“It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the dark, cold, and primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this trilogy.
It’s been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities.
When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.”
This book, as stated before is in a trilogy and you can find the review for the first book here.
From all the suspense and really unfortunate things that happen to Alex in Ashfall, this book starts off with a bang delivering our expectations. Alex had really grown as a person in Ashfall, and he still had room to grow in this novel.
What I really love about Mike Mullin’s work is that he makes us frustrated with what unfortunate events happen to the characters and that was something I really enjoyed with this book. I think evoking that frustration is really what makes books good,
I found, however, that during about two-thirds of the way into the book I found myself getting bored. But Ashen Winter really picked up and became really interesting again. That was probably my only qualm with this novel.
I found that Alex’s growth really showed when Darla got shot and they were separated. Darla pretty much carried him along in the latter half of Ashfall and being without her really changed an aspect of the book. That area of the book where Alex was first separated with Darla was the point where I found it dragged on a little bit, however hiding from the Peckerwoods really picked up the tension and suspense.
The introduction of the new characters, Alyssa and Ben, was a good choice on the author’s part because the novel could get a little stale without some new faces.
~~End of Spoilers~~
Overall, I think this was not better than the original book, however, it’s a really good sequel and worth reading if you have read the first book.
“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 alone for the weekend means freedom from his parents and the chance to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek, searching for his family and finding help in Darla, his travel partner. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.”
For me personally, I’ve always loved distopian novels. I picked up this book in the library, astonished at it’s hauntingly beautiful cover. I didn’t think much of it, considering the description was kind of lacking in excitement. But I picked it up anyway, seeing praise from Micheal Grant, author of the amazing “Gone” series-a book everyone and their mother should read-and Charles Bientot, author of an interesting second person novel called “You”.
I devoured the novel. I had to slow down towards the end, but it was truly amazing and better than I expected. For his first novel, Mike Mullin truly kicks ass. Alex was an interesting character to set around, even being alone for a majority of the novel, he still held his own. It was intriguing to see how determined he was to find his family and close connection he shared with Darla. You could see the change he went through compared to the beginning of the novel to the end. He had to grow up in a manner of a few months, and that takes a lot for someone to have to do that.
Mullin also proved that in survival situations, it’s not only the starvation, cold and ash you have to deal with. It’s the people too. Just when everything seems to be going well, we get sucked right back into the horrible and that’s what I love about this novel.
If you are looking for a real distopian novel, this is it. I promise you won’t be able to put this book down until the end. I also believe, like me, that you will want to put a survival pack together just in case something of this matter occurs. For example, say the impending zombie apocalypse?