Ashes by Ilsa Bick - you MUST read this book



I had slogged through several so-so books last week, and then on Friday night, I picked up Ashes , intending to read for maybe an hour.

Four hours later, I was still reading. And on Saturday, instead of writing, I just gave in and finished the book. And now I feel sad and empty, because the next one (it’s a trilogy) isn’t due out until September of 2012.

Ashes begins when an electromagnetic pulse wipes out all electronics, killing most adults in the process. Only a few people under the age of 25 and over the age of 65 are left, and most of the younger ones have been turned into flesh-eating monsters (like zombies only the bite of another zombie doesn't create a new zombie). The main character is 17-year-old Alex who was hiking when the pulse hit. She had just met an eight year old named Ellie and her grandfather, who drops dead during the pulse. Later they meet Tom, a young solider on leave, and the three of them are left to figure out if it’s possible to stay alive in this new world.

One of the best things the author does is fantastic cliff-hanger chapter endings, ie:

- No, she thought. No, please, Go, I’m not seeing this.

- Much later, she would think all that talk of food was to blame for what happened next.

- Something slammed against her back as a bright orange flash erupted out of the dark, and a shotgun boomed.

- Alex and Tom both looked at Ellie and then at each other, and burst into laughter.
That was the last good time.

- “Promise me that if I change,” Tom said, “you’ll kill me.”

- The woman was sallow and pinched with a frizz of gray hair. Maybe in another life and before this nightmare, she’d baked chocolate chip cookies for the grandkids, but not now.
She sighted her rifle on Alex’s chest. “Don’t.”

You can see why I couldn’t stop reading!

You can read more about the author and the book here.



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Oooh! Thanks for the rec. Post-Armageddon....can be so depressing. But it's always amazing to see a writer considering the implications from unique viewpoints.

You might like "Into the Forest" if you haven't read it. I particularly liked how slowly the apocalypse settled....

And, of course, McCarthy's "The Road".

Mmmm...I didn't interpret that scene as incest, more as extreme comforting in the face of a staggering situation.
It seems like the books that I enjoy are further and further between - so glad I found this one!