- File Size: 4690 KB
- Print Length: 226 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Theresa Shaver; 1 edition (April 11, 2015)
- Publication Date: April 11, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00VHK2208
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,052 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$11.99|
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Snow & Ash: Endless Winter Kindle Edition
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Skylar Ross is a typical pre-teen. Her iPod and dance classes are the most important things in her life, and she resents being stuffed into her father's pick-up truck with everything she can pack in five minutes and her heavily pregnant mother. Driving up into the mountains, her father hurries them into a repurposed military bunker he has spent years remodeling and stocking.
On his way to pick up a cow, he sees a young boy, a young girl, a toddler in a stroller and an adult woman. Recognizing the young boy and toddler as children he passed by on the way to the bunker, he stops, picks them all up and helps get them situated in the break room of a mega store. Rushing back to the bunker he finds his wife dead from childbirth and a tiny newborn boy who needs to be cared for.
One day her father doesn't return from a scouting trip and Skylar finds herself only person left to raise her very young brother.
In the meantime, civilization ranges from small groups of survivors to larger groups run almost like gang camps. Against her better judgement she rescues a boy about her age with a younger brother of his own. When it looks like things might be getting better, her safety and the safety of her brother are endangered by betrayal.
Skylar is young character who remembers social peer interaction, but hasn't had any for the seven years before she opens the bunker. She has her school books, the entertainment her father brought in, her younger brother, and the artificial intelligence that runs the bunker. As such, it could be expected her emotional growth to be behind other teens her age. However, her introspection, of which there is a lot, portrays her as having a much older emotional personality. This jarred this reader; the switching from an almost adult interior dialogue to a teenager confronted with the first boy her age she's seen in seven years.
The bunker has been outfitted for many years of living before the outside can support vegetation. Her father alludes to an original plan of providing shelter to many people, but tells Skylar not to let anyone know where she is, and not let anyone in. Even after working for years with a military buddy the sheer amount of foodstuffs stocked in the shelter is difficult to believe. Entire shipping containers are described by Skylar, begging the question how her father and friend got them up a mountain without anyone seeing. Skylar manages to raise her brother from infanthood, so we'll have to assume some of those almost endless supplies included generous portions of formula and babyfood.
One thing this reader tripped over is how waste is disposed of. There would be thousands of dirty diapers, food scraps, waste from the animal pens and just general hygiene. Even just two children can produce a significant amount. Where does it go?
The contrast between life in the bunker and life outside could be increased. Skylar's life hasn't changed much, except for care for her brother and the animals. Even the garden can be thought of as a common pre-bunker activity. Outside life is much harder. Descriptions of the buildings, the people, how the people look and survive would give sharper delineation between sheltered and unsheltered life. It would be expected anyone too young to remember life before the war would need to have things Skylar takes for granted explained. This would provide more dissonance to help show what has been lost from one generation to the next. The differences don't need to be dwelled upon. A good example is when one of the young boys is amazed at a fresh salad and he's teased he could continue to eat sprouts because they grow fast and that's what's available.
The book does need to be edited for punctuation marks, specifically quote marks. All of the beginning quote marks when a character speaks for more than one paragraph are missing. Occasionally, ending quote marks are missing. This interrupts the flow of the story and requires the reader to stop and decide if a character is still talking.
Skylar is a generally likable character, trying to follow advice given by her father years ago and that may now be out of date, and taking on the responsibility of a full time mother and maintainer of a specialized living situation. Trimming some of her introspection would tighten the narration. Now that her comfortable world has been invaded by others, it will be interesting to see how she goes from caring for a younger brother to living with many more people of different ages.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this story was the lack of Zombies or other mutated big bads. While I do love a good monster apocalypse, it was kind of nice just reading a story about the human experience. As you can tell this was a Nuclear apocalypse so not only do the characters have to contend with fallout, nuclear winter and tainted supplies but also finding adequate shelter away from all that. You can understand why Skylar finds herself in quite the predicament because of that.
Another thing I really enjoyed about Snow and Ash were the characters. Skylar and Rex couldn't be in any different of circumstances and yet they still want the same things family, safety and to be loved. I really enjoyed following both Rex and Skylar's viewpoints as the story unfolds. Going into it I really thought Rex would have the tougher time but in the end I think he actually had it easier. Sure, he had to scavenge on a near daily basis and roving bands of thugs were always an issue but he had human interaction and he could feel the air on his skin and the earth under his feet. Skylar being in such a regulated atmosphere really ended up being a bit spoiled despite not exactly having a life of freedom that safety afforded her.
Lastly, I really liked the lack of romance. I know, I know, some of you really like romance and yes, it does have a place in a story but I was just glad that this time it wasn't the sole focus whenever interactions with the opposite sex took place.
Now although I really enjoyed Snow and Ash I did have one minor issue with it and that was Skylars shelter itself. OK, I know, were supposed to believe two guys with illegally smuggled military supplies and funds built this badass shelter but I just don't buy it. Also it really irked me that the Father wasn't willing to help anyone at the onset and then later on goes "We'll need to help rebuild." or something like that. I mean, WTF do you really believe you can help carry out loads of supplies without a single person wondering where the main bunker is and really, were two kids going to be that much burden when you yourself exclaim you have supplies for years?? Logistics aside, eventually Skylar is going to want male companionship so why waste a golden opportunity to have her grow up with some?? I just didn't get it and his lack of reasoning bugged me.
Overall, I really enjoyed Snow and Ash. Yes, the story had a few bumps along the way but those really were minor issues compared to my overall enjoyment with the story.
With that being said, I'll be rating Snow and Ash by Theresa Shaver ★★★★.