Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Rating: 1.5 stars
Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don’t know it’s there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.
Ashfall by Mike Mullin was a very mixed boat for me. It did hold my attention long enough for me to finish, but that is the biggest compliment I found for the book.
I have to give props to Mike Mullin for having a kick-ass female lead character. Darla always knows what to do, saves Alex’s butt way too many times, and gets them out of situations. Though, I found her logic skewed in some instances. Alex on the other hand I had a bit of an issue with. I just felt like he didn’t use his head – which should be your first priority. I mean, hello? You are in a DISASTER. He would drink a ton of water at once and then he’d be out, instead of rationing it out. It was just very hard to read.
The concept of this book was cool, but the execution was a bit off. I had an issue with the descriptions of killing animals. I get it, it’s disaster, people need to eat, animals get sick, etc but I found myself having to skip pages because I couldn’t stomach the killing of animals. It was a drawnout multi page descriptions too. It had a lot of potential to be scary, yet I never felt like it met that level of potential.
The first chunk of the book was iffy for me. I was turned off mainly be Alex’s behavior. I had this thing with the fact that he has a limited number of bottles of water, and he kept talking about drinking a whole bottle for breakfast and another for dinner, then realizing he’d be out of water soon. Again, in a disaster! I would think you’d conserve til the last possible moment. Another thing I found a bit odd was how it almost felt like
The story changed then and I was was enjoying it a bit more. I also found the relationship between Darla and Alex that develops a bit awkward. I mean, there were definitely moments where is was absolutely adorable, but I felt like a lot of the time I was like *awkward turtle*. As the story went on, I had no idea where some of the plot turns came from. I mean they were definitely unique, but I found myself rereading going, wait, what? I didn’t feel like the end had any closure. It was just done, and I get cliffhangers, but those at least are at a height of action of something. This was just an end.
I found a lot of the book to be host to completely unrealistic events. Such as the fact that the 16 year olds ask each other if condoms are reusable – it just was very not believable. And that the uncle only gives them like 3 and is like “This is all I can spare”. Or when the MC and his love interest almost have sex it is the guy every time that is like “No. We can’t do that. We don’t want a baby in this world”. Completely unrealistic. People in this camp in the middle of the book are afraid of Alex because he can do taekwondo. I’m not discrediting taekwondo, but I just found it unrealistic that all these people would be so afraid of him, especially in this situation. I felt like some of this was wish fulfillment.
Ashfall definitely was not the book for me, but I definitely would see how some people would find it a good read – with the whole factor that it really COULD happen! I have heard brilliant things from so many people, but I had a few issues along the way, which ultimately lead to my not being crazy about the book.