This is a rare book. One that breathes like a flickering flame, before exploding like an inferno, gathering you in its clutches and refusing to let go.
There are three things I learned from Ashfall:
1) Super Volcanoes are SUPER scary.
2) People are capable of anything.
3) Never trust men with target signs on the back of their skull
Although, if I’m honest, that last one I already had figured out.
Now to the good stuff: The book itself.
This is everything you want from a disaster novel, and everything I hoped The Road would be. The thing is, in a market saturated by post-apocalyptic fiction, this is unique. Because this book deals with the immediate aftermath of disaster, and not as a reference to the past.
Alex, an ordinary fifteen year old on an ordinary day is thrust into extraordinary circumstances when the Super Volcano at Yellowstone National Park erupts. After a series of unexpected and terrifying events, he sets off to find his family in Warren and discovers that disasters bring out the worst in some people.
Particularly when you have this going off in your ears:
The action starts from the get go, and Mullin’s prose is pitch perfect, as he describes everything to great detail, but not to the point where you’re mind is as muddled as a post-volcanic boom. You can see every inch of what he is describing, and this is both a good and bad thing if you have a nervous disposition, because this book is DISGUSTING!
And I love it for that.
I’ll admit it; I love reading thrillers, and horror, so it takes a lot to get a reaction from me. I have read entire scenes featuring decapitation and did not even blink an eye (this probably says something about the desensitisation of my generation, but I say it’s because I’m odd) but when reading this book, the following happened:
I gagged. And gagged some more.
I gagged so much that I was asked if I was okay and offered a glass of water.
And all with a giant, face-splitting grin on my face.
Because gagging while reading a book is not something I have done in a very, very long time. It was a refreshing change.
But don’t let that deter you, this book is phenomenal. It is highly original, artfully written and the characters are just as interesting as the plot.
Ashfall shows that in the face of adversity, when times are tough, people are capable of anything. People will do anything to survive. Because survival is part of our programming. It is part of the human condition.
This is book I want on hand if there is ever an earth-shattering disaster. Firstly, because it’s fantastic, but secondly—and maybe this is more important—it actually tells you HOW to survive a disaster zone. From skinning rabbits, to surviving attacks by psychopathic cannibals.
That’s right: CANNIBALS!
This book has everything!
I can’t wait for the next instalment: Ashen Winter, and to see what becomes of Alex, Darla and the whole gang, as well as seeing more from Mike Mullin.
This is an author to watch folks.
Highly recommend it.
*I received this ARC courtesy of NetGalley in return for an honest review. I thank them for it*