[ Free eBook ] Ashen Winter (Ashfall, #2) Author Mike Mullin – Sharkmotorcyclehelmets.co.uk

10 thoughts on “Ashen Winter (Ashfall, #2)

  1. says:

    second reading review is now included after this adorable picture of me WHO WOULD LIKE TO BE JEALOUS OF ME first of all, i have this ARC.5 months before the book comes out, right but what if i told you i have already read it because mike mullin let me read it in manuscript form and give him feedback way back in december and it was great but now i have to read this ARC because i was promised a character was named after me in the revisions but i am told i do not come to a good end thanks a lot, mike mullin also so, yeah go ahead and be jealous full review after i read this ARC and see all the changes but i bet it is still going to be awesome.because SUPERVOLCANO, Y ALL so i reread this book on the plane into anaheim, and it was one of the best plane rides i have ever experienced this is so much better in its edited form not that there was anything wrong with the MS it was excellent, but this is so much tighter and tougher and just brilliant every bit as good as the first one plus, this one has meeee well, not me me, but a karen character that was put in for me p 421 squeeee , and i am thanked in the acknowledgments no one ever thanks me, even though i am so delightful so, i return the favor thank you, mike mullin for writing so convincingly about snow and cold as we are in the middle of a heat wave, and i swear your words made it easier.and thank you just for writing another kick ass book.the characters are great i love darla and alex even though darla gets a little yelly at alex sometimes, and even though alex occasionally is a bit too good for his circumstances, i root for them with pleasure.darla is one of the best characters to ever have been saddled with a frivolous sounding name time and again she surpasses alex with her skill set, and is an excellent older woman match for him, romantically Why do you suppose so many houses are burned I asked Probably people took shelter in them and lit fires in places they shouldn t have, she replied You build a wood fire in a house that s only designed for a gas log, you ll burn the house down quick like of course you will but it s so cool that a teenage girl knows so much practical shit, and is put in the position where she can educate her man, unlike so many other books where it is the lady who is all tell me about the gas logs, you big strong man so for them to become separated is a big deal for alex who has his own store of abilities,for sure, but her knowledge is just so much deeper and practical.it is even dangerous alone.and so frustrating for the reader mike mullin does all the right things in playing to his audience and setting himself apart from a lot of the teen fare out there he subverts the expected gender roles he elevates the character of the librarian he doesn t talk down to his readers he includes a ton of factual information about medical matters and scary nature he doesn t spend a whole lot of time talking about how attractive his teen characters are these are regular kids, living in irregular times they don t smell great or look clean and resplendent they are cold and tough and they are going to survive, yo and their skills are not preternatural.darla isn t some kind of savant, she has a great deal of survival information because she grew up on a farm, is smart, and flipped through a couple of boy scout books and other survival materials while holed up on the farm she doesn t seem contrived obviously a girl like her would survive.alex is trained in martial arts and is resourceful and not usually impulsive these are great character traits to have in the aftermath.the action is gripping, the new secondary characters are refreshing, and you re probably going to learn a lot about guns.it is all all all good.i will probably revisit this review again after it is published, so i can be a little free with the plot, but just know that mike mullin has done it again, and i cannot wait for the third volume it s gonna be epiccome to my blog

  2. says:

    3.5 starsThe super volcano has erupted and we are six months later It feels like so much has happened that it can t be just that short of a period Survival is hell, folks The ashen winter has set in and it s never frigging ever warm Smart reading when it s cold as hell outside Alex and Darla are going looking for Alex s parents So they saddle up Bikezilla and head off into that frigging cold world Yes, I don t like cold so that part stands out in my head Then the book starts running like a tweeked out meth head So much is going on These kids can not win I think they are going to get ahead and nope Something or someone smacks them back down They take on the cold, no food, bullet wounds, and a bunch of people eating gangs One thing I didn t care for in the book was the cliffhanger type ending of every chapter I mean every single chapter I felt like I was back in the day and watching Knot s Landing.My copy of the book was a library copy that had a sticker in it Stating the book was a fourth grade level reading book This is some strong stuff for most fourth graders It gets pretty violent and well there is some people eating going on I don t censor though so if a fourth grader wants to read it..so be it.This book does make you appreciate the life that we have, and food The frigging food situation makes you go into your kitchen and do this.

  3. says:

    Ashfall one of my favourite books of all time could not have had a better sequel in Ashen Winter Picking up 6 months after Ashfall s ending, we are thrown into a deep desolation the dark, cold aftermath of a Supervolcano eruption.Alex and Darla, the fabulous couple who met in Ashfall are leaving the routine and relative safety of the farm to go find Alex s parents What we have here, friends, is a non stop and I mean, zero freaking breaks action packed thrill ride that will leave you so exhausted with excitement that you might literally just find yourself breathless Every single page of this novel is filled with intense suspense Not the type of suspense that leaves characters as little than words on a page, this series is suspenseful and will make your heart literally backflip because of its characters You care about them, you want them to live and find their loved ones Darla and Alex are the perfect team who are both amazingly competent and determined Their strength makes me feel incompetent The emotional investment in these people is so poignant that I found myself mimicking their state of minds Their pain was my pain, their fatigue was my own I honestly felt their unrelenting weariness from being thrown into their shoes while reading this novel A Supervolcano eruption is no unrealistic event Sure, if it even erupts at all, it probably wouldn t happen for decades or maybe it will Ultimately, mother nature does as she pleases The aftermath of such a disaster that has been created in this book and it s predecessor is unlike anything I ve ever read Sure we have dystopians and zombie novels, but nothing makes a story compelling than one that could happen at any moment One that makes you truly fear the possibility of this world invading our reality Mullin doesn t sugar coat it either It s gory, it s raw, it s violent to no end it made me squirm and grimace Ashen Winter is not for the faint of heart Blood will be the least of your worries It s the end of the world, ladies and gentleman, get ready for it What this unhindered reality gives us is an in depth, realistic look into humanity Some people, after a disaster to such degree, after having seen their friends and families die without being able to do a thing about it, after living with a hunger so deep that it affects your mind, will become nothing than savages Cannibals It definitely makes you think on what people will do to survive In a world where everyone is struggling to see the next day, the worst side of human kind will show its face And it s not pretty, people It sickens me, and the worst part I completely believe it This series is one you simply Can Not Miss It s completely, unbelievable fantastic Even the author s notes left me a little unsettled The only thing missing, is a number for a much needed psychologist Bravo, Mike Mullin, you are a genius at life An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.For of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads

  4. says:

    Let me tell you guys, if a supervolcano ever erupts and world as we know it comes to an end, I want Darla by my side 24 7 That said, I postponed writing this review for as long as I could because it was hard to pin down exactly why Ashen Winter didn t work for me as well as Ashfall did It s still hard, but I think I have some idea, at least With Ashfall, Mullin set pretty high standards for the rest of the series, and although he met them with Ashen Winter, he failed to bring anything new into it To me, Ashen Winter didn t feel like a new book, but rather an extension of its predecessor It became just an endless string of action scenes and they all blended into one This lack of oscillations in the pacing bothered me in the first book as well, although the problem wasn t quite as pronounced In addition, I expected this one to be just a bit emotional In Ashfall, Alex was still learning to be something other than a protected and pampered boy He was brave, but he still thought like a teenager, for the most part By the end of book one, and especially in Ashen Winter, everything he went through gave him a level of maturity one doesn t usually see in sixteen year old boys Because of that maturity, I expected a better emotional connection between me and Alex, but unfortunately, I didn t get it Alex is very serious by nature and, truth be told, he had very little to laugh about in Ashen Winter which made his occasional humorous remarks all the entertaining Mullin used this wisely to break the tension in all the right places and make the book a bit lighter where it would otherwise have been too horrible to handle The men didn t help at all just kept playing cards That seemed awfully sexist to me, but I guessed they weren t the enlightened kind of canibals I m not sure whether Mike Mullin always intended for Alex and Darla to have this steady, mature relationship or he s just very good at listening to his readers, but reading about these two, their relationship dynamics and their appreciation for each other, is a rare and true pleasure Alex often says that he already feels married to Darla, which would sound positively ridiculous coming from any other teenage boy, but his overall maturity allows for such statements They both carry around so much responsibility it s only natural that it reflects on their love life as well The third book already has a title Sunrise, and should be released in 2013 I love that title, it gives me great hope for Alex and Darla s future.

  5. says:

    That was exhausting I am tired, annoyed, frustrated, and hugely disappointed Writing a review for this one is gonna hurt My problems with this second installment of Mike Mullin s Ashfall series are many I m afraid to say, and too big to ignore I really like this guy, and I wanted this novel to be great in the shadow of its awesome predecessor Not Even Close Without any spoilers for Ashfall or Ashen Winter, here is some of what s caused my sadness and frustration Anyone who knows me even a little, knows I m a Stephen King fangirl I love the man, okay Not in a creepy Annie Wilkes I want to chain him to a bed as my pet sort of love, but his books are like meth to me I m hooked I gotta have em But that doesn t mean I can t put my critics hat on when need be too I don t slaver and drool over everything the man writes And contrary to popular critical opinion, I have no interest in reading the man s grocery list Which brings me to one of my recent King disappointments it does happen Under the Dome for me was good, but far from great And here s why I bring it up now because it s the same effing problem I have with Ashen Winter Under the Dome starts with a bangand maintains its narrative momentum throughout It hurtles along at an almost break neck speed, but for a book that s over a 1000 pages, such a pace begins to wear in places It becomes an at times uncomfortable frenetic pattern of and then this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened Ditto Ashen Winter It too starts with a bang and hurtles along at lightening speed for in my opinion a bloated 600 pages The action sequences are too many to count, and exhaustively and excruciatingly described As with Mira Grant s book Feed, I fear Mike Mullin has fallen in love with his research and wants to include every single thing he has learned What s worse, no detail is too small In my review for Feed I write that I respect any author who goes the extra mile to do the research and get the details right but sweet holy Moses, there is no need to put EVERYTHING YOU VE EVER LEARNED into the story I didn t think it would be possible, but that s even doubly true here Another thing that annoyed me and took me out of the story too many times to count are the cliffhangers which come at the end of almost Every Single Chapter It s cheesy It made me feel like I was reading a middle school chapter book or a choose your own adventure type deal for the kiddies This is such a sharp departure from Ashfall I really don t know what to make of it Ashen Winter may feature cannibals and sex slaves but it still felt ultimately childish to me Now I am woman enough to admit this could be my fault than the book s fault I am NOT a fan of action movies I barely if ever go to the movies over the summer because the gigantic, exploding, frantic, mostly special effects all style no substance blockbusters just don t do it for me I m likely to walk out with a headache and a scowl on my face, than jittering with excitement and awe That s what happened here with this book Mullin can write action, no doubt of that, but there s just TOO MUCH action and not enough dialogue or genuine suspense Suspense ONLY works if it is paired with tension and release Nobody understood that better than Hitchcock If it s ALL release a go, go, go, fast and furious approach then you really miss the tension, that vital inexorable build that is so critical to creating suspense Okay, last criticism Because this book is chock full of action, Alex and Darla Alex especially this time are running around behaving like movie action superheroes jumping, leaping, dodging bullets, getting shot, breaking in, breaking out at one point hanging on to the bottom of a MOVING TRUCK Robert DeNiro style la Cape Fear Really C mon As each disaster and run of bad luck kept piling up fodder for the chapter cliffhangers , I began to think it should have been subtitled a series of unfortunate events In my review for A Breath of Snow and Ashes I write how many times can any handful of people escape from prison, mob scenes, near death, kidnappings, etc, etc I can suspend disbelief with the best of them, trust me, but even this was too much for me I m afraid Okay, so that s the ugly truth of the bad news The good news Mullin is a very talented writer, and despite my disappointment here, I will continue to seek out his books The other good news While I m not recommending Ashen Winter, I will continue to highly recommend Ashfall it is awesome, and succeeds in every way where its sequel does not.

  6. says:

    I don t hand out five stars very easily any Years ago, I wasn t as picky, but now it s rare to never that I find a book worthy of the 5 STAR label It s speciallike me Ashen Winter is one of those few books that is so freakin awesome it actually deserves the whole five Have you read Ashfall, yet If not, stop reading this review and go get it Now Are you seriously still sitting there Move your ass Go, go If you re still reading this, I m going to assume that you ve already read Mike Mullin s stunning debut novel Or possibly you re just being stubborn.At any rate, the first book was so good that I almost didn t want to taint it s goodness with Second Book Syndrome You know, 1st book rocks, but the 2nd one sucks We ve all been down that disappointing road, right Fortunately, a friend of mine s kid forced me into action That s right, a kid made me read it Here s what happened A month or so ago my friend s son comes over and asks me, Miss Anne, have you read anything lately you think I d like I mull it over for a second, and it occurs to me that Ashfall is one of the best books I ve read YA or otherwise in the past year So I say, Logan, go get Ashfall Now Move your ass Go, go And then, because he s not my kid, I don t think about it any.Fast forward two weeks, and he shows up uninvited at my doorstep Naturally, I assume the little bastard is sniffing around for baked goods, cause not only am I kind and caring, but I can rock some chocolate chip cookies Anne s Free Tip of the Day Never let the kids in the neighborhood know you can cook Those little fuckers are harder to get rid of than stray cats And due to some bleeding heart liberals, it s apparently illegal to take pot shots at children Go figure Then again, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is aroundSo was he looking for food Well, yes But he also told me that he loved Ashfall so much that he already read the second book.Only it sounded like this OhMyGodMissAnneAshfallwasBEAST Thesecondoneisevenbetteryougottareadit Lucky for me, I have kids of my own, so I was able to translate Also lucky for me, he had it with him, and offered to let me read it Or maybe I hit him over the head with my cookie tray and snatched the book Mwahahahahahaha Sometimes I black out.Anyway, was he right Is Ashen Winter even better than Ashfall Unbelievably, it is In the first book, a supervolcano in Yellowstone goes ka boom, and the end results are freezing temperatures, a technological return to the Dark Ages, and as an added bonus groups of marauding cannibals Yes, evidently if when bad people get hungry, they ll eat anyone It s total chaos, and without any real form of government, it s each man or woman for themselves.Alex was just an ordinary teenager until the ash started falling Now he s a veteran survivor who s only goal is to find his parents The end of the last book was so bittersweet He and Darla finally made it to his uncle s house, only to discover that his mom and dad were out there somewhere searching for him He agreed to stay put and help his uncle in the hopes that his parents would return.Ashen Winter opens with Alex and Darla finding a clue to the whereabouts of his parents They leave the relative safety of his uncle s farm on a rescue mission, and, of course, things quickly take a turn for the worse Ok, Darla is undeniably my favorite character To say the least, she s got mad skills when it comes to surviving an apocalypse Is there anything this chick can t do No No there is not She s the perfect counterbalance for Alex s soft hearted nature And after reading this, I will never underestimate an injured girl with a screwdriver.That s not to say that I don t love Alex He is such a good guy A reallyreallyreally good guy Unfortunately, in this kind of world, you just know his decent nature is going to cost him eventually And it does He makes a choice to help some people, and because he doeswell, you know what they say about good deeds going unpunished.What happened, you ask Oh My God Nooooooooooo MikeMullinyoubetterbekiddingwiththisshit Suddenly it s a race against time toAnyhoo, Ashen Winter is an amazing ride from start to finish I m not doing this book justice with my crappy reviewing skills, but you re just going to have to trust me Also, this is mature YA, so don t go out and get it for your favorite 10 year old nephew There are lots of adult situations that include off the page rape, and fade to black sex scenes Oh, and ten dollars says that by the time you get done with these, your new favorite hobby will be planning which annoying neighbor to eat first

  7. says:

    The ARC of this book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I started reading Ashfall before going to bed That was a BIG mistake I ended up being up all night reading And, not satisfied with looking at the sun coming up while tired as hell, I just couldn t stop So, I picked up Ashen Winter and began reading it that morning WITHOUT ANY SLEEP Yes, I m crazy Nothing new here, so let s move on I read the two books in a row and was done close to 1pm Let s just say I slept until the next day, after I was done thinking about both books.Although, I did quite enjoy Ashfall, Ashen Winter is a better book That s ok After all, on a first post apocalyptic book you have to spend time with the world building and explaining all about the natural disaster On a sequel you can focus on the ACTION and putting your characters through a lot of crazier shit Plus, you re already invested in the characters You KNOW them and you care a lot about what happens to them They re like friends You worry about them, you cheer them on, and sometimes you want to slap the shit out of them You know, the usual I grew to really like Alex He s a great hero He s courageous, softhearted, loyal, can kick your ass with Taekwondo, and sometimes a little stupid When I say stupid, I don t mean that in the usual YA literature way, the I m only capable of thinking of the hotness of my love interest and nothing else No, I mean the best kind of stupid, like I ll put my life and limb at risk to save someone I don t even know in the middle on an Apocalypse, because I m just too good a person Alex s good heart is one of his best qualities and one of his worst I wanted to smack him a couple of times, but I completely understood where he was coming from I m just not that noble But I rather my heroes be noble, than hardhearted Isn t that what makes a hero, a hero Being nobler than his circumstances would usually allow I have no problem reading about people that are way better than me I actually prefer to.Meet Darla Yes, things just explode around her because of the power of her awesomeness Darla What can I say about Darla I know I LOVE THE SHIT OUT OF HER I can t put how much into words, so this will have to serve as a representation of how much I like her Mike Mullin did something original here Something that I wish male authors would do, but especially female authors He inverted the usual gender roles Darla is not a simpering, helpless female who needs her man to save her OH NOES We usually have the Alpha male saving and teaching the useless female lead NOT HERE, NO SIR Darla is THE BRAINS OF THIS OPERATION ALEX himself admits this She saves his life quite often and besides that she is the one full of life saving useful information She s also older than him, though not by much She s the one with an amazing mechanical ability She can build things, machines that make their life easier She was a farmer and is fucking strong At one point in the book someone asks them who is the stronger physically, and Alex doesn t hesitate to say it s Darla Darla, herself thinks Alex is stronger, but throughout both books it s shown that Alex is probably right She is also mentally strong She loses her mom in a horrible way in the first book, but after a day of being a little out of it, she keeps going Keeps saving Alex s ass ALEX WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO STAY ALIVE IN THIS POST APOCALYPTIC WORLD WITHOUT HER HELP Sure, he saves her life sometimes too, and he is pretty kick ass with taekwondo and all, but if I had to chose between the two of them for a partner during an apocalypse, I d chose Darla No doubt about it That brings me to my ONLY complaint about this book I NEEDED MORE DARLA IN IT Mild spoiler ahead view spoiler They get separated in this book, and she is not on the page as much as in the first one She was sorely missed by me I kept reading because I wanted her back Alex shares my feelings and spends most of the book going after her AS HE SHOULD, since it was pretty much his fault, his noble stupidity that caused her to be lost hide spoiler

  8. says:

    Buddy read with Amy, Melissa, and Sarah 4 4.5 starsNot quite as good as the first one but still immensely enjoyable and compulsively readable god I sound like one of those starred reviews from Kirkus or Booklist or whoever Anyway, don t be discouraged by the size of these books The chapters are short and damn near every time they end with a cliffhanger of some kind so you HAVE to keep going That s one of the things I love about Mullin s writing As with the first one, this felt very realistic I liked the addition of Alyssa and Ben in particular Alyssa took a LONG time for me to appreciate her I still like Darla much better and Ben is fascinating Unfortunately, Alex s parents weren t my favorite people I could understand their worries, because this is their kid, but he s survived on his own for nearly a year Give the boy some credit And then to be discounting his relationship with Darla was just bullshit So excited to read book 3

  9. says:

    I m so far behind in reviewing books I ve read This might not sound like the end of the world, but it s the only way that I have a chance to remember what I ve read and what I thought of for at least some of the books I ve read a year or two down the road For example, today someone voted on a review of mine and the name of the book didn t even ring any bells Even after seeing the cover of the book and reading the review I didn t remember having read it It sounded like a fairly interesting book though, and if I hadn t apparently read the book I might consider reading it What would I do without my internet out sourced memory to keep things straight In an effort to save my past for myself I ve got to get my ass in gear Welcome to one of my reviews, where I talk to myself a lot and say things that aren t very relevant to the book or anyone else The great thing about an intro to a review like this is that I can put off for a few minutes what book I m going to say I m reviewing No, I m fucking with you, I know exactly what book I m going to write about, and nothing that I ve said so far has any relevance to it Of course, you, the reader, know right now what book I m reviewing while what I m intending to review could be different from what you are reading right now I m very envious of your knowledge I could have been lying about knowing what I m going to do here No I m not Review time Seriously.This is the sequel to a very enjoyable book about a super voclano erupting and sending a large portion of America into a catastrophic winter I hate to say it, but this wasn t as good as the first novel in the series But, my opinion might be different from yours I really like the premise of the series, and I like the characters and the survival element is top notch I even like the TKD although the main character s skills have seemed to branch out a bit from traditional TKD in this book to incorporate some Judo and BJJ, it s good to see a fighter developing into a well rounded Mixed Martial Artist I especially loved the autistic character He was amazing What I would have liked was a character driven instead of action and plot driven story which seems to be a strange request to make for a dystopian action novel, but I can still kvetch about things As I ve said in some other reviews which I m sure you already know because everyone reads each and every review I write and takes copious notes to use against me in threads that I m not even involved in, in order to follow my future reviews that make call backs to older reviews, and so they can be possibly be the proud winner of the inevitable contest over who gets to be the editor of my collected and annotated reviews , my eyes tend to glass over when there is too much action going on I just stop following what is happening I try my hardest to keep being an attentive reader but instead I start to skim I can t help it, I just don t get into action heavy writing There are chuncks of this book that move non stop from one action sequence to another, and there were some spots where I wanted to yell, please stop not literally, but this is the sort of thing where I could say literally if I were the type of person who literally says literally everytime that something isn t literally happening , and fortunately for me, maybe not for you, maybe you love action sequences they would abate and some fairly interesting plot and character development would jump in Then I would be happy with the book again, and overall I ended up being quite happy with the book Maybe you will be, too.This might be the best sequel you read this year that has a fairly high amount of cannibalism going on in it P.S Thank you so so so so so so so much to the publisher and author of this book for helping me achieve my dream of attending BEA and scoring bags and bags of free books including this one I know you were helping out Karen and probably don t know who I am, but thank you anyway This could have been a review for some book on the effects the internet has on memory or something Not that I would probably actually read a book like that but still the introduction could possibly have some relevance to some review One maybe you, definetly me could pose the question, how many times are you going to try to get away with this nonsense Just write your fucking review already.

  10. says:

    First, I d like to apologise for cussing out Mr Mullin s name for the first third of the book I told myself it was only a book but it got to me Action, terror and death almost from the very first page I was on edge, longing to shout at Alex to shut up and listen to his woman I decided to go without sleep at about 33%, sleep is for the weak anyway I needed closure and I needed it NOW I saw some of those bad things coming, they were inevitable ButbutI got scared Alex Darla formidable team, so when they got separated, in a most terrifying mannerMUST READ NOW Alex arrived at his uncle s farm in October, it s now April and they re experiencing a perpetual winter No effort has been made to rebuild infrastructure or establish order The US still appears to be in political turmoil and rumours abound Finding Alex s parents and rescuing Darla has us re tracing their path from Ashfall passing through another FEMA camp and reuniting with old friends like the fearless old librarian Rita Mae from Worthington great woman and old enemies like Black Lake and Colonel Levitov Without children we don t have a future Without freedom, Rita Mae yelled back, why would we want a future When I thought over Alex s actions leading to his separation from Darla and everything up to that point I realised he wasn t just an overly generous softie and arguably stupid which he freely admits I m too stupid to live I should have never dragged Darla back out here, not for anything The negative adrenaline pumping and usually deadly consequences could have unexpected silver linings He gains allies, information and supplies as well as lessons in future dangers by observing other towns and meeting new people Like I previously mentioned in my Ashfall review there s a delicate balance of luck and karma If the characters are praying for something good to happen there may be a miracle but there will always be payment Nothing is free.However, I could only hold my breath in desperation and fear for these characters, whilst they were apart, for so long I couldn t maintain that level of anxiety and slowly I became detached and less interested in what was happening And so I turned to skimming Darla was sorely missed although I completely understand how her absence played so well into the plot and the original mission to find, and if alive, bring home Alex s parents, as well as the subplot involving missing and presumed kidnapped, girls The way everything just slots into place gives the illusion of mild predictability when really it s a natural progression of events.I love Darlex Hehe, that s so Dr Who but much better than Peniss having built a strong relationship in the first book ETA Emeli Sande s Next to Me describes it perfectly , have it tested and re affirmed thankfully in this one Absence made the heart grow fonder despite my worry to the contrary If we re going to die anyway, I want to die with you And if we live, I want to live with you I sincerely hope they manage to achieve their dreams of one day marrying and having children when life becomes stable and prosperous But on a sidenote those childbirth death certificates were heartbreaking.I have a new favourite character Ben Ben suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder with social and communication problems, is incredibly intelligent and is an expert in all things military He s a huge asset One time he corrects his hostage takers on their strategy, advising them on how to tighten up their formation Jaw droppingly hilarious I sympathised with Alyssa, Ben s carer and sister unit , and her attachment to Alex Oh, that was sad I was both shocked and as uncomfortable as Alex when she enacted her strategy with the gang That took courage She was stronger than she knew.I ve got to give the author props for his increasingly sickening and gory yet realistic portrayals of the fight for survival Ripping away childhoods and replacing them with the cold, dark and horrifying reality Showing how any decent and honest person can become an unrecognisable monster Alex s father may have been on that slippery slope when he does something that requires the suspension of compassion i.e torture view spoiler I m glad that Alex s father finally came to understand Darla s importance after witnessing the changes in his son his new strength and maturity Responsibility s a cruel bitch She comes for you whether you want it or not His sacrifice was heroic Both he and Alex s mother had big brass balls playing chicken lighting up that propane tank hide spoiler

It S Been Over Six Months Since The Eruption Of The Yellowstone Supervolcano Alex And Darla Have Been Staying With Alex S Relatives, Trying To Cope With The New Reality Of The Primitive World So Vividly Portrayed In Ashfall, The First Book In This Series It S Also Been Six Months Of Waiting For Alex S Parents To Return From Iowa Alex And Darla Decide They Can Wait No Longer And Must Retrace Their Journey Into Iowa To Find And Bring Back Alex S Parents To The Tenuous Safety Of Illinois But The Landscape They Cross Is Even Perilous Than Before, With Life And Death Battles For Food And Power Between The Remaining Communities When The Unthinkable Happens, Alex Must Find New Reserves Of Strength And Determination To Survive