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Ashes (Ashes Trilogy #1)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  16,493 ratings  ·  2,370 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Alex is hiking through the wilderness when it happens: an earth-shattering electro-magnetic pulse that destroys almost everything. Survivors are divided between those who have developed a superhuman sense and those who have acquired a taste for human flesh. These flesh-hunters stalk the land: hungry, ruthless and increasingly clever. Alex meets up with T ...more
Kindle Edition, 480 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by EgmontUSA (first published January 1st 2011)
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Kelsey Michigan, the forests around Lake Superior. And I'm pretty sure Wisconsin is in the first book, if not then its in the second :)
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Community Reviews

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Wendy Darling
It all starts with a cataclysmic electromagnetic impulse. Dead birds fall from the sky. Deer run off a cliff, maddened for unknown reasons. And people drop dead instantaneously and inexplicably--or they are miraculously, irrevocably changed, some for the better, and some for the worse.

The first half of this book is a phenomenal. 17-year-old Alex is transformed by the big event in ways that she can't understand. She is saddled with an angry 8-year-old and an attractive ex-Army guy who's hiding se
yeah, i loved it. i mean, wilderness survival and zombie survival? it's like this author knows all about me. i was so eager to get this, i even read her other book, draw the dark, while i waited.but this one was so much better.

i have been excited for this book for a while now, even though i read so many reviews on here about how the second half of the book is such a letdown. fortunately, by the time i actually got my hands on a copy of the book, i had forgotten specific complaints, and only reme
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
I hate having to review this book. I've spent the last 24 hours thinking about it, trying to figure out a way to point out the good and the bad, instead of just listing all the things that annoyed me. Here’s my conclusion: the only remotely fair thing to do is to write two separate reviews: one of the first and one of the second half of the book.

First half: ***** (five stars)
The first half of Ashes was one of the best things I’ve read recently, and that’s saying a lot! It was amazingly well wri
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Everything was going so well..

...relatively speaking. Things were going as well as can be expected when a series of massive electromagnetic pulses has sent the world hurtling into a nuclear maelstrom. People have dropped dead on the spot. Birds have fallen from the sky. Deer have flung themselves off cliffs. And some people have turned completely, cannibalistically feral.

So when I say things were going well, I mean that Bick was spinning a very compelling story.

Seventeen year old Alex is hiking
Oct 04, 2012 Carol. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die hard zombie fans
Recommended to Carol. by: Trudi
Unfortunately, while Ashes was an interesting book--it did manage the triptych of the apocalypse (wilderness survival, cross-country travel-survival, and dealing-with-deviants survival)--it was troubled by plotting, narrative jumps and character consistency. I'd call it a three-star read--good enough to survive a little longer, but it could go either way next season. Call it the 'Carol' character of The Walking Dead. Might get more interesting, but just as likely to get killed.

Our protagonist is

I read ASHES by Ilsa Bick a year ago- when I was on this "YA post-apocalyptic" rollllllll. I couldn't get enough of them!

Noooow not that I am trying to ruffle any feathers, but after reading some reviews of ASHES, I kind of had to chuckle. Quite a few people gave it low marks for various things being "unbelievable". I don't have that opinion. In fact I rarely have that opinion when reading fiction...because it is after all...fiction- this is horror YA to boot. Maybe I should be more judgment
Imagine two fish swimming around in a big fish tank. There's a castle and a little treasure chest that opens up to send bubbles shooting up in the water. One fish is bright blue and the other is neon orange. They're about the same size and they definitely look like they'd swim around together in the ocean if left to their devices. Now imagine the very strange owner hacking the two fish in half and stitching the top of the blue fish to the lower half of the orange fish with crude Frankenstein-esq ...more
Sep 24, 2012 Anagha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who can deal with GORE and a whole lotta ACTION!
Shelves: hhs-book-club
Review also posted on my visitable blog!

A fast-paced, riveting read.

“It was that stages-of-anger thing. I was shocked and then I got pissed and then I fought like hell … and then I went numb. They called it acceptance, but it wasn’t. It’s what happens when you have only two choices: live with the monster, or kill yourself.”

Alex thought the shrink was full of shit. Her parents were dead.
She knew that. The dream was all about her life jumping the rails,
blowing up in her face, leaving her with noth
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

‘Ashes’ is the story of Alex, a 17 year old girl with an inoperable brain tumor who leaves home by herself to go on a camping trip. While out in the wilderness, an event occurs that prevents the use of her electronic devices; she later discovers that an EMP had gone off and had not only shut down all electronic devices but killed billions. She begins caring for 8 year old Ellie as her grandfather was one of the first people killed by the EMP. Alex begins noticing that sh
A dog a man's best friend and in this case a girls, Alex the main protagonist in this story.
A story set in the backdrop of a desolate land forsaken with an ever growing amount of people, particularly young, transforming into Zombies. Alex tries to come to terms with her fate set before her. She has a sense of smell which is far more greater than the average persons capabilities, she can sniff out the Zombies, the dogs she encounters in this story seem to sense that too. She is 15 and an orphan
I don’t read too many of these survival-y books anymore, especially when they’re of the young adult variety. I tend to get bored and zone out when confronted with pages and pages of endless action, but I’m in a book club now and I’m trying to be good. I felt especially obligated to read this one because I already skipped the one from last month. Even though this book is very decidedly an ACTION, gore, survival, DRAMA read, I’m glad I tried it.

The best part of this book for me was that it was na
Jake Rideout
This book was completely not what I was expecting. Although, rereading the back, I'm not sure why I was so surprised. The back cover reads:

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human...

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom--a young army veteran--and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the e
When I first saw Ilsa's new book in a Publisher's Weekly article highlighting look-out YA books at BEA this year, I emailed her immediately and started hunting for her publicist's information to get a copy. I loved, loved, LOVED Draw the Dark so much that Ilsa could have written PUDDING!!! in blue crayon for 180 pages and I still would have wanted to read it. Guys, I don't love books like this very often but DRAW? OMFG love. So I saw a chance to jump at ASHES and I took it.

After some back and fo
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
2.5 stars out of 5

The story:

Alex, has a brain tumor. She does not want any more treatments, is tired of hospitals, treatments, and false hope. So, when you are questioning your own survival, what do you do? You go on a “survival” trip! Ok. We straight here? Good.

So, Alex is in the woods. She is just minding her own business, being the withdrawn, moody teenager, when she meets 8 year old Ellie and Ellie’s grandfather. We don’t need to go into the details of Ellie but let’s just nickname her “supe
"Ashes" is a uniquely-set example of zombie dystopia that manages to keep the reader on her or his toes with a lot of action, a compassionate, brave and stong heroine, a cute-kid-sidekick, who repeatedly puts a strained smile on the worried reader's face, a loyal dog and a likable, but difficult-to-grasp kind-of-love-interest (Forget what the book-flap says. Don't expect a romance novel, please.):

After two years of chemo and nano-pebbles and other ineffective treatments seventeen-years-old orpha
Aug 17, 2011 Anna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: post-apocalyptic YA fans
The beginning of this book sucked me in immediately with a very different sort of beginning compared to the average YA novel. Bick seems to create a well fleshed out character in Alex effortlessly. She is vulnerable for reasons I don't want to spoil, yet capable and independent. Like Alex, Tom quickly comes across as a real person, a genuinely good, real person. And Ellie. Ellie is a kid with issues. (I actually pictured Chloe Moretz as Hit-Girl from the movie Kickass--attitude, not violence--wh ...more
Matt Mead Teen Programming Specialist
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of Ilsa Bick's fantastic new book Ashes, which is scheduled for publication in September.

I enjoyed Draw the Dark, but this book totally blew me away. I'm almost sad that I got it as an ARC since now I'll have to wait longer for the sequel than I would have had to wait if I had picked up this book in September. The plot is original and well paced. There are structural similarities to the Hunger Games and Dashner's The Maze Runner that give this book a
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen another YA apocolypse zombie/changed but this one gripped me and it held my interest! I want to know more after finishing but....a few reasons why I will stop with this one.

1. A love triangle
2. Multiple POV's (yeah curiousity got me and I snuck a few peeks)

I like Tom and I like of them is going to get hurt...and that's where I have to draw the line on reading further. I'll only be setting myself up for disappointment.

Other than that....this definitely was an off beat story w
Katrina Passick Lumsden
Realistic, likable characters and an intriguing plot line. What more could you ask for? How about religious undertones (both for and against), a little romance, science fiction, modern warfare, survivalism, mysterious superpowers, and honest-to-god zombie teenagers?

I can't help it, I love this book. Alex, our heroine, isn't some simpering, helpless idiot. Sure, she doesn't make the brightest decisions at times, but she knows how to take care of herself. Finally, a protagonist my inner feminist
Leigh Collazo
More reviews at

What I liked: More, please!!! The Stand, The Hunger Games, Chaos Walking, and now Ashes. I do love me some apocalyptic fiction, and I read Ashes compulsively. I read it at the breakfast table, in the closet waiting out a tornado warning, in the bathroom, in the car, at the eye doctor, at the gym. I even skipped the American Idol Finale to finish it. When I wasn't reading it, I was talking it up to others or thinking about it. Quite simply, literary
Marg K.
In a lot of aspects, Ashes reminded me of Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield, which I totally adored. The writing was engagingly descriptive and the imagery was incredibly vivid (and often gruesome). Ilsa J. Bick held nothing back in her portrayal of the horrors the young protagonists had to face throughout their perilous journey. There was lots of blood & gore as well as fight-for-your-life action. Also, there were many twists, revelations, and an unrelenting assortment of obstacles. If someth ...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick is a real genre-bender. Some parts apocalyptic, then post-apocalyptic and also dystopian. Most of all though, I thought the entire book was written in a way that could please the most die-hard horror fans. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the book is REALLY STINKING AWESOME?

I was actually really impressed by the horror part of things. I have never read a YA novel that managed to capture a legit Stephen King-like vibe so successfully. One of the defining characteristics
I don’t know how a book can start off so awesomely and then end up being so tragically poo-y.

The first half was freaking awesome. We had some major adventure going on. Alex trying to survive by using her environment and making the best out of the things she had, plus having to handle an eight-year-old kid, and a smexy soldier guy who was more like Robinson Crusoe than anything. I loved how there was a constant tension and the struggle to find food to eat, medicine to stay alive, and avoid the pa
In short: Though I disliked the last third of Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick, the first two thirds provided an intense, action-packed post-apoc/zombie thriller with great characterization.

Ashes is the latest post-apocalyptic/zombie book, this time featuring an electromagnetic pulse that kills some people, spares some people, and changes others into zombies. Alex, an orphan with a brain tumor, is one of the spared. With that background, she is already one tough girl and her nature aids her greatly in the
Book 26 for 2011.
If you're like me, these days I read lots of first books in series, but it's rare when I actually care enough to want to pick up book two and run with it. So when I finish a book and really can't wait to find out what happens next, I relish that feeling. Enter...

ASHES by Ilsa Bick (Egmont, September 6, 2011)

The day after I finished ASHES, I had the joy of meeting Ilsa in person and helping her celebrate ASHES at ALA. In addition to being a fellow Star Trek lover, Ilsa was smart
Great book! I love a well-written character and a plot full of action. This book has both. Alex has lost both of her parents and has a brain tumor. For her last hurrah, she is hiking to Lake Superior to spread her parents' ashes. While she is hiking, the earth is "zapped" with an electromagnetic impulse. In the aftermath, people are dying, and some have become zombies. Alex goes through many trials while trying to survive.

The first half of the book is very fast-paced. Alex ends up with Ellie, a
Kıyamet sonrası senaryolarını okumayı seviyorum. Küller uzun zamandır okumadığım kadar farklı bir young-adulttu. Beyninde tümör olan Alex tüm tedavileri reddedip son günlerini geçirmek üzere dağlara çıkıyor ancak sürpriz bir elektromanyetik dalga ortaya çıkıp canlı ne varsa zarar veriyor. Birçok insan ölürken çogunlugu gençlerden oluşan bir kısmı ise 'vahşileşiyor'.
Çoğu yerini şaşırarak okudum. Yazarın kıyameti kurgulayış tarzını çok sevdim. Mantıklı derecede inandırıcıydı. Bir nevi zombiye dön
"...I've seen what happens when people are under a lot of stress. Doesn't always bring out their best. When people are scared they get angry."

I was warned. When I started reading this book, I was fully aware of several reviews praising the first half of this book and lamenting over the second half. I thought myself prepared, but I wasn't.

"They'll do things they never thought they would. They'll bargain and compromise in order to survive; they'll chase after miracle cures and believe just about
ASHES by Isla Bick is a unique story of an apocalyptic event that will have your skin slithering and your heart pounding. Written in a militaristic style of attention to detail and precision writing I was instantly in love with the author's style. I can't wait to read more from this world and this author. ASHES if you love dystopian is a book you do not want to miss!

Alex, our heroine is broken from the onset. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and battling the pain of the recent loss of he
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  • Dust and Decay (Benny Imura, #2)
  • Aftertime (Aftertime, #1)
  • Ashfall (Ashfall, #1)
  • Siege  (As The World Dies, #3)
  • Rage Within (Dark Inside, #2)
  • The Reapers are the Angels (Reapers, #1)
  • Allison Hewitt Is Trapped (Zombie, #1)
  • The Fear (The Enemy #3)
  • Ashes, Ashes (Ashes, Ashes, #1)
  • Dark Canopy (Dark Canopy, #1)
  • The Way We Fall (Fallen World, #1)
  • 20 Years Later
  • Undead (Undead, #1)
  • Die Verratenen (Die Verratenen, #1)
  • The Other Life (The Other Life, #1)
  • Outpost (Razorland, #2)
Among other things, I was an English major in college and so I know that I'm supposed to write things like, "Ilsa J. Bick is ." Except I hate writing about myself in the third person like I'm not in the room. Helloooo, I'm right here . . . So let's just say that I'm a child psychiatrist (yeah, you read that right)as well as a film scholar, surgeon wannabe (meaning I did an internship in surgery an ...more
More about Ilsa J. Bick...

Other Books in the Series

Ashes Trilogy (3 books)
  • Shadows (Ashes Trilogy, #2)
  • Monsters (Ashes Trilogy, #3)
Shadows (Ashes Trilogy, #2) Drowning Instinct Monsters (Ashes Trilogy, #3) Draw the Dark The Sin-Eater's Confession

Share This Book

“Why can't you like me?" he said, his voice breaking. His scent steamed then, hot and heady with a welter of contradictions: apples and fire and electric roil of those cold, black shadows. "Why can't you like me just a little?"

She would never know how she might have answered, because he never gave her the chance.

Instead, he kissed her.”
“It was that stages-of-anger thing. I was shocked and then I got pissed and then I fought like hell … and then I went numb. They called it acceptance, but it wasn’t. It’s what happens when you have only two choices: live with the monster, or kill yourself.” 44 likes
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