Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget. (From Goodreads) 
Best Bits: This book was a wild ride. The story is based in fact, there is a supervolcano under Yellowstone. Will it erupt again, yes. Will it erupt during our lifetime...not so much. Mullin crafted the story in a way that made it completely believable that this could happen, and point out how unprepared we really are for a disaster on this scale. This is a disaster novel, and the thing that Mullin does extremely well (which often fails in disaster movies) is build his characters. I think that he could have easily focused more on the horror and devastation of the eruption, but it's really all about the people. He highlights those that stick together, and the depravity of those fighting to survive on their own. There is some violence, but it seems like everything that happened was necessary to further the growth of the characters. 
Nit Picks: My nit pick for this one is the way that the story ends. This section will be rather vague because I can't give away spoilers (seriously, this one is so suspenseful!). I understand that the purpose was to set everything up for the upcoming book, Ashen Winter, but something about the ending didn't quite work for me. I can't help but feel that everything might have been fleshed out a bit more had it been saved for the second book. 
By Mike Mullin
Published by Tanglewood Press
466 Pages
From the Library
Rating: B


Kapri (Book Fanatics) said...

This book looks really intriguing, especially since it's based on fact. I'm glad that the author takes the time to build the characters, because you are right--that could potentially ruin the story.

Jinky said...

It must be hard on authors to balance the right ending to work for both the current book and the sequel.

Thanks for commenting on my blog. --New follower.

Krystianna said...

This one sounds really good. Thanks for the review! I'm going to have to pick it up soon so that I can read the sequel as well.

Book Sake said...

I agree with you on the was just there. However, I cannot wait to start reading the next one!!

- Jessica @ Book Sake

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