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Ashen Winter (Ashfall Trilogy) Paperback – October 22, 2013
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One of the things I like about Mullin's writing is that he keeps the reader engaged and gives you a real feel for the dystopic world his characters are dealing with. Typical is this scene where Alex and Darla are trying to get away from some paramilitary pursuers while fleeing across the surface of a frozen river on a dual pedal-powered contraption Darla rigged up and christened Bikezilla:
"The Humvee was about a mile south of us but racing north fast. Both banks of this stretch of river were densely forested -- I didn't see any place we could get off the river ice. Darla braked hard and spun us into a tight turn, and we stood on the pedals, accelerating north away from the Humvee.
--"Darla, look!" I yelled and pointed.
--"I see it."
--To the north, there was a break in the trees: a path barely big enough for Bikezilla, its opening flanked by two huge cottonwoods that would prevent the Humvee from following us. Darla steered straight toward it.
-- My legs burned. We'd been pedaling flat out since we left the guard shack more than a half hour ago. My body was coated in cold sweat -- from exertion or terror, I wasn't sure which. I tried to coax one more burst of speed from my body, but I could barely maintain our current pace.
-- Darla was exhausted, too. I could hear her gasping for air even over the clatter of Bikezilla. If anything, we were slowing down. But then I heard the Humvee's engine revving behind us and discovered I did have some hidden reserve left.
-- I bore down on the pedals and we shot forward, a missile homing in on the safety of the trees ahead. There were no tricks left, no fancy maneuvers. If we kept playing chicken with the Humvee, eventually we'd lose.
--There was no gunfire. Maybe I'd actually done some damage by throwing the pistol. The rumble of the engine behind us crescendoed. I looked back -- we weren't going to make it.
-- I braced myself uselessly, thinking a collision was inevitable. But suddenly the gap between us and the Humvee widened. The truck braked, sliding toward us across the ice. We shot between the cottonwoods and up a snowy slope. The Humvee slammed into one of the trees with a shriek of tortured steel.
-- We reached the top of the ridge we'd been climbing and the trail leveled out, leading into a large clearing with a huge oak. Its branches spread so low we had to duck to pass beneath it. At the far side of the meadow the trail dove back into the woods, down the other side of the ridge toward the river.
-- Blood rushed in my ears, and my breath came in gasps. But even over the noises of my body, I heard a roar ahead -- water rushing over the roller dam.
-- We came around a bend and the woods opened up, the trail suddenly ending at the frothing pool at the base of the dam. Darla slammed on the brakes, but Bikezilla slid inexorably toward the pool.
-- "Darla!" I screamed.
-- "Jump!" She swerved, trying to miss the open water. I jumped and landed with a thud in the snow on the hillside. The bike fell sideways, trapping Darla's leg and dragging her in a rush toward the dealy, roiling water at the base of the dam.
Highly recommended for anyone who likes a YA novel about teens trying to survive in a word made dystopic by natural disaster.
There is 2 to 3 ft of volcanic ash in Iowa and Illinois. Now after six months of forced volcanic winter, there is another 2 to 4 ft of ice and snow on top of the ash. Everyone is now starving and the cannibals are everywhere. So, our hero and his girl take off looking for his parents who took off looking for him.
One should prepare in a very general nature for this and other types of events. History tells us that non-interesting times are limited in scope and tend to change quickly and violently. A very minimum set of things to do is:
1. three months of water storage for each person in the house
2. three months of food storage for each person in the house
3. some sort of protection against crazy people, I prefer guns and ammo
4. there are many other things that you can do to prepare for natural disasters, traumatic life events, national wars, civil wars, etc
Despite all of this, it was worth the read, and I can't wait to read how mike wraps up the trilogy in the last book.