Kristin's Reviews > Ashes, Ashes

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari
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Oct 15, 11

bookshelves: ra-dystopias, young-adult

I really liked this book, although it was a "little" story. What I mean is, it wasn't epic, it wasn't grand, it wasn't breathtaking--but it WAS amazingly realistic. Like, spot-on realistic from seam to seam. This was its strength. Because while you might be wondering things like, "Why doesn't Lucy do this? Why didn't the author have such and such happen?" --the answer is "Come on--what would really happen? This is what would REALLY happen." If you want to compare this book to the Hunger Games, which is kind of a mean thing to do in itself, it's like Katniss's world hundreds of years earlier, right after a calamity hit to bring civilization to its knees. This book is what would happen to YOU, TODAY, if disease and natural disaster wiped out the world as we know it. You would be so astronomically far from Katniss's experienced hunting and gathering. You would be like Lucy, desperately trying to open up a turtle to eat and doing a really crappy job following the crappy ass instructions in a book on how to do it. You wouldn't be for-the-most-part-clean and sexy-if-rough-around-the-edges like Katniss. You would be like Lucy, drowning in the reek of your own BO and filthy clothes like any other hobo. You wouldn't be like Katniss and take down an empire like it was easy with a couple of well-played gestures. You would be like Lucy, walking into a trap and getting your ass kicked as a 17 year old trying to break into the high-security facility holding your friends captive. And most likely, your little love story wouldn't be epic enough to cause thousands of people to weep with emotion. It would be real, and simple.
To conclude, this book is quite different from the Hunger Games, setting it apart as decidedly and refreshingly NOT a knockoff, but it still has the same kind of appeal. The narrative tone, which is a major part of why the Hunger Games is awesome, is similar; and it is almost equally un-put-down-able. Literarily speaking, it does sort of tie up abruptly at the end, as if the author decided that it was getting too long or she didn't want to write it anymore and so axed it rapidly in the last few chapters when it had so much more potential, but it's subtle enough to be okay,and the fact that you want it to keep going just speaks to how good it is. Still very much recommended. And you don't have to like science fiction or apocalypse stuff to enjoy it. It's mostly about interpersonal aspects of the struggle. However, if you really like sciencey aspects of sci-fi, there is a good dose of that in that the parts you do learn about the details of the circumstances are quite plausible and not exaggerated in the least. And I really like that the author had this group of would-be zombie people who turned out to not be zombies at all but normal, sane people whose bodies were just ravaged by the disease and yet might heal one day.
P.S. I also love that there's randomly an old Polish lady as a prominent character!
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