Saturday, 12 November 2011
Ashes by Ilsa J Bick
Author: Ilsa J Bick
Published: September 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Alex has run away and is hiking through the wilderness with her dead parents' ashes, about to say goodbye to the life she no longer wants to live. But then the world suddenly changes. An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who has changed... Everyone still alive has turned - some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh). Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the zombies that are on the hunt, Alex meets up with Tom - an Army veteran who escaped one war only to find something worse at home - and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse. This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to find food, shelter, while fighting off the 'Changed' and those desperate to stay alive. A tense and involving adventure with shocks and sudden plot twists that will keep teen and adult readers gripped.
The first thing that comes to mind about this book is the fantastically described zombie scenes. Lots of blood and gore, as to be expected from a zombie novel. As the story progresses we get a bit of respite from the creepiness, to point where it almost felt like I was reading a completely different book altogether, but surprisingly despite the change of pace the novel still seemed to flow really well only to take another turn and suddenly there is an unexpected cliffhanger ending that left me 'hungry' for more.
The main characters were likable and flawed. Alex is a strong and courageous character who is very self sufficient, perhaps a little to knowledgeable about wilderness survival for someone of her age who has a been receiving treatment for a large brain tumor. Ellie is a major pain but really she is just a typical eight year old and a terrified and confused one at that. Tom is highly skilled and mysterious.
I am eager to discover the fate of Tom, Ellie and Alex. This book is a good start to what I hope will become a great series.