Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: Ashes by Ilsa Bick

  Despite the fact that I am Team Unicorn ALL THE WAY (if you do not understand this reference, go read Zombies vs Unicorns. You're welcome) I really loved Ashes.

Alex, the main character, has a brain tumor that is slowly killing her. She can't take it anymore, so one weekend she goes up to the Waucamaw Wilderness, where she used to go all the time with her parents before they were killed in a car accident, with the intention of spreading her parents' ashes on the lakeshore. (I'm guessing that the Waucamaw Wilderness is fictional, because all of the Google hits for it are related to this book.)

She doesn't get the chance to do that, however, since an electromagnetic pulse rips through the area and destroys all of her electronics. Alex is forced to care for Ellie, an eight-year-old girl who has some serious attachment issues, and her dog, Mina, a former bomb-sniffer.

This book is similar in tone to Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star, and Alex really reminded me of Tris from Divergent. It was really on the violent side for me, (some of the descriptions I had to skip) but the plot was really engaging.

I thought that the relationship between Alex and Tom proceeded at a realistic pace. I did think that Ellie was incredibly dumb and annoying at times, but I think that was the point. I thought that the explanations for everything were reasonable, and for the first time in a while, I only figured things out AS Alex did, even though the clues were there, if I had looked. I also loved how well the title fit the book -- I thought Alex's parent's ashes would come into play a bit more than they actually did, but the world was in ashes, Alex's parent's were ashes, so on.

 So, in short, I really liked it. Despite the fact that there were zombies. The sequel cannot come soon enough.

Ilsa's website can be found here.