Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Library - 2 Mini YA Dystopian Reviews "Ashes" & "Shadows" by Ilsa J. Bick

Title:  Ashes (Ashes Trilogy 1)
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Genre:  YA Dystopian

Synopsis from Goodreads
It could happen tomorrow . . .
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. 

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.
Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation. 
My Thoughts...
I am not doing mini reviews on these because I didn't like them, quite the opposite actually.  I loved them, but I am going to do a big review on the last book in the series next week and I will post more thoughts about the series as a whole on that post.  Basically I just wanted to give you a quick taste of the series before that review.  

I got this book on my kindle when it first came out and for some reason never read it, but when Egmont approached me to review the last book I jumped on the chance.  I read the first 2 books in just a couple of days but the 3rd book, in addition to being titled Monster, is literally a monster coming in at nearly 820 pages so I am still working my way through that one! 

So the synopsis covers the basic plot of this book pretty well.  This one is told exclusively from Alex's point of view in 3rd person.  Alex is suffering from brain cancer that is basically inoperable.  She has done all the treatment including some very advanced experimental treatments, but she still has the tumor.  She has decided to take some time off and head to the woods to kind of say goodbye to her parents who died some years ago.  She is a few days into her trip when the EMP happens.  She is also with Ellie and her grandfather when it happens.  She and Ellie survive, but Alex suffers some type of episode and she is left changed.  One of her senses, a sense that her tumor took from her has returned and is super enhanced.

They are discovering that the really young and the really old are the survivors.  Then there are the Changed who are mostly teenagers and young adults, but some, like Alex and Tom, are spared and as of yet they have no idea why.  The changed are very like what we think of as zombies.  She and Ellie are trecking it and fighting off "the Changed" when they meet Tom and now they are three.  They go through some pretty rough times, but they kind of become a little family.  Ellie is your typical 8 year old and she gives them grief pretty much most of the time.

There is a just a touch of a love story here, but for the most part it's just pretty intense action and horror.  This is YA so it's not super gory, but as the story progresses it does tend to get more intense.  There are some kind of older teenage themes and language.  I would probably recommend it for 15+ age group.

Title:  Shadows (Ashes Trilogy 2 )
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Genre:  YA Dystopian

Synopsis from Goodreads

The Apocalypse does not end. The Changed will grow in numbers. The Spared may not survive.

Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was gone, she believed Rule could be a sanctuary for her and those she’d come to love.
But she was wrong.

Now Alex is in the fight of her life against the adults, who would use her, the survivors, who don’t trust her, and the Changed, who would eat her alive. 

Welcome to Shadows, the second book in the haunting apocalyptic Ashes Trilogy: where no one is safe and humans may be the worst of the monsters.
My Thoughts...
This second book of the trilogy things just get worse for Alex and all the spared.  Where the last book was told from Alex's POV, in this one we get it a look from pretty much all directions.  The main narrators in this one are Alex, Tom and Chris with a few others thrown in.  I actually liked the first book better for this reason.  Also, the first book was told in a continuous flow with no over-laps in time.  This one has sections where there are overlaps because there are different POV being told, so while we are with Tom for 2 weeks and we have no idea what's going on with someone else, she has to catch up with that later and at times it's confusing.  Not so much so that I didn't enjoy the story though!

The Changed are starting to change and so is Alex.  She knows now that the reason she didn't become one of the Changed is likely because of her tumor.  She is also learning that even the ones she thought could help her can't be trusted.  Really she is all on her own once again and this time she is in the fight of her life.  

There isn't much more I can say without giving too much away.  If you like YA Dystopian and you don't mind intense action scenes with some nice gore mixed in then you are probably going to like this series.  Even if you aren't a YA fan and you like horror, zombies, etc...then you should give this series a try.  I am enjoying it quite a bit.

I will be posting my review for the 3rd book this coming Monday and I will be doing a giveaway for all 3 books in the series so if you are interested in reading this series be sure to check out that post!

*Disclaimer:  I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

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