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Ashfall Paperback – October 16, 2012
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“This post-apocalyptic tale is one that combines reality with the stuff of nightmares, crawls under your skin, and forces you to question your own courage and survival instincts.”
— Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder
About the Author
- Publisher : Tanglewood; First Trade Paper edition (October 16, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 476 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1933718749
- ISBN-13 : 978-1933718743
- Reading age : 14 - 17 years
- Lexile measure : 730L
- Grade level : 8 - 12
- Item Weight : 1.04 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #113,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Reminds me more of Swan Song by Robert McCammon, just thinking of books I would compare these to off the top of my head.
Edited to add: just finished all three books. Honestly couldn't put them down. Mike Mullen is an amazing writer. These are so good, I'm worried that someone will try to make these into movies in the future, and will most likely butcher them horribly. I hope not. Mullen paints the pictures so vividly with his writing, a movie would b unnecessary. I'm STILL saying these are NOT for young teens. Very mature content. Love, love, love these books!! Thank you, Mike Mullen, for writing post apocalyptic books that aren't rehashed versions of others of this type. Alex is an amazing character.
She now wants to read the other two in the trilogy on her own.
She did say that for siting or documenting page numbers looking up quotes or examples was harder with a digital copy then it would have been with a hard copy. If she realized this she would of jotted notes as a reminder to find it again as she read.
But said it didn’t feel like a reading assignment because the author did such a good job at capturing her quickly. First chapter was a little slow but she discovered it’s important to the storyline. After that it just flew by.
Important info for Parents. There is one sex part that was not too discriptive, I as Mom can’t confirm this, but she did say they didn’t spend a lot of time on that moment. She also said there were a few gory moments that were very graphic description. She said their was a rape scene as well. The rape was not descriptive but the fight to stop it was pretty graphic. She said your heart definitely starts to pound while reading it. She feels 98% of 13/14 year olds could handle these things as written. But know your child’s sensitivity level.
Alex is a your average 15, almost 16, year old boy at the start of the story. His mom is nagging him, again, to go with the family to visit his uncle for the weekend. He gets out of it claiming homework, in reality he just wants to stay home and play video games with his buddies. And then the eruption occurs. Suddenly that sullen teen has aged ten years. His only thought is how selfish he was and how he needs to find his family. This drives the story forward as Alex ventures out to get to his family, to hug his mom and never let go.
I was impressed with the author’s research for this book. He made the eruption and subsequent events so believable, eerily so! I was completely drawn into the story, Alex’s plight, and the race for survival. BUT the violence — as other reviewers have pointed out — was brutal! By the end of the book, I was numb to it. I just couldn’t handle anymore. I would like to think the best of my fellow human beings, but I think the scary part of this book is that it portrays such an accurate representation of what could happen. People turn on each other again and again. Neighbors, convicts, even the government can’t be relied on. It’s a terrifying thought!
Overall I really enjoyed this book! It kept me on the edge of my seat, not able to turn the pages fast enough. The narrative style writing made it a quick and easy read, allowing me to be immersed completely in Alex’s story. And Darla....Darla is my hero. Just read the book and you will see why. But perhaps for me what made this such a great book is that it isn’t your typical dystopian. This story is about survival and what lengths you may or may not be willing to go to. Fans of dystopian should read this book ASAP, but fair warning it isn’t for the faint of heart.
I think the story is well written and believable. After being a nearly a year in this pandemic, it doesn’t surprise me how humans behave towards each other when the going gets tough. I think this book illustrates that point well. I really love the main characters. It is nice to see a book from a teen boy perspective.
If I could give this 4.5 stars , I would. Looking forward to the sequel.
Top reviews from other countries
Mike Mullin's debut novel 'Ashfall' is one of the most unsettling dystopic fictions out there, as it brings to the reader a world of disaster that worryingly could happen. Volcanic erruptions and the spewing of ash into the atmosphere is reminsicent of a natural disaster which happened more recently in the real world, grounding planes for weeks. But what if the erruption was so huge - so terrifyingly magnificent - that it blocked out the sunlight and rained thick, smothering clouds of ash for months?
Mullin's character Alex is home alone when disaster strikes. At sixteen years old (and more than typically a stroppy teenager) Alex starts addressing the magnitude of his loneliness at his family home in Iowa: "after lunch, more terrified boredom. Nothing to do but endlessly ponder: Is my family alive? Would I survive?" With his parents more than 100 miles away, on a visit to their Uncle Paul in Warren, Alex makes the difficult decision to set out and find them, using his father's battered old skis.
Mullin introduces an array of characters that any lover of apocolyptic fiction will be unfortunately familiar with, like ex convicts with aggressive natures, trying to slice and dice you for the tins of tomatoes you've got stashed in your backpack. Or, the military soldiers who round you up and don't provide any answers to your questions, keeping you in quarantine with very little food to survive on. Okay, truthfully, it wouldn't be the end of the world if you didn't have the violent brutes taking advantage somehow, but thankfully, Mullin's female lead 'Darla' is a ray of light in that repetitive ashfall. Alex, injured and at death's door, is more than relieved to discover Darla a farm: "The girl stood above me. A strange angel my addlepated brain thought. Surely angels didn't wear t-shirts and overalls?" and it is from that moment onwards that the stubborn, car-smart, whip-tongued, seventeen year old farmhand steals the readers heart, making Alex an afterthought!
Though the general plot brings into question geological accuracy, (which Mullin apologises for in his acknowledgements, after claiming he had people to help "ferret out scientific errors," though any left are his fault) anyone with a good, healthy imagination will get lost in the downpour of sulphurus ash with Alex and will no doubt feel that niggling drift of thought as you wonder: what would you do should this really happen? One thing you'll learn from this novel is that vitamin C tablets will be like gold dust. Scurvy becomes the main cause of discomfort for those who have survived and with ash covering the land, there's no chance that allotment of yours is gonna' bring you a fresh harvest anytime soon...
Ashfall follows a male lead, which makes a change in this genre, Alex and his journey to find his parents after the supervolcano in Yellowstone blows. The world hasn't ended, there are no zombies (although there are some cannibals) and the book takes a new look at the 'what if' world.
Alex's world is destroyed, for the first few chapters both Alex and the reader don't really know whats happened, nor how far the damage has gone. The scene setting chapters are thrilling, and you really start to get to know Alex as he realises what the world has become, then the journey starts - I put in spoilers as I don't want to ruin it for anyone else, so I'll keep it vague. Alex's prioity throughout the book is finding his family (who were at his uncles farm at the time of the eruption, leaving alex at home alone), and the majority of the book is about this journey - the people he meets (good and bad), the state of the US following the disaster (and the politics that it creates) and young love. Everything you could need in a book.
Twists and turns are kept to a minimum, Mullin doesn't need cheap tricks to keep the reader interested, the story unfolds as you'd expect it to, but that is a good thing here. Its a story that you really can imagine happening, no sudden paranormal abilities or zombies, just the good and bad in every individual.
A fascinating story, and one I hope to continue to enjoy in book two
I liked the fact that Alex makes sensible decisions and learns from his mistakes, also that the main female character Darla is equally strong and resourceful.
This book would appeal to teenagers, young adults and anybody who wants an undermanning, action packed read