Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano, so large that the caldera can only be seen by plane or satellite. And by some scientific measurements, it could be overdue for an eruption.
For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.
Ashfall did crazy and unpredictable things to my brain. I heard nothing but great things about the book before I read it so I expected it to be good, I expected it to be different, I expected it to leave me wanting more. I didn’t expect for my emotions to be out of whack. And I definitely did not expect to be scared. I’m not talking that small fear you feel when your honey sneaks up behind you and yells boo. I’m talking about full blown zombie clown with a chainsaw, running straight for you kind of scared. I will admit, it doesn’t take much to scare me, a little fake blood, a seemingly dead body, some super creepy music, and bam my eyes are covered and I’m humming the happiest tune I can think of. But the level of fear Ashfall made me feel was worse than any zombie-thriller-psycho clown movie. Ashfall is 100% plausible. And that is why it is probably one of the scariest books I have ever read (beside It by Stephen King ugh clowns).
4 or 5 months ago, I was at home enjoying a day off from work by channel surfing and stuffing my face with a jumbo ice-cream sandwich (sad I know). As I was flicking through the channels I heard Samuel L. Jackson’s voice ask me How Will the World End? Naturally when you hear a voice like Samuel L. Jackson’s you stop whatever you were doing and you listen. What I landed on was a program on The Discovery Channel and it only took 5 minutes of the show to have me stuck. Out of all the ways Mr. Jackson spoke of the world ending the only one that stuck with me for all these months was the eruption of a super volcano. An eruption which could very well happen, right underneath the wonder of Yellow Stone National Park. Ashfall was the story of Alex who lives through the very eruption The Discovery Channel was teaching me about.
|Picture depiction of Mt. Vesuvious erupting in 79AD|
Ashfall starts out like any other YA novel, with a bratty teenager and a major attitude problem, but that quickly changes when Alex, learns that the world he has known his entire life has changed to a ash covered, frozen, and violent wasteland. It only take a few pages for the story to throw you around like a rag doll, tossing out any preconceived notions you may have had about Ashfall. From the moment Alex’s ceiling collapses, to the final page of this book I was hooked. It was like the book became the only thing I could think about. There was drama, and action, with a little bit of romance and mystery thrown in to make it a well-rounded story, but it was also so much more than that. I found myself finishing this book and a million questions pooped into my head. Would I be able to kill a person who? Could I survive in an unpredictable wilderness? If something happened right now am I prepared to barricade myself in my house and survive? Would I want to survive such a desolate and violent world? What about my daughter? Where is the line I won’t cross to keep her safe? I know I went off the dramatic deep-end. No I can’t survive in the wilderness (spiders scare me, and there is NO way I will sleep outside). No I am not prepared for a catastrophic even to hit the United States right now. And most importantly there is no line when it comes to my princess. But enough of my craziness.
I seriously don’t have enough fitting good words to make any more paragraphs. 3 days later and my mind is still completely blown from the amount of epic awesomeness contained in this book. I mean think about it. How many YA books have you read that made you think so deeply about your rate of survival? Mullin has made an amazingly realistic and amazing world with this series and I am absolutely giddy to get my hands on the next books in the series. I mean come on! What happens next? His parents! His family! Darla! PIGS!! AGH! I need Ashen Winter NOW!