Series: Ashfall #1
Published by Tanglewood Press on 2011-10-14
Genres: post apocalyptic, young adult
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Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don't realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano, so large that the caldera can only be seen by plane or satellite. And by some scientific measurements, it could be overdue for an eruption. For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.
Wow. This is a tough book to review. I’m just going to speak from my heart and not think about it. I liked it. I did. But it was so so hard to read. Not because it wasn’t well-written. It was extremely well-written. It was just so depressing. There was not one moment of happiness in this book. Not one. That makes it really hard for me to read. I thrive on little bits of happiness. Even when life sucks more than you can possibly imagine, I’m always looking for the one ray of light that won’t make me lose my mind. And I really felt for the characters in this book, because they didn’t even have that. There was NO hope. And I mean none. It affected me more than any other doomsday novel I have read. But it was a hard read. At the same time though, I couldn’t put it down. I truly enjoyed it.
The things I loved: I loved the descriptions of the settings. The author did a great job of conveying how stark, grey, and hopeless the landscape truly was. The abandoned farmsteads, collapsed buildings, dead animals, and murder scenes…all written fantastically. I loved the main characters of Alex and Darla and the evolution of their relationship. It didn’t happen overnight. There was a a lot of tragedy, and it felt extremely realistic. That’s the thing about this book. Everything felt extremely realistic. Even if something like this could NEVER happen, the author had a way of making you believe that it could happen. Tomorrow. Which makes it incredibly scary.
The things I didn’t care for: This is meant to be a world-is-ending novel. So why then when things were looking so bleak and you thought everyone was gonna die did something or someone come along and save the day? Like a book of matches. Or a lady that wanted to take care of you like you were her own child (which would never happen by the way, at least not in this kind of world). There were others too. And how many times did I have to hear about how the protagonist was skilled in Tae-Kwon-Do? Or that he was a fan of World of Warcraft? There were descriptions of WOW in the book that I felt were wholly unnecessary.
But in all seriousness, those were minor things that were easy to overlook. Aside from my out-of-control nitpicking, it really was a fantastic read. And I am just so thankful that I got to read it before almost everyone else. So thanks for that. Loved it.