I’m trying to add a little variety to my reading, but I found yet another desolate book. This time it’s the post-apocalyptic novel Ashes by Ilsa Bick. I didn’t come across much buzz about this book, but somewhere someone mentioned zombies so I had to read it; I’m hooked on AMC’s The Walking Dead. The premise of Ashes: An electromagnetic pulse wipes out all electronic devices, killing billions and turning some, mainly teens, into zombies. Zombies are referred to as the “changed” and those not effected by the EMP are the “spared”. Seventeen year old Alex is hiking in the mountains trying to sort out her personal hardships when this disaster occurs. Right before the EMP swipes the sky, Alex befriends an old man and his eight year old granddaughter, Ellie. Just like Alex, Ellie too has lost her parents. The grandfather is killed by the EMP so Alex feels obligated to take care of Ellie while trying to take care of herself and figure out what just happened. Not only is Alex spared from the catastrophic outcome, but her sense of smell is phenomenal, allowing her to foresee threats. During a gruesome battle against a changed teen, Alex meets a young soldier named Tom, who like her is spared. The three join forces and together the newly created family tries to survive; trying to determine who can be trusted in this post-apocalyptic world while battling the changed and those frantic to survive, who sometimes are scarier and tougher to fight than the changed!
The book is a little slow at times and Bick presumes everyone is familiar with the biblical references she makes, but its twists and turns, tenacious characters and plausible dark storyline never fail to keep you engrossed. The violence and grim plot make it an Older Teen book in our library system. As I mentioned, I didn’t know much about this book other than it had zombies so I wasn't aware it was the first in a trilogy. Imagine my shock and relief when I read the ending! The second book in the trilogy, Shadows, will be out September 25, 2012.