Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Ashfall (Ashfall, #1)Title: Ashfall 
Author: Mike Mullin
Publisher:  Tanglewood Press
Publishing Date: October 11th 2011
Pages: 476
Genre:  YA Apocalyptic 
Series: Ashfall #1
Source: Paperback


Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.

It feels like this book was on my TBR list forever. The original cover kind of turned me off and I didn't feel the need to read it right away, even though I heard the book was good. I actually love the new cover and when I was contacted to review the series, I jumped at the chance. I finally have a reason to read it, right now, no more excuses. So I read it, I loved it, I am so excited to keep reading this series. The story was awesome, the characters rocked, and there was definitely a crap its the end of the world vibe worth reading about. 

A super volcano in Yellowstone decides to erupt and in the process takes out more than just Yellowstone. It pours ashes for days, causes a horrible winter to come early, animals dying, people dying, fires, murders, there is nothing left good in the town that Alex called his home. Alex's family left him alone for the weekend in Iowa when they took a trip to Illinois to visit family. Alex is determined to leave his hometown and travel to Warren Illinois, about 3 hours away by car, to track down his family. The only problem, no car, horrible weather, ash everywhere, and danger around every corner. The trip will take more than 3 hours, more than days, more than weeks. Along the way he meets Darla, she saves his life.... more than once..... they become friends and travel buddies, they decide to travel together until they reach Warren. 

I was pretty sure this book would rock. I heard so many wonderful things about it and I love apocalyptic reads. They freak me out and take me to a world I would never want to live, but I enjoy it and I am entertained by it. This book surpassed all my expectations. I totally loved this book. It was a very fast read and I finished it quicker than I thought I would. Once I picked it up and read a chapter or two, I was hooked. Everything happened quickly but not too fast. Every time I thought things were good, danger over, BAM... something happened again, and this book did not shy away from death, creepies, grossness, or despair. It was quite a horrific read.

There was a lot of bad stuff in the book, but it did not make the book a bad read. For every bad thing, there was something to laugh at, awe about, or just tear up and smile. I think I went through my entire palette of emotions during this read. There were a few times I wanted to throw the book, but then I wanted to hug the book. 

This kind of book is a book about a journey and about survival. There are times these type of books can get boring for me and lose interest. When these books have excellent character building, I am in it to the end. The characters in this book rocked. I loved the main characters and I loved all the supporting characters, even the bad guys were awesomely evil. 

I fell in love with Alex. He started off a geek, nothing wrong with that. I love geeks, but to make it even better, by the end of the book he was a bit of a heartthrob. He was a hero, a gentleman, and a goober. He made me laugh and he made me adore him. He never backed down, he always had the best intentions, and he had heart... Oh yes I just loved him. The way he respected others, especially Darla made me swoon a bit... for Darla's sake. Making me swoon in books is not an easy task. I read lots of books with lots of heroes, and Alex made to the very top of my list of heroes. He was all good and no bad. 

Darla was also a great character. She was a strong girl. She had heart too. She worked hard, she was honest, she did what was needed for those that she loved. She didn't love a little, she loved a lot. Everything she did, it was done all the way. She was smart and she was resourceful. She had a breaking point but she found a way to fight through it. 

One of the main things I liked about this apocalyptic story, it was feasible, it felt realistic, it could happen. Those thoughts made the read scary. It was written well. It was not all doom and gloom, but the feel of survival was definitely there. Everything felt real, never forced, never phony. I really attached to the story and to the characters and fought with them in this terrifying trek of survival. 

All I can say is just read it, if you like apocalyptic stories with great characters. This book is for you. Don't waste another moment, get the book and read it. Its a keeper and I can't wait to dig in to the next book, which happens to be sitting on my shelf waiting for me. 

Mike Mullin
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, 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.


  1. This sounds like a great read! I'm glad the story and characters felt so real and were engaging. I'm a little afraid of the horror of the situation - disaster stories have never really appealed to me for that reason, but I am curious about this one! Great review!

  2. I loved this book too!!! It scared the crap out of me and gave me hellish nightmares, but I loved it. I am reading the 2nd book now and when I'm done with it I have the final book sitting here waiting on me. I'm not loving the 2nd book as much as the first and Alex keeps having these really DUH moments, but it's still totally worth reading.... so far anyway :) Great review... I also loved reading about how strong and caring Darla could be. She was an amazing heroine!


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