It could happen tomorrow . . .
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.
For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.
Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.
A Long Story Short:
Amazing. Read it.
Review for You:
It took me a year to start reading this book. And while, yes, my TBR pile is huge and growing, there's still no way to justify my holding off. Despite it's terrible marketing.
Seriously, I don't like to be spoiled by the synopsis of a book, either, but if you don't even have an idea of what you're actually holding in your hands, it's quite difficult to get exited about it.*
Unless, of course, you manage to get to the first page.
Which is just as amazing as the entire rest of this book. Seriously, I was amazed by how much Bick had to offer.
Ashes was not just excellent writing, it was realistic premise, fast paced plot and fantastic characters all in one huge pile of pages. I don't even know where to start with the praise for Ashes. Or, let me think. I guess now I do know.
It's disguisting. You really must be prepared for that. As I stated, it's also great, but it has a lot of violence, a lot of despair, a lot of death and ugliness in it and if you told me before I would never have picked it up. Which would have been a big mistake.
Going along with how disguisting Ashes was is Bick's writing. That woman has got skills, people! Her writing is descriptive, to the point and - unique in every aspect of the book.
It doesn't matter if we're talking Alex, the main character with her strong personality and voice, or Tom and Ellie, all three of them, by the way, come with extraordinary background stories that shaped them into the people you meet on the pages.
In general, Bick is a genius when it comes to letting the reader get to know her characters. All the sidekicks in this story, no matter how important their role for the plot was, were introduced in such a way that at the end of the page I felt like I knew them personally.
Bick's writing also gives the pace of the novel something mindblowing. She manages to put those little words and phrases at the end of her chapters that make it impossible to put the book down - and I didn't have to, anyway. The author's choice of words seems to be random , yet totally fitting, which gives Ashes a poetic touch without ever being slow and dragging. Cornelia Funke, Lauren Oliver and Maggie Stiefvater, for example, are all writers with beautiful language skills - but their books often suffer from slow pace and a lack of action whereas I'd compare Ashes with The Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer) or Under the Never Sky (Veronika Rossi).
These three novels all made me fall in love from the first page because I could just breeze through the book and still enjoy every second of it.
Overall, you have got to read Ashes to find out about the true beauty of it yourself. I could give you more information about how great Bick handled the romantic aspects, how much feelings this book conveyed, how I was still thinking about it long after I'd finished, but that would turn out to be repetitive and maybe even spoil the book for you, so I recommend you just go and read it yourself, because it's amazing!
*On the back of my edition they only provide the reader with a paragraph taken from the book which leaves you in the blue as to what the book is actually about. The Goodreads summary has a lot more details.