ASHES, ASHES is a terrifying reminder of how much I hate camping. Okay, personal bias aside, the survival aspect is a huge part of the story, and theASHES, ASHES is a terrifying reminder of how much I hate camping. Okay, personal bias aside, the survival aspect is a huge part of the story, and the details are so realistic that it didn’t take too much of a leap in imagination to envision Lucy’s harrowing life in post-apocalyptic New York. It’s not glamorized in any way; life is tough, and I loved how what she actually needs to do to survive isn’t just brushed aside.
It does take a while for the plot to kick in, though. While I appreciated taking the time to get to know our protagonist, the background information kind of all came out in one infodump instead of being revealed in a natural, gradual way; it was alienating, but nice to get the set-up out of the way, too. Once Lucy decides to join the other survivors, things start to get interesting. (It is a hundred or so pages later, though.) I thought that the secondary characters ranged from interesting/entertaining– Sammy, Grammalie, Henry– and boring/stereotypical: Aidan and Del being the main offenders. Aidan in particular was the ideal love interest and any love triangle that got in the way was pointless since we know it wouldn’t last.
One of the aspects I loved was the S’ans’ presence. There are the typical zombie-like victims of the plague, the Sweepers, but the S’ans were more unique; they humanized what could’ve been any old human-race-obliterating epidemic. I was genuinely surprised to discover that one of them was related to Aidan, and that familial relationship was touching, especially because having family was so rare in a setting like this. Henry was the typical charmer, but at least he was more interesting than Aidan. Ah well, at least Aidan wasn’t a rebellious bad boy; a little bit of complexity would’ve made his relationship with Lucy a lot more interesting, though. Del was the clingy jealous girl through and through. Even character development didn’t do much to change my opinion of her.
All in all, ASHES, ASHES is a well-written post-apocalyptic novel that doesn’t break new ground, but uses elements that know and love with some decent (if underdeveloped) characters and memorable survivalist details. The ending left me wanting more; and there’s just enough unanswered business for a companion novel, which I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up....more
Well, I can't say I was that impressed. I think I finished it and wondered "What even happened until the last 15 pages...?" Glad that a whole lot of mWell, I can't say I was that impressed. I think I finished it and wondered "What even happened until the last 15 pages...?" Glad that a whole lot of marketing money was put into a sci-fi debut, though. ...more