When I read eGalleys, I never fully know what they’re about; I only knew that Ashfall was about an apocalypse. What kind of apocalypse? I thought maybe zombies or aliens, since those seem to be popular lately. What I didn’t know was that this book was going to tackle an apocalypse that could (and will) actually happen. That’s what made Ashfall such a chilling and exhilarating story.
Did you know that there is a supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park? You probably did. However, I was never one to really pay attention in science class (which I now regret), and I was shocked to learn that such a disastrous volcano lays dormant under Yellowstone. Ashfall is about what happens when this volcano blows and follows a boy named Alex as he treks from Iowa to Illinois to find his family. What he discovers on the way is a very changed and alarming world.
Pardon my French, but this book scared the shit out of me! Forget ghost or demon stories, Ashfall is genuine horror. Alex is home alone in Cedar Rapids when something crashes into his house setting it ablaze. The entire sky has turned black and eardrum-crushing thunderous sounds start happening non-stop for days. Alex takes refuge at a neighborhood’s house until the sounds stop. But after a violent turn of events, Alex leaves in search of his family who are in Galena, Illinois.
Alex is a smart kid, although he seems bratty in the beginning, but that all changes once the volcano blows up. Luckily, Alex is a black belt in taekwondo, and it helps him survive many mishaps. Also, Alex is a great character to follow on a journey like this. Ultimately, the kid is a survivor. We know he’s going to make it, but we don’t know what exactly he will encounter on the way. I found that very interesting and scary. The author sets up this very dreary post-apocalyptic world. It feels so realistic; hence, why it’s so terrifying. The things Alex witnesses or hears about are awful. What makes it even more terrible is that I can see all those things happening if that volcano blew up. It sounds like I don’t have much faith in humanity, but really, look at the world we live in now? Imagine a situation like the one in Ashfall, and you’ll likely be just as terrified too.
The book is well-written, and Alex and the other characters are given authentic voices. The chapters are short, which makes it a real page-turner. I would tell myself “just one more chapter,” and then found that I had read five. The plot is paced well. It was never too fast or slow. It remained gripping throughout, until the end. I was slightly disappointed by the end because I had figured the story to be a standalone book. Therefore I was expecting a more resolved ending. It’s good to know that a sequel is the works because we all know how I like to terrify myself even further (and I mean that in the best way possible). The sequel, Ashen Winter, doesn’t come out until October 2012, but that gives you plenty of time to pick up this thriller, freak out over it, and maybe invest in skis.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars