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(Ashes Trilogy #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  24,529 ratings  ·  2,975 reviews
It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young
Hardcover, 465 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Egmont USA
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Mel Solberg there are some swears, but the most you should be worried about is gore
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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
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 hiki

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
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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
Anagha Uppal
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
3.5 stars

As several of my Goodreads friends have pointed out, this book doesn't break much in the way of new ground, which is the main criticism I have of the work.

That said, it delivered what I wanted, which was a fast and mostly entertaining read.

That cliffhanger ending though? I was glad I already had the next book queued up.
Jake Rideout
Mar 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopia, arc, ya, zombies
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
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
Tilly Booth
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The edition I bought of Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick, it had a small sticker saying ‘As good as The Hunger Games or your money back’ and let me tell you, this series is definitely as good as THG and maybe even better! This book has easily become one of my favorites.

I had Ashes sitting on my shelves for almost a year when I decided to pick it up. I finished it in less than a day and went straight to the bookstore for the second book. The characters are great. Alex has a tough background and when she is
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, post-apocalypse
The first half was good but the second half dragged a bit and I was looking forward to finishing. Quite good but nothing original.
"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
Feb 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I can say with the most unbridled sincerity that Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick earned the one start rating. I disliked it, and anyone who has been around me for the last few weeks can testify to this fact. I was very verbal about it. But I had to finish it, just so I could give you a complete picture on why this story irks me to my very core.

Don't listen to them, because trust me, this is not any foreseeable future. It's science fiction, plain and simple, not any accurate description of what would actua
Matt Mead YA Librarian
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
Emily (Obsessed Reader)
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a re-read for me.

First time I read the book, February 6th, 2012: Wtf just happened?! Gah. I need book 2 NOW!
Rating: 4 stars

Second time, October 12th, 2015: I liked it even more the second time around. I've read/watched quite a few zombie stories, and this is one of the best. I absolutely adore Alex, and I feel like she is a lot like Katniss. This story is just so engaging and it captured me from page one. Every time I put the book down, I couldn't wait to get back to it! Absolutely love
May 30, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Leigh Collazo
May 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, read-in-2011
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
Katrina Passick Lumsden
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This book started out with me just wanting to kick an 8 year old's whiney butt. She did get better once the story got rolling so I gave in and didn't run her down.
 photo ZombieGirlDoWant_zpsd3f98531.gif
This book was really good read for me. Had some survival skills going on and of course the kids in the story that have been "changed". Not really zombies because they are still alive but yes alive and eating other peoples is still pretty gross. But what do I do? Read every thing I can get my greedy little hands on that have to do
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Wow, this one is SCARY. Like the whole time you're reading it you expect Changed kids to be standing behind you, and more than once I got that shivery feeling of being watched. Probably doesn't help that the two afternoons it took to read this were stormy; the wind creaking oddly, the gentle patter of rain. Once yesterday and once today my pupper Paddy barked and startled me while reading, so I was even more freaked out!

It's kind of obvious that even though I read a lot, I come back to the same
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
I went into this book expecting light entertainment but ended up liking everything about it more than I expected! This book had everything: great plot, side characters, zombies, mystery, a sprinkling of romance, a heroine you can't help but like and root for and whose strengths and vulnerabilities are well balanced.

***I read this book during the summer in the midst of a mad reading marathon so the details escape my memories...I need a refresher before continuing with this review.***
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
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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

Other books in the series

Ashes Trilogy (3 books)
  • Shadows (Ashes Trilogy, #2)
  • Monsters (Ashes Trilogy, #3)

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“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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