By Mike Mullin
Sept. 27, 2011
Tanglewood Press, 476 pages
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don't realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the Earth forever.
Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when the supervolcano erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.
Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait--to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.
With nonstop action, a little romance, and realistic science, debut author Mike Mullin tells a mesmerizing story. Readers will turn Ashfall's pages breathlessly, and continue to ponder Alex and Darla's fate long after they close the book.
— Amazon.com description
I described this book to a fellow student in my writing class as “The Road but funny.” Because clearly The Road was a work of genius, but you know, missing some LOLs.
OK, I’m kidding, obviously. But what I meant by that is that this book had heart and humor and romance on top of all that classic “OMG I’m going to die at any moment from starvation/murderous rogues/frostbite/etc.”
I mean, sweet book lords, what is more intriguing to read about than falling in lurvvve in the midst of a life-or-death situation? It’s just so damn tragic, that it’s immediately a page-turner.
Ahh, but I feel like I’m misleading you. This wasn’t a lovey-dovey-kissy book, though I am obviously choosing to focus on the romance aspect. I can’t help myself.
Actually, Alex’s main objective throughout Ashfall is to find his family and survive. And that’s where this book really found its heart. It’s an amazing story about how far someone will go, what they will endure, to survive and to stay connected to their family. Highly, highly recommended.
PS: Click here to watch my stick-figure video about my love for apocalypse books.