Sometimes when reading a story, I stop to think about something else, sometimes it’s pertaining to the story I’m reading, and then I go back to reading. With Ashfall and most recently, its sequel, Ashen Winter, I found myself doing that often. Only, I kept stopping to mentally adjust my survival plans on what to do if the Yellowstone supervolcano does erupt. It’s no doubt that Mike Mullin’s story of surviving in a post-apocalyptic world has made me paranoid, but that goes to show how effective this tale of survival is. In Ashen Winter, we’re reunited with Alex and Darla as they leave the safety of Uncle Paul’s home in search of Alex’s parents. While Ashfall was all about learning how to survive, Ashen Winter is about doing anything to survive. The sequel is action-packed and fast-paced. I never sped through a 500+ page novel with such urgency.
So Alex and Darla are on another dangerous journey to find his parents. Circumstances aren’t much better than they were when the two were on the road to Warren. As prepared as they can be, they venture out and see what the world has become. From that point, it’s action scene after action scene. It’s inexhaustible, but Alex is determined to save the people he loves the most.
Lots of action can get a little mind-numbing after a while. At points in Ashen Winter, I felt like that. But what really saved that was understanding how strong the bond between Alex and Darla is. Mullin establishes how much their love for each other has strengthened in the beginning of the novel. It’s then that I couldn’t help but become invested their relationship. It really drove me through the last half of the novel. Also, I liked the progression of Alex’s character. He learns a lot about himself in this one, more so than in the previous book. It’s through all these crazy moments and encounters that he finally comes to terms that this is life now. In so many ways, Alex is one of the bravest lead characters I’ve ever read, even if Darla thinks he’s stupidly brave. (lol.)
In addition, we get a better glimpse at the politics and government going on in this world. I always find that part intriguing when it comes to dystopia, and I have a feeling we’ll be getting more acquainted with it in the final book of the trilogy.
Ashen Winter is a worthy follow-up and essentially a must-read if you’ve read Ashfall and enjoyed it. If you haven’t read Ashfall yet, what are you waiting for? I need more people to be paranoid with about it!
Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★
Ashen Winter releases on October 16th. It’s available now at our TYF Store, powered by Amazon!
- Publisher: Tanglewood (October 16, 2012)
- Length: 594 pages
- Series: Ashfall Book 2 of 3
- Source: Hardcover, 1st Ed.
- Genre: Fiction, YA, Survival, Post-Apocalyptic
- Completed: October 2012