karen's Reviews > Ashfall

Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
45618
's review
May 07, 11

bookshelves: welcome-author, why-yes-i-ya, live-through-this, from-publisher-or-author
Read from May 03 to 06, 2011

all those people who are afraid that the legalization of gay marriage will lead to people wanting to marry their pets have every reason to be afraid.

as soon as it becomes legal to marry a book, i am going to marry this one. and i assume at some point i will cheat on this book and divorce it and marry another book, but for a little while, we will have a storybook relationship and a joint checking account.

and it will be wonderful.

so - okay - for those of you who have not had the opportunity to read this since it is not out until OCTOBER (try to win a firstreads copy - there is one up for grabs), i will give you the rundown:

supervolcano.

that was enough to get my attention. but if you need more, you should know that this is about a fifteen-year-old boy left alone for the weekend, trying to get to his family in the wake of the mother of all natural disasters. bandits, cannibals, fighting, snow, ash ash ash, murder, rape, love, camps, marauders, fantastic action and real human sentiment.

i loved every minute of it, i really did.

i read a lot of teen survival stuff, it's kind of my thing. and this one does it just right - the way i wish more books would do it. it is very realistic. sometimes these books want you to believe kids in this situation become all goody-goody and selfless. surviving does not automatically make you a good person. in fact, it usually means the opposite - survivors are the ones who have to make hard decisions sometimes. morality does not necessarily translate or apply in the same way. true, this kid is not entirely selfish - he definitely has heart and respect for human life and holds on to some pity.

but he'll do some stuff.

and the girl he meets up with is the same way. complicated. capable. not some helpless creature, but also not some strong bright angel. the responses feel very natural and realistic. and they both have moments of weakness and failure. these are characters i can root for. prince charming doesn't care if you root for him, he is self-satisfied enough to not even notice you. alex and darla are flawed marvels of stubborn life in a newly shitty world.

and there is so much texture, so much background. this world is completely realized; even if some of the scenes are brief as alex makes his way, they are always richly detailed and ba-DOW!!

i cannot recommend this book highly enough, to you people who like this kind of thing.true, it is dark and bleak and tough, but the violence is never gratuitous or shock-value. it is similar to the way things played out in the road. this is just the way things are. get on board or don't survive.

AND THERE IS A PROPOSED SEQUEL!! CAN I HAVE IT NOW PLEASE!?

love love love, and i made a horrible strangled noise when something happened THAT I HATED, MR. MULLIN, but it had the intended effect, i guess. but still, i hated it. heart = broke.

did i mention that this book is good?

but, really, why does this kid drop so many architectural terms?? muntins?? porte-cochère?? there were more, i don't know 'em. la-di-dah, alex, is all i can say...

okay enough.
read it.

IN OCTOBER!!!


hhahaa, suckers!
204 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Ashfall.
sign in »

Comments (showing 21-70)





Kathrina Um, how did you finish this already and I still haven't gotten my copy?!! 5 stars?


karen really?? you should write back to her - maybe it got lost! mine came superfast (twss) and i loooooved it! i will review it soon and i promise no spoilers.


but it is good.


message 68: by Vinaya (new) - added it

Vinaya Oh, did you like it? I've been sitting on my copy for a while now, I started it but never got up the momentum to actually read it. But five stars?! O_O Must definitely push it up the TBR.


karen i really really liked it.

kaboom!


karen (i do not like the cover, though)


message 65: by [deleted user] (new)

You had me at supervolcano.


message 64: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg Can I borrow your copy?


karen yesssssss

tomorrow?


message 62: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg Or Sunday. Whenever.


message 61: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Another great review, Karen. I can't say I condone the prospective cheating on this book (who seems like a really nice book) and think you may want to consider simply "living" together for a while to make sure this love is for realsies. But that may just be me showing my age. I still consider marriage to an inanimate object to be a special thing.


message 60: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Mullin As soon as it becomes legal to marry text, I'm marrying this review. Or maybe just this sentence, "alex and darla are flawed marvels of stubborn life in a newly shitty world."


message 59: by Praj (new)

Praj Marry me! I would not mind if you divorce me later for this book (when legalized):D


Jennifer Where can we grab a first copy?


karen http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/96...

scroll down a little bit to where it says "win a copy"... but it looks like a popular giveaway.


karen mike, praj - thank you!!

i'm afraid the joint checking account will be pretty small.


message 55: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Mullin @karen - Ah, well. I'll eat ramen and lovingly reread your review. Those are riches of a different sort.

@Elizabeth - I wavered about whether or not to discuss cannibalism in ASHFALL. What ultimately swayed me was 1) Jared Diamond's superb Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and 2) my desire to write as realistic a book as possible and not talk down to my audience in any way.


message 54: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine would I like this?


message 53: by karen (last edited May 07, 2011 09:07AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

karen i would have no problem turning cannibal. i already have the cookbook.

jazz - i don't know. you are so unpredictable. give it a try after greg.


karen i will try anything food-related once. i just gotta find the right person to eat....


karen theres my boy!


message 50: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen This book sounds like a perfect fit for October. And for me. Thanks karen.

Elizabeth, cherish your appendages. There is no time like the present to kiss your knees.


karen jen sighting!!

happy belated mothers day, jen!


message 48: by Jen (last edited May 11, 2011 08:03AM) (new) - added it

Jen Thanks karen. I did not get the chance to read what food you consumed with Greg on Sunday, but I ate:

grilled rosemary salmon with dill sauce, grilled jalapenos wrapped with bacon and stuffed with cream cheese, pasta salad, roasted red and sweet potatoes, and grilled zucchini. To make this somewhat relevant to your review, I did not eat any human flesh. I am saving that for the apocalypse.

There was another reviewer of this book who claimed that the book did not handle the supervolcano part accurately enough.
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... (She is intelligent and young and learned in natural disasters. I, on the other hand, am not that learned, unless you count four human dynamos wreaking havoc on the interior of a residence a natural disaster, so I am asking you if this part of the book seemed too unbelievable.)


karen not at all, but my only experience with volcanoes is i rode a horse in one in hawaii. it did not essplode on me. but i read a lot of these books, and their "authenticity" has never been a problem for me. if you tell me this will happen, i will believe you.

your food sounds wonderful wonderful.


message 46: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen Well that sounds like firsthand experience to me. I think readers used to entering the tilted world of fiction are more willing to suspend their notions for a time...or maybe that is just what I tell myself because I would not know at all how to spot a real supervolcano situation in a line-up.


message 45: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Mullin I've posted some of the information and sources I used in researching ASHFALL at http://www.mikemullinauthor.com on the FAQ page. There's an author's note in the back of the book about the science of ASHFALL. Also, two geologists reviewed ASHFALL for factual errors, and I made numerous changes based on their suggestions. To be clear, my first priority was to write an entertaining book, but everything that happens in ASHFALL is at least possible, if not necessarily likely.


karen yeah, that person is splitting hairs - she will not insult my book-spouse!


message 43: by Lucy (new)

Lucy So how does this compare to Cormac McCarthy's The Road? I realize there is an actual natural disaster in this one but the postapocalyptic world sounds eerily familiar. Just wondering, because this one sounds really really good.


message 42: by karen (last edited Jun 12, 2011 03:58PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

karen well, this one takes place just before, during, and after the event. the road takes place many years after the situation, giving things time to settle and decay and become more emphatically destroyed. so this one has more action and less bleak hopelessness. plus, the volcano doesn't destroy the entire world, just a huge portion of the US. so it is not a global crisis. there is still somewhere to go to. plus the road is very much centered around the father/son dynamic and the responsibilities and difficult choices that permeate that relationship. so there's really not a lot tying the two together - there is a huge body of wasteland fiction - but there are similarities in the inevitability of certain choices and attitudes, and i would not want to live in either book...


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Mike wrote: "I've posted some of the information and sources I used in researching ASHFALL at http://www.mikemullinauthor.com on the FAQ page. There's an author's note in the back of the book about the science ..."

I didn't care if the volcano was erupting furry puppy dogs instead of lava (it is lava that normally comes out right?), it was an entertaining book. Ok, I definitely would care if it was furry puppy dogs, but that is besides the point.

I'm usually obsessed with consistency and accuracy in a story but with this book, I didn't care. I'm not saying it wasn't accurate or didn't "flow" right (lava flow..get it...I know bad me), I'm just saying the entertainment value was greater than my need for the book to be scientifically correct.

Sorry, I kinda just inserted my own two cents (I'm really tired so worth less than two cents) into this thread!


message 40: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Mullin Thanks, Michelle. It's great to hear you enjoyed Ashfall so much! I recently wrote a guest blog post about the science behind the book and the process I used to research it. Here's the link for those of you who are interested in why I've got lava and not furry puppy dogs in Ashfall: http://www.ourtimeinjuvie.com/author-...


karen i am going to write mike mullin fanfic in which it is fuzzy puppies instead of lava. illustrated.


message 38: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Mullin As the Webkinz factory exploded, it vomited thousands of plush puppies. Puppy parts rained from the sky, burnt tufts of foam stuffing trailing from tiny severed paws. The stench of burning plastic seared Alex's nostrils and the sun succumbed to an ugly smear of smoke. The puppocalypse had begun.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Mike wrote: "As the Webkinz factory exploded, it vomited thousands of plush puppies. Puppy parts rained from the sky, burnt tufts of foam stuffing trailing from tiny severed paws. The stench of burning plastic ..."

oh no! change it to fluffy little child molesters or something like that. My dog will never forgive me!


message 35: by Mike (last edited Jun 13, 2011 10:18AM) (new) - added it

Mike Mullin Michelle R, the Bookshelf Stalker wrote: "oh no! change it to fluffy little child molesters or something like that. My dog will never forgive me!
..."


Hey, you started the furry puppies thing. Don't blame me! *whistles innocently*


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead karen wrote: ""

OMG, that pic is too funny!


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Mike wrote: "Michelle R, the Bookshelf Stalker wrote: "oh no! change it to fluffy little child molesters or something like that. My dog will never forgive me!
..."

Hey, you started the furry puppies thing. Don..."


Yeah, yeah, yeah, you got me on a technicality!


Richard (Bound & Determined...) this is so funny...i almost rolled off the couch laughing :)

Richard
http://boundanddeterminedtofindagoodr...


karen wait - your own review made you laugh?? was that the right link??


message 30: by Richard (Bound & Determined...) (last edited Jun 14, 2011 05:50AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard (Bound & Determined...) karen wrote: "wait - your own review made you laugh?? was that the right link??"

your review, and everything that follows through the comments made me laugh...great sense of humor!

link to my blog was just fyi :)


karen hahahah ohhhh!! sorry, the brain had a leak...


Richard (Bound & Determined...) karen wrote: "hahahah ohhhh!! sorry, the brain had a leak..."

happens to me all the time lol no worries :D


message 27: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Mullin Now I'm picturing you guys with maple syrup-type buckets hanging off the backs of your necks to collect the leaking brain juice. What does brain juice look like, anyway? No, wait. I don't want to know.


karen like chutney...


message 25: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Mullin eww!


Ainslie Oh, this one sounds really good!


message 23: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Oh, man! I forgot to mention that, but I, too was thrown by all the architectural terms!


karen i am ready for the second book, please.


message 21: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Mullin I am so close to putting 'The End' on the first draft. Then the real work begins.


« previous 1
back to top