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 was one of my first books from Net Galley and I was very excited it give it a read. Dystopian/ Post-Apocalyptic are fast becoming my first choice. I know, I know. A lot of people are devouring these too. I know a lot of people out there are saying, but why? They are so dark and depressing. Okay yes, there are certainly dark moments, but you know what? There is so much good and light within these dark tales. The one thing that I love about Dystopian is that there are always those characters that rise above and show that even when times are dark, at the core of humanity we are mostly good. These characters bring to light the true testament of the human nature and our willingness to fight for what is right and our strength to survive. And this is what I loved so much about Ashfall.
At it's core, this is a book based on characters and what those characters will do in order to survive and to keep those they love alive. Yes, this is about a Super Volcano. Yes, there is a whole science aspect to this story and no it is not really dealt with in great detail, but that is not what this book was about for me. I don't know if the scientific stuff is believable. Quite frankly, I don't care. The basic premise was good enough for me. What I loved about this book was Alex. Alex's story begins with a BANG! Quite literally. And it does not stop. We see Alex grow from beginning to end and I for one enjoyed every step of the way. I connected right away to this character. He is this normal teenage boy when we first meet him...about to be left alone for the weekend while his family is off visiting other family in another state. Cool? Not! Alex's life comes crashing down on him in a matter of a few pages and so his journey to find his family begins. Right from the start, Alex is forced to grow up quickly due to the situations he is forced to be apart of and witness. Many are terrifying and heartbreaking to say the least. Along the way he meets up with many characters. Some are good but some are the true definition of evil. I don't like to put too many spoilers into my reviews, but I will say that the author, Mike Mullin, did a fantastic job of throwing enough at Alex to keep the readers wanting more and worrying constantly for Alex's wellbeing.
Halfway through Alex's journey, he meets, Darla. Darla, Darla, Darla. I love Darla. She is this amazing 18yr old girl who has grown up on a farm and learning absolutely everything from her father and then after his death, she continues to learn on her own. Darla is amazing. She is beautiful, smart, snarky and just plain cool. The relationship that develops between Alex and Darla is perfect. It is not over done and just feels natural considering everything that they go through together.
The ending of this one was also perfect - for me anyway. There is no big huge cliff hanger. Which is too often the norm in YA as of late. It ended leaving you with the knowledge that there is more to Alex and Darla's story. I for one will be anxiously waiting the next instalment, Ashen Winter.
Rating: 5 Stars!