Review: Ashes

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Then she shut the door and locked it and left him there.

After being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, Alex leaves on a hiking trip to deal with her personal demons and say good-bye to her parents. That’s when it happens: the pulse. Electronic devices no longer work and folks are either dead or have a strange craving for flesh. Set on survival, Alex does what she must to avoid the Changed and save her improvised family.

This book is broken into two parts, and they couldn’t be more different. The first part is a fast-paced, well-written account of how Alex, Ellie, and Tom meet, encounter the Changed, and plan to survive. The characters are well done, engaging the reader to cheer for their survival. It is an easy – if mature in some parts – read.

The second half of the book is a total departure from the first half. Not only is Alex alone again, but there are no more Changed until the very last chapter – no more action. The reader is left wondering what happened to the other characters (which I presume will be dealt with in the sequel) and tossed into a town, meeting new characters and departing from the Alex from the first part – even she questions where the old her has gone. This part is frustrating, though no less intriguing if only to find out where it is going.

Ashes takes teen dystopia to a gruesome level, though leaving the reader questioning the swift change in the middle of the book. Regardless, it is a fast read, with a lot of action in the first part and hopefully a lot of answers in the sequel.

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