Series: Ashfall #1
Published by Tanglewood Press on October 11th 2011
Genres: Young Adult
Buy: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository, Chapters !ndigo
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.
For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to search for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.
Ashfall was a good, engrossing read. It worked well to evoke emotional responses from the reader. Mullin provided a raw view of humanity in a post-apocalyptic world caused by natural disaster, i.e. the volcanic eruption. There was many moments that left me feeling disappointed with the state of the world. Looting, pillage, rape and other undoubtedly violent acts were shown to the readers. They were things you expect from the middle ages, not the modern time that Mullin set the book. But he packaged it in a way that worked to show, just because times are different doesn’t mean people are.
Occasionally though there are moments of kindness that help to counterbalance the ugly and evil that is shown. Darla and her mother are just one example of that. Though usually small acts of kindness, they are things that stay with the reader and Alex as they travel on.
The relationship between Alex and Darla is just one way that helps to show, even during this disaster and time there is a chance for something beautiful to happen. Their relationship, however, is not a focus. By keeping it a secondary plot device, it gives their relationship a solid, understated quality that makes it that much easier to appreciate.
Mullin takes the ugly of humanity and exposes it to the reader. By clearly showing how much bad there could be, Mullin gives hope even when there doesn’t seem to be any. Things weren’t all fixed for the characters but there’s that hope gives way to this feeling that things would one day be alright. It’s just the first book, and I think it works well to hook the reader and get them anticipating the next one.
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