Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

From Goodreads: An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human ... Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom - a young army veteran - 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 survive. 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick is the first post-apocalyptic book I’ve ever read, and I learned quickly that this is a genre I’m probably going to stay away from in the future simply because I tend to avoid stories that are really violent. With a large amount of people becoming feral and happily munching on entrails and such, Ashes made me a little nauseous; but if that’s something you can handle, then it is full of it.

That said, I kind of felt like Ashes was almost two books put together into a really long one. The first part was action-packed and intense as Alex, Ellie and Tom tried to avoid any zombie-like teen who craved their flesh (i.e. one of the Changed) and figure out what had happened and what to do. While I liked Tom, and Ellie ended up growing on me despite the fact that it was harder for Tom and Alex to survive with her than without her, I couldn’t really connect with Alex and thought that her character was slightly unbelievable. I don’t know many seventeen-year-olds who seem perfectly capable of surviving by themselves, but with Alex’s knowledge about camping, various gadgets, guns and medical aid as well as her ability to shoot well, it turns out nicely that she ended up being Spared. Expect me to not last very long if an apocalyptic event ever occurs!

Then something happens and the story randomly skips forward by three days. Huh?! The characters you’ve become familiar with disappear and the pacing slows to a crawl once Alex settles in the town of Rule. Bick soon introduces a new romantic interest, but because he and Alex don’t spend tons of time together, I felt like I barely knew him and couldn’t figure out why they liked each other. Things in Rule however aren’t what they appear to be. Just as secrets start to get revealed though and the stakes rise again, a cliffhanger leaves you high and dry.  

So, upon further reflection, I lied. Since Ashes turned out to be better than I thought it would be, I probably will read another post-apocalyptic book in the future – just one with less gore.

Ashes will be released on September 6, 2011 by Egmont USA.

Comments About the Cover: You should know by now that I gravitate towards gorgeous covers and there is nothing pretty about Ashes’, which is good considering its contents. Rather, the cover of Ashes freaks me out and in no way makes me want to pick up the book. Zombie fans should be happy with this one though.

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Egmont USA) for free via NetGalley.


  1. The gore got to me too, but I did enjoy the rest of the story.


  2. Sounds really confusing. Also, I really don't care for a lot of violence in my books. I may read this one, since I already have it, but I am in no hurry. Thanks for the review! =)

  3. Well, I love post-apocalyptic books...but not when it involves cannibalism. Zombies books, however are a different matter altogether! :)

  4. Oi, that shift in the story to three days later was so odd and confusing. I thought for a second a chunk of my book had been torn out or something. The new love interest introduced at the last moment really didn't work for me either. This all being said, I am interested enough to check out the sequel! As long as it doesn't have any strange shifts in the story, I think I'll like it a lot more.

  5. I remember Aylee's review of this one a couple of days ago turning me off from this book because I'm sure I wouldn't enjoy the violence outside of the supernatural realm. I know, I'm weird, but when it is fantasy it is easier for me to read then when it is set up as realistic. Yanno? I mean, I get that if we were to ever find ourselves in a post apocalyptic world, it would be all survival of the fittest, but I guess I'm just not looking forward to dealing with that.

    The unexplained jump also doesn't really appeal to me.

    I don't want you to be completely turned off by the post apocalyptic genre. Have you read The Last Survivor series by Susan Beth Peffer? Soooooo Goooood!

  6. Aw that's sucks. I'm not into cannibalism and post-apocalyptic books AND zombies so I think I'll pass. But. There's one post-apocalyptic YA (with a little cannibalism and no zombies) that I really loved. It's called Ashfall and it's available on NetGalley. You should at least check it out. ;)

  7. I can't handle gorey stories so I don't think this one is for me. Great review though :)

  8. I've heard about that shift and I don't like it. I think I'm going to hold off and wait until the rest of the books are published before I try to read this one.

    Oh, and don't ever read The Road if you don't like gore. There isn't a ton, but what is there is awful!

  9. I'm not a fan of any blood or gore so don't think I'll be reading this anytime soon.

  10. Munching on entrails sounds a bit much. I wouldn't like the change in pacing. Keep it fast or your lose me.

  11. For some reason, as I'm reading this it just reminds keeps reminding me of all these post-apocalyptic novels i've read before (and have kind of forgotten because i can't think of the titles for the life of me) great review! I'm getting what you mean by Alex right now, I'm not super-committed to any of the characters, tbh. anyways, great review, I wonder if i'll like the cliffhanger or just go "eh" ... :p


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