Adam Silvera's Reviews > Ashes, Ashes

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari
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's review
May 23, 2011

bookshelves: 52-youngster-books-for-2011
Read from May 23 to 28, 2011

I need to pass this book along to someone else.

I feel like I need someone else to read this to tell me, "Hey, Adam, this book's not THAT bad. What's your deal?" I feel pretty confident though that anyone who's read a popular, action-filled dystopian novel, ("The Hunger Games", "The Maze Runner", "Divergent", to name a couple) you'll totally pull "Ashes, Ashes" off your shelf to make room for another.

I really wanted to like this as the concept is interesting, especially to a born-and-raised New Yorker: the world has been pulled apart, cities have been swallowed by the ocean, and as the result of a virus, 99.9% of the world's population have been wiped off the map. Sounds decent so far, right? Okay. The main protagonist Lucy is a survivalist camping out in Central Park all on her own when after danger strikes, she joins a clan of survivors that are interested in keeping her safe from the Sweepers - these dudes who want Lucy because there's something "special" about her. Naturally, but I can see past that considering it's a device used in many novels; it's WHY it's important we're following that protagonist.

I can't remember the last time I cared so little about characters this year. Even "Tiger's Curse" sparked more interest out of me, or, let's just say tolerance. The characters are just so flat. I didn't laugh once. I was never thrilled by their obstacles. I wasn't rooting for anyone during the off attempts at romance. The one twist I found captivating didn't even turn out to be worth the two hundred pages that followed.

This isn't a book I'll be recommending, especially not for the reader who wants fine YA dystopia or apocalyptic thrills. For this reader, I'd recommend "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner, or even "Solitary" by Alexander Gordon Smith, which I wasn't in love with either, but certainly held better ground than "Ashes, Ashes".
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Reading Progress

05/28/2011 page 60
17.0% "I could really go for something Happening right now or at least a character I don't mind watching do nothing except falling all over the place."
05/28/2011 page 100
29.0% "Something kinda happened."
05/28/2011 page 140
41.0% "A twist finally worth following. Yay, Book. It's time to earn some of those Stars I'm not wanting to hand out; gold stars are for good jobs, so step your game up, Book."
05/28/2011 page 202
59.0% "Really enjoyed the rabbit hunting scenes - despite my past loving ownership of them - and that was mainly because there was a bow-and-arrow training session. I love archery in my books. (Percy Jackson, Katniss, Simon Lewis...) I'm really not enjoying these characters though . They're extra flat."
05/28/2011 page 264
77.0% "Reaching that bitter end... I don't care what cliffhanger is offered l, I have no future with this series...unless it has an amazing cover. I can be tempted for a cover."
05/28/2011 page 324
94.0% "So close."
05/28/2011 page 343
100.0% "Done. It took less than a day to read, but "Finally" still comes to mind."

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Melissa (YA Book Shelf) I think part of the problem is that you were expecting a dystopian novel, and Ashes, Ashes is neither one, nor does Jo Treggiari ever purport it to be one. It's a novel about the apocalypse, while dystopian novels are always set after an apocalypse.

This makes it a fundamentally different novel than The Hunger Games, Divergent, Solitary, etc. It's more in keeping with...(well, I don't usually read these type of novels, so I don't have a literary comparison), but let's just say any disaster movie would be comparable to this book.

message 2: by Adam (new) - added it

Adam Silvera I'm pretty certain Scholastic promoted it as dystopian, but that's not even the biggest issue. Genre defined or not, the prose itself wasn't anything I enjoyed investing my time into. The opening chapter alone is just background information that would've flowed a lot better if written out a little more organically throughout the story. I very much stand-by how dim a character Lucy is compared to many star-shining heroines in today's YA novels. I emoted nothing for her, I didn't care about all her losses (because I felt she didn't care that much herself), the romance wasn't a big deal, which is okay, but that only lead to me not enlisiting in Team Aidan fandom (not that anyone's competing...), and there were plot devices that just malfunctioned throughout the story, notably when a character dramatically dies or goes missing, that's an angle that should be played out, therefore, they shouldn't return by the end of the following chapter - give me time to mourn them, to miss them.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, you have a really nice constructive review on it, I just don't see this book working out for everyone, though I do applaud Scholastic on putting out another YA novel, I just hope they recognize it's nothing groundbreaking, certainly not HP or HG fame.

message 3: by Melissa (YA Book Shelf) (last edited Jun 17, 2011 08:08PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melissa (YA Book Shelf) I doubt any book would work for everyone. I've heard of people (strange as it seems to me), who didn't like The Hunger Games or said that the ending of Mockingjay = "bad mother."

While I felt differently about the book in general, I'm glad that we can discuss it like this, and am glad that you outlined further what it was about the book that didn't work for you. And of course, I don't doubt that it won't be a book for everyone.

If you haven't read Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking Triligy, then you should. It's incredible. Better than HG in my opinion. First book is The Knife of Never Letting Go.

message 4: by Adam (new) - added it

Adam Silvera Yeah, saying that book-working-for-everyone-thing was, to be honest, a dumb thing to say, that I think was said because someone was talking to me while I was wrapping up my comment, and as a result, said a dumb thing.

KNIFE is totally on my list. I just ordered "Blood Red Road" and "Feed" and am excited for those. I have to stop buying books and just get through the awesome to-read list I have in front of me. I suggested KNIFE for my mini-unsuccessful-bookclub (my fault, always) but the cover frightened my friend.

I'll let you know what my thoughts are when I finally get to it sometime this summer.

Melissa (YA Book Shelf) It worries.

I'm going to be reading Blood Red Road soon, too. I've heard some good things, so looking forward to checking it out.

Looking forward to hearing what you think about Knife. It was recommended to me by the YA author Cecil Castellucci initially, and I have to say, I was really glad that she did.

message 6: by Adam (new) - added it

Adam Silvera Lemme know when you start Blood Red Road, I wanted to read it side-by-side with someone.

I'm expecting my copy next week. I'm in the middle on reading/reviewing Lisa McMann's upcoming middle-grade "The Unwanteds", but I should be done with all that stuff by mid-week.

Melissa (YA Book Shelf) I'm hoping my copy arrives next week, but right now there is a lockout with the postal workers in Canada, and I'm not sure when it'll be resolved.

I'll let you know though.

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