Friday, August 24, 2012

Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

It's been almost a year since the Yellowstone Super Volcano erupted and Alex Halprin journeyed across a snow and ash covered battlefield to Illinois.  A couple months after he arrived at his aunt and uncle's house, they receive news about the whereabouts of Alex's parents.  Alex and his girlfriend, Darla, decide to travel back into Iowa to find his parents and bring them home to safety.  However, shortly into their rescue mission, Darla and Alex are separated.  He is left making this treacherous expedition on his own and is tasked with making two rescue missions, saving some unexpected guests, and evading gangs, cannibals, and death.

Ashen Winter was a pretty decent book, but I think the first book in the trilogy, Ashfall, was better.  This book got a little dry at certain points, and it was just a long read.  Also, this book goes more into the "darker" effects that the eruption had on people, such as gang violence, prostitution, corruption of the government, etc.  Mike Mullin added in new characters, which I liked (Ben is my favorite), and he really showed the changes in the characters from pre-eruption to post-eruption. These changes are seen in the main characters as well as characters that only appear for a page or two. I liked how all throughout the book you can see Alex's mental struggle to decide what is moral and what isn't. A lot of people in his life think that because of this new world, all the rules are different. Alex doesn't believe that, but he struggles with it sometimes, and that makes him more relatable.  I would recommend this book to anyone you likes dystopian and apocalyptic action books.

I don't remember what the recommended age is for this book, but I feel at should at least be 14+.  There are several occurrences with graphic violence, and because there is prostitution of young girls within the gangs and military, there are some graphic descriptions related to that, as well as derogatory language.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana United States of America