Review: Ashes (Ashes #1) by Ilsa J. Bick

Ashes_PB_final_4p.inddAuthor: Ilsa J. Bick
Genre: Young Adult/Sci-fi
Publication: Egmont USA
Release Date: August 28th 2012
Pages: 465
Spoilers: A few, don’t worry, you practically can’t spoil BIG things since it’s a trilogy and Ilsa doesn’t really uncover things in the first book.


So this happened last year: I got money to buy books and bought a book that I didn’t know but sounded amazing. Actually, two books. Ashes and Pure (review here). I never reviewed Ashes, which is something I still don’t understand, so after finishing Monsters (Ashes #3) last night, I decided to review Ashes. Hold your breath, it’s gonna be a hard ride.

“It could happen tomorrow . . . 
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.
For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human. 
Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.”

Sounded VERY promising, and it was! I started reading with a few expectations, but having read not one review (or checked it out on Goodreads), I went into the book with an open mind. Which worked for me pretty well.

Meet Alex, our main character. Going out in the woods, since she has a brain tumor, she has no energy left to life. Her parents are dead and her aunt really doesn’t understand her. Until now, nothing scifi-ish had happened yet. Just the way I like it… and than… BOOM. EMP’s happens. Zombies, people-eaters and weird supernatural senses. Well, that escalated quickly, I’d say.

One thing I LOVE about Ashes, is that it’s gory and raw and above all, very believable. Bick has the talent of writing into detail without boring the readers. By describing everything so explicit, you feel like everything is real. Very real. Even though the things that happen, aren’t real (let’s say I hope they won’t ever be real).

Meet Ellie, the most annoying, spoiled and outrageous child you’ve ever seen. Her grandpa dies (this, I gotta say, must be very traumatic), and she turns into a monster. Not a monster monster, but a spoiled-child-monster. Not sure why, but during those scenes, I KNEW something was up with her (not gonna say anything else). Her dog, Mina, is awesome by the way. I want Mina. Here. Right now.

Meet Tom, our protagonist. He has bad dreams, post traumatic stress and he kinda fears whomever comes close to him (duh, Iraq wars). BUT he is very protective. And strong. And a military (muscular hero, I love him).

So here we have our three main characters: I love ’em all equally. In their own special way, of course.

Back to the END-OF-THE-WORLD situation. Dead birds fall from the sky, people have changed – some for the better, some for the worst. And those who haven’t turned into a people-eating zombie or are still healthy… well they just died. The world is one big chaos and you cannot trust anybody. Seems like only the younger people are alive, and the really old one (except for Ellie’s grandfather). The other people, middle-ages, are the most dangerous, gory creatures EVER. I mean: they’d eat their own family if it’d come to that.

Until halfway through the book, they stay together, and everything makes sense. Then, after somebody (NO SPOILER) gets shot, the world turns upside down again, new characters are introduced and I honestly got a bit confused. I can’t even remember how Ashes ended, but it must have made an impression on me, since I bought Shadows right away.

The thing I think that makes this book GOOD, is the credibility and the goriness. Yes, I love sugarcoated fairy tales. But this, too, made me read until deep into the night. I think this book was one of the biggest surprises I’ve ever read and I’d give it 4/5 stars (thinking about a rating system at my website). It’s a book you will not be able to put down and you’ll crave answers (which, by the way, Ilsa won’t really give you).

I think boys would like this book too. It’s good. Very good.

Actually, amazing. Exciting. Thrilling. Awesome.


Reviews of Shadows and Monster will be online too soon-ish!





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