Laura's Reviews > Ashfall

Ashfall by Mike Mullin
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's review
Sep 07, 2011

really liked it

One of my many book addictions is the “End of the World As We Know It” stories or otherwise known as “Oh-My-Good-Golly-What–Do-We-Do-Now?” books! :) Over the years, these tales have begun to possess similar plots, events, scares, and attitudes. But Mike Mullin’s Ashfall felt like a brand new bag in many ways! It held such inspiration, morality, and hope in the pages. This story felt more like a journey towards a new way of living in a new world rather than the beginning of the end.

After a supervolcano erupts in Yellowstone National Park, Alex’s weekend of freedom away from his family turns into a struggle and journey to survive in a world now covered in ash, darkness, unpredictable weather, violence, pain, loss, hunger, and fear. Alex sets off on foot and skis on a trek across Iowa to find his family and discovers so much more along the way. Alex’s battle to survive brings him face to face with friends, foes, and Darla!

Alex and Darla are flat out amazing! This book does not shy away from the harshness in a battle to survive, but love is a big part of this story. They were adorable, smart, strong, and caring towards each other and the people they came across on the road. It was a joy to watch these two conquer a problem with patience, strength, smarts, and grace. They encouraged, leaned on each other, and were not afraid to let the other one lead at times. It was just so refreshing to see intelligent young adults with a “we-should-try-it-how-hard-can-it-be” attitude. I fell in love with both of them! But I’ll just say it, Darla was my hero! The girl kicked ass! :)

Some of my favorite parts of Ashfall were the detailed lessons of the different techniques Alex and Darla used to help them survive. They incorporated skills they practiced in their “old” lives, skills they had read about, and theories that they now had to try to battle the elements and starvation. I truly admired their attitudes through out the highs and lows of their travels. I would have wanted to curl up and die at points, but they constantly pushed each other to keep learning and trying. Much of the science and skills, such as pig farming, greenhouses, smoking meat, and grinding corn, were well explained point by point, but at the same time piqued the reader’s interest to perhaps follow up on a topic. I found myself asking—is that true? I enjoyed all the survival lessons—even the gross ones! :)

This story showed the ugly side of a society struggling to survive, but it encouraged the best. My hat goes off to you, Mr. Mullin! You have written an end of the world as we know it story, but infused it with hope. Hope in love. Hope in humanity. Survival is key, but who we choose to surround ourselves with and how and what we do to survive should be the most important parts of the journey.

It was a very refreshing take on the genre and I look forward to the next book!

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Quotes Laura Liked

Mike Mullin
“For the first time ever, I felt ashamed of my species. The volcano had taken our homes, our food, our automobiles, and our airplanes, but it hadn't taken our humanity. No, we'd given that up on our own.”
Mike Mullin, Ashfall

Mike Mullin
“A librarian can’t live by books alone, and I wouldn’t eat them if I could. Feel too much like cannibalism.”
Mike Mullin, Ashfall

Reading Progress

September 7, 2011 – Started Reading
September 7, 2011 – Shelved
September 7, 2011 –
page 11
September 7, 2011 –
page 11
2.36% "Jeez people! Never open the door!"
September 8, 2011 –
37.0% "This one is a surprise hit for me! I really like Alex's voice and journey so far."
September 9, 2011 –
67.0% ""Unhug"--such a sad word. Alex and Darla really are amazing and adorable. I would have died by now! ;)"
September 10, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Laura My apologies for the typo. :)

message 2: by ♥Rachel♥ (new)

♥Rachel♥ Laura, this cracked me up: “End of the World As We Know It” stories or otherwise known as “Oh-My-Good-Golly-What–Do-We-Do-Now?” I love these types of books too and I always wonder how I would survive in similar circumstances. A while back there was a science channel-type program that was all about Yellowstone really errupting and how it could me the end of the world as we know it. It was terrifying! My son was like 12-13 at the time and he was pretty upset. Anyhow, now that I've written a novella here, GREAT review!! ;)

Laura Thanks, Rachel. :) I love novella comments! I do them all the time especially when I have had too much caffeine! ;) Haha….
And that special sounds creepy! I might have to do some research. :) Ya know, I am due for a good end of the world tale actually! hmmm.... :)

message 4: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I think it was called Volcano. I showed it to my 6th graders last year (I teach Science). I don't think they really grasped the fact that it could really happen.

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