This young adult book is centered on Alex, a teen boy, home alone when disaster strikes. His family left only hours ago to visit his uncle and a supervolcano has erupted destroying his home and covering the world he knows in ash. All communications have been cut off, food supplies start running low, and people start to get desperate. Alex sets off to find his family, hoping they are still alive and that they made it to his uncle’s place. The journey takes much longer than he anticipated, 140 miles is a long way to go on foot, and he meets others during his travels – some who hinder his way and some who help.
Ashfall is a true dystopian read. The action started very quickly, making this a great book for reluctant readers. Mike Mullin has crafted the unthinkable into the imaginable. I wanted to keep flipping the pages long into the night just to know what was unbearable thing would plague Alex’s life next. While there are a number of violent scenes, they are all incredibly realistic portrayals of how life could be if this ever happened. Did you ever think about the violent prison population being able to escape when a disaster strikes? I certainly haven’t, but Mullin did and he wrote it so convincingly that I shudder to think about it. The views of where humanity can succeed and where it can fall flat are both uplifting and heartbreaking. No one character is 100% perfect, Alex has his flaws, but none that make him bad in my eyes. The girl Alex meets, Darla, continues on his journey with him and she is a strong girl, in ways stronger than any of the other characters, and she too has her flaws, but they don’t make you shy away from her character at all. Often times I felt myself holding my breath, waiting to see what these desperate people would do, never did I doubt anyone’s actions. This is what life after a disaster could truly be like.
- This reviewer also reviews at http://booksake.blogspot.com
- Publisher: Tanglewood Press
- Date of Publication: October 11, 2001