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Bending the Spine

Monday, August 15, 2011

Early Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

It could happen tomorrow...
A cataclysmic event. An army of "The Changed."

Can one teen really survive on her own?

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human...

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom---a young army veteran---and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive

Hardcover, 480 pages
Expected publication: September 6th 2011 by EgmontUSA (first published August 5th 2011)
series: Ashes Trilogy #1
This is not a light task, reading this book.  It is dark.  It is depressing.  It is disgusting.  It is long.  Cannibalistic unevolved-ape-teens (or rather reverse-evolved…not that I subscribe to evolution, but read the book, you’ll understand) that are the “Changed,” blood, gore.  Action, killing, guns, fighting…all the things a guy likes, wrapped up in a neat 480-page package.
There are many unique ideas of this dystopian novel that I have not encountered anywhere else.  You can tell Bick knows her stuff, because everything is believable.  It’s easy to buy into Ashes and give yourself over to the story.
*Caution: There may be some spoilers, so proceed with care*
I LOVE THIS BOOK.  Seriously, without a doubt, going on my favorite books of 2011 shelf.  This book is a whirlwind of motion.  A fast-paced page-turner.  Once it got started (and it did take a couple chapters to get going) it didn’t stop.  There were slow-downs, enough to let you catch your breath, and then it ramped back up.
Alex, the heroine, is a strong, independent, self-sufficient young lady.  I love her, but her whining gets on my nerves some times.  I can only take so much woe-is-me before I want a character killed off.  And Alex pushed my limits a few times.  There’s a lot of character development, a lot of growth.  She has to make grown-up decisions, and on the fly most of the time.  She is very realistic and I could relate to her.  There are tons, literally so many supporting characters that I sometimes forgot who was who.  I’m sure, since this is a series, that many of them will be developed more and that more of their stories will be revealed.  I want to know more about Jesse and Chris.  And Tom.  And Ellie (who I hated, then loved, then missed).
The people of Rule are a conundrum.  Are they just making do in post-apocalyptic America? Or are they continuing life-as-they-know-it, with a few minor hiccups?  And what’s with the Council of Five? And the empty chair?  They are so cult-tastic and creepy in their own right.  What’s their deal?
Ok, so, if you follow my reviews, you know that endings are important to me.  I hate the ending and love it all at the same time.  Talk about a cliffhanger!  Now, I must wait until sometime in 2012 (!!!!!!!!!) to know what happens next.
Ilsa J. Bick is wicked.  Not bad, but wicked in the awesome way that very few authors get to be.  She wove a masterful tale that has me hooked and wanting, no, craving more of this series.  I love her for writing this book, and hate her for not having the sequel ready for me to read!  I need it like NOW!
5 Stars: Can I please, please get the sequel early?????
Many Adventures,
*This pre-release was provided to my by the publisher through netGalley*


  1. Great review! This is definitely going on my must-read list. I've been looking for a nice, dark, depressing read. :)

    Cliffhangers drive me absolutely crazy, but I'm learning to deal with it...they're everywhere right now! I can count on one hand the number of books I've read this year without a cliffhanger ending...

  2. @BJ: I'm not a fan of cliffhangers, but this book is worth the non-ending! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


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