Book Review: Ashes

ashesWhat can I say about a book that made me cringe more in the first 200 pages than any other book I’ve ever read? And no, not because it was scary (the premise is actually pretty terrifying) but because of the graphic nature of the prose. The descriptions were apt but I had to skim some of them because it became too much for my imagination to handle.

Alex is the main character who is out hiking when an electromagnetic pulse hits. She isn’t sure what the radius is and has just stumbled across an elderly man and his granddaughter when it happens. Now stuck with the young girl, Alex has to brave her way across the dense forest towards the ranger’s cabin to seek help. Along the way, they meet Tom, under dire and disturbing circumstances.

Without giving away too much of the plot, I’ll just say that Alex consistently ends up with more than she bargained for and when the final pages are written, you won’t believe what happens.

The writing style of Bick annoyed me at times. She has a tendency to tell you when something unexpected or awful will happen. Something a character thinks or says and then she throws in something like “and that was the last time we saw the truck” or “we shouldn’t have said that”. It became rather grating and frankly unnecessary.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the arc of the story, even if the narration became more graphic than I had anticipated or hoped for. The main character has lots of knowledge about living in the woods and it shines through. You can tell the author has either experience or done a lot of research. The circumstances are unique and while it might fall under apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, it definitely isn’t an average story.

There is a fat, juicy plot that winds and tangles and keeps you guessing and interested. The story was more than I thought it would be and extended further than I thought it would but it turned out to not be a waste of my time.There is main character development, protection, survival, and even a little romance on more than one occasion. Definitely worth reading if you can stomach some of the initial scenes of violence.

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

My personal rating: 82

  • Writing style – 7
  • Plot – 8
  • Dialogue – 8
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 7
  • Love story – 8
  • Invokes emotion – 9
  • Synopsis accuracy – 7
  • Consistent level of interest – 10
  • Stays on topic – 8
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10
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