Ashes – Ilsa J. Bick
Pages: 464 (ARC)
Release Date: 29th September 2011
No, she thought. No, please God, I’m not seeing this.
Seventeen-year-old Alex is hiking through the wilderness when it happens: an earth-shattering electromagnetic pulse that destroys everything.
Survivors are divided between those who have developed a superhuman sense and those who have acquired a taste for human flesh. These flesh-hunters stalk the land: hungry, ruthless and increasingly clever...
Alex meets up with Tom, a young army veteran, and Ellie, a lost girl, and they will fight together and be torn apart. Alex must face the most difficult question of them all: in such a vastly changed world, who can you trust?
A story of high-wire tension, gut-wrenching twists and burgeoning love, Ashes will leave you breathless.
Ilsa J Bick’s debut is one of the most gruesome, atmospheric and addictive books that I've read so far this year. I absolutely loved it.
Ashes has a fascinating and very mysterious premise and I really had no idea what to expect other than awesomeness. With the state of the world as it is for nearly the entire novel, there really aren’t any authoritative explanations for what Alex calls the ‘Zap’, just educated guesses and logical reasoning’s. Usually, that would bother me, but it made complete sense and fitted the story and the events of the novel perfectly. The idea of the EMP was developed subtly with the differences between the people who died, changed or survived as a result of it – it is an extremely clever idea.
Alex is captivating character. At seventeen she’s very world-savvy and grown-up, but also dark and damaged and her development over the novel is brilliant to read. For someone so young, Alex has had to deal with a lot of crap: the death of her parents, a fatal diagnosis and then the ending of the world, but she does it realistically. She’s angry and untrusting and completely reluctant to let anyone into her world. But several people work their way in - Ellie, who initially really annoyed me; Tom, a strong, broken, army guy (yum) and Chris, a rather closed off and mysterious guy who worked himself into Alex’s heart. They all gave her something to survive in this world for.
One of the most intriguing sections of the novel was when Alex was in Rule. That place really gave me the creeps. It just seemed too strict and twisted in their alien religious notions and the control it exhibited over the people of the town. As Alex settled in and began to accept the town’s traditions, I began to worry: there was something not right. But whether I was right or not, you’ll just have to read Ashes and find out.
I adored Ashes and I’m dying to read the sequel, Shadows, after a rather panic-inducing final few pages.
For my 2011 Debut Author Challenge
A big thank you to Quercus for providing me with a review copy.