Published: 16th October 2012 by Tanglewood Press
Format: Hardcover, 576 pages
Genres: Post Apocalyptic
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It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa.
Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace the journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross iseven more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.
Riveting and heart poundingly exciting, Ashen Winter is the perfect follow-up to Ashfall! Alex and Darla have been living in Warren with his relatives after their harrowing journey to get there. But Alex’s parents have not returned, and the discovery of his father’s shotgun in the hands of bandits spurs Alex to leave the farm and search for them. Darla chooses to accompany him, and they are thrust into the dangerous world once more. A thrilling adventure follows that uncovers the depravities humans will sink to in order to survive, but also highlights how sometimes the best of intentions can bring about disastrous consequences.
Being familiar with Alex and Darla, I found them enjoyable to read about, and smiled a lot at their relationship. It’s nice that they have found one another in the post volcanic eruption world and are clinging to their relationship. They have really grown and become a lot tougher. I loved that Alex learned some heard lessons and ceased to be so idealistic in this book, although he hasn’t lost his hope! On their journey Alex and Darla meet Alyssa and her autistic brother Ben. I really liked Ben: he’s so smart and I was gratified to see the other characters in the book recognise his intelligence and listen to him. Alyssa annoyed me for a while, but then I realised she was trying to the survive in the only way she knew how, so I was a little more forgiving. I found it much harder to like Alex’s parents. I suppose like all parents they just wanted to keep their son safe, but Alex has survived ten months without them and they need to treat him like an adult. His mother’s mollycoddling really got on my nerves.
The plot of Ashen Winter is tighter than that of Ashfall – it still has lulls in the action but doesn’t allow the characters to fall into self-pity and long periods of mostly useless reflection. The world is again well realised. Even though only six months has passed since the events of Ashfall, and Alex and Darla transverse pretty much the same area as they did previously, things have changed a lot and they face different challenges looking for his parents than they did when they were making their way to the farm in Warren.
Ashen Winter is a wonderful followup to Ashfall and I enjoyed it thoroughly. This book will be enjoyed by fans of the Post-apocalyptic genre, and those looking for something different to read. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series!
Ashen Winter blog tour
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About the author:
Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist (they taste like a cross between walnuts and carrots), so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really hoping this writing thing works out.
Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashfall is his first novel.