Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review: Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

Ashen Winter (Ashfall, #2)Title: Ashen Winter 
Author: Mike Mullin
Publisher:  Tanglewood Press 
Publishing Date:  October 16th 2012
Pages:  576
Genre:  YA  Apocalyptic
Series: Ashfall #2
Source: Paperback


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 their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even 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.

I couldn't wait to dive into the second book of this trilogy. I absolutely loved the first book, Ashfall, and wanted to read more of Alex and Darla's story. I enjoyed this read, not quite as much as the Ashfall, but it was a good second book read.

Alex and Darla made it to Alex's uncle's farm and have been surviving there, hiding from the brutal winter caused by the ashfall. The farm is attacked by some bandits and in the fight Alex finds a shotgun that belonged to his father. Now he and Darla will trek out to find his parents, with on one clue and through a very deadly cold. Alex and Darla find new threats, nasty gangs, cannibalism, sex trafficking, and so much more. The cold isn't the only thing they have to fight on the rescue mission. 

I thought it was a good read. The only issue, the one and only issue I had with this book... it felt almost like I was reading the first book all over again. It was a bit different. I mean Alex and Darla kind of know what they are doing and can fight so much better than in the first book.... But.. Its a trek through the ashes and now the snow too. I was looking for something a bit different. The book had enough in it to keep me reading.. It was just as gross and intense as the first, just felt too familiar to the first book for me to completely enjoy the read. 

What I did like... Alex and Darla's relationship. It was pretty solid and I enjoyed reading more about their devotion, their determination, and their dreams. They had some tender moments, more than in the first book, but it never got too mushy. They were pretty realistic on the world they lived in and the fact they may not have much of a future but at least they have each other. This book focused a bit more on their struggles staying together and safe. They had an amazing loyalty to each other that just made me feel good inside. 

Alex does make some stupid choices in this book. He is a bit trigger happy and doesn't think before he acts. He gets better towards the end. Really though, he wasn't the one that bothered me throughout the book. Darla had her moments where I wanted to slap her. Yes, Alex didn't always think before acting, but his actions were led by his heart. What he thought was right morally and he didn't want to lose his  humanity. I liked him for wanting to always be the good guy and not selfish in who he saves or helps. Darla was a bit harder, colder. She only cared about her own and didn't made it know how she felt about Alex and his "save the world" complex. Of course his stubbornness and heart is what saves her in the end. 

I really like the characters, but  the story just lacked a bit for me. It wasn't exactly predictable or slow,  but it was just another survival and rescue story. I don't feel as if I got anywhere. Although I do see that the story is headed in an ending and I am very excited to read the next book, Sunrise. I think the last book will give me exactly what I need. 

This was a good second book read, not exactly what I wanted, but it was enough to entertain me. 

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.


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  2. I love this series, it breaks my heart and takes my breath away at the same time. It's rare that a book evokes such emotion in me and I really loved this book, it stays true to the story and the pacing is dead on. I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to the next book.
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