but it was still pretty freaky!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Denise Z says:

    I don’t really have a spooky Halloween memory. However, where I have lived for a few years now we are not strangers to temporary power outages. I have found myself wondering what we would do without power on the long-term or in an event such as takes place in Ashes. It is incredible the dependence we have on technology. Thank you for sharing the fun with us today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity. I would love to read Ashes !

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