Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ashes, by Ilsa J. Bick

Alex has given up on life. After struggling with an inoperable brain tumor and enduring experimental medications, she's given up and run away from home, making it to the woods in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is there, that her life takes a serious turn for the worse.

A sudden intense electrical storm crosses through the sky, instantly killing some people, turning others into flesh-eating zombies, burning out any solid-state electronics, and giving Alex a super-strong sense of smell. Now, in the company of a frightened eight-year old orphan and a resourceful but enigmatic ex-soldier, she fights her way through the woods, pursued by the zombies and by scavengers. Together, they struggle to find a safe haven.

Grim, action-packed, and full of plenty of twists and turns, this thick novel (460 pages!) keeps your attention span. Given that intensity, the romantic subplots suffer a bit in comparison and it is a bit hard to take them very seriously, but the rest of the novel is well-paced. I was a bit disappointed to find that this is an un-marked first book in a trilogy (I've grown tired of those -- anyone else share my fatigue with having stories dragged out into literary marathons?) as I really wanted the story to wrap up. But if brainless zombies and kick-ass heroines who know how to handle a firearm are your thing, this is good reading!


Bibliovore said...

This one absolutely blew me away, in spite of the cliffhanger ending. I actually shrieked aloud when I realized that was the last page.

Paul said...

Me, too! As the number of remaining pages dwindled, I kept wondering how it was going to get wrapped up. When I realized that it had actually ended, I kept hoping that there was another chapter after the acknowledgements! :)