Title: Ashfall (Ashfall #1)
Author: Mike Mullin
Publisher: Tanglewood Press 2011
Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: YA
How I Got It: Library Loan
Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the Earth forever.
Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when the supervolcano erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.
Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter.
Wow! I think that was the scariest post-apocalypse novel I have ever read. It has everything you would want: romance, thrills, suspense, joy, mystery. I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I sped through it in only two days. I didn’t think I was going to finish another book for July, but I did. Now I have to revise my monthly wrap-up post. (Such a chore…) Anyway, back to the book. Mullin creates a crazily realistic world after the eruption of a super volcano. I can just imagine the horrors some people would inflict on others just as can imagine the kindness of others (like Elroy and Edna, loved them). It was also a great coming-of-age story. Alex starts the story as a sullen teenager quick to fight with his parents and focus on the trivial. Throughout his journey, every obstacle and accomplishment help him grow into a strong, determined young adult. I loved seeing his changes. Darla is a great foil for Alex. They are so different, and yet find they compliment one another. I can’t wait to read what happens in the sequel, Ashen Winter.
Side note: Mullin lists a few great books on super volcanos in the back. I’ve actually read one of them, Krakatoa. It was an amazingly written account of the legendary eruption gleaned from a variety of sources. I added the other books to my never-ending TBR list.