Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.
Author: Mike Mullin
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Apocalyptic Fiction
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Source: Received from Netgalley courtesy of the Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to Netgalley and the Teen Book Scene for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 5/5
What if your world turned upside down in the space of 24 hours? Nothing would be the same again. Would you be able to survive? This question runs rampant through Alex's mind as the world around him is obliterated by ash spewed from the supervolcano located 900 miles away in Yellowstone National Park. Left at home alone, he was enjoying the idea of having a weekend to himself while the rest of his family visited relatives a couple hours away. Within hours of their leaving, everything changes. Now all Alex can think about is getting to his family and he is going to have to travel over 100 miles to get to them. He doesn't know what is out there, or what anyone will do as the days and weeks pass by. His only goal is to make it to his family, but will he survive the journey?
I'm going to say this straight up. I don't think I can even begin to do this book justice in my review. It was absolutely mind-blowing and way too realistic, which makes the read all the more gripping. Alex is amazing. He is such an intriguing character, and he really steps up when everything around him changes in the blink of an eye. Disasters bring out the best and worst in people, and seeing how Alex reacted to every situation thrust upon him was both terrifying and realistic. Friendships formed in the most unlikely places, and it was kill or be killed in other situations. Mullin doesn't pull any punches. He puts Alex through the wringer and then some. We are there every step of the way, living through Alex vicariously, wondering if we would be able to do what he has to do to survive. Honestly, I couldn't tell you if I would be capable of doing some of the things he has to do. Yet through it all, Mullin doesn't delve into ridiculously gory details. Less is more, and that will resonate with readers, especially when certain acts of depravity rear their ugly heads.
His attention to detail, especially with regards to the aftermath of the volcano erupting, the landscape, and the diseases brought on by the volcano really show that Mullin put a lot of time and effort into researching before writing the book, and that paid off exponentially. We get an unscripted look into a disaster that could happen at any time, and Ashfall really makes you think. Would you be able to survive such a disaster? Would you be able to defend yourself and your loved ones from those looking to take everything from you?
Al in all, this book gave me chills, and it kept me up into the wee hours of the night as I absorbed every word. I couldn't help falling in love with Alex and Darla and cannot wait to read more of their story because this disaster is way too big for just one book. As much as I hate seeing the situations that Alex has thrust upon him, I can't wait to see what Mullin has in store for him next, especially since this is the start of a new and very uncertain future. This is an incredibly realistic, poignant and mesmerizing read. It should top everyone's reading list. It has made my top reads for the year, and I cannot wait to delve back into the haunting world Mullin has created.
Mike Mullin is giving away FOUR signed hardcover editions of Ashfall during the blog tour. Comment on any post during the tour to be entered to win. Winners will be drawn each week of the tour. This portion is US/Canada only.
Mike is also providing one copy of Ashfall for giveaway to international readers as well through the Book Depository. Please verify that the Book Depository will ship to your country. Just leave a comment to be entered. =)