Thursday, October 10, 2013

Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick

Series: Ashes Trilogy (bk. 3)
Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi
Subjects: survival, zombies, post-apocalyptic, Michigan
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 671 pgs.
HC/PB: Hardcover
List Price: $18.99
Publisher: Egmont
Summary/ product description: “The Changed are on the move. The Spared are out of time. The now.
When her parents died, Alex thought things couldn't get much worse-until the doctors found the monster in her head.
She headed into the wilderness as a good-bye, to leave everything behind. But then the end of the world happened, and Alex took the first step down a treacherous road of betrayal and terror and death.
Now, with no hope of rescue-on the brink of starvation in a winter that just won't quit-she discovers a new and horrifying truth.
The Change isn't over.
The Changed are still evolving.
And...they've had help.
With this final volume of The Ashes Trilogy, Ilsa J. Bick delivers a riveting, blockbuster finish, returning readers to a brutal, post-apocalyptic world where no one is safe and hope is in short supply.
A world where, from these ashes, the monsters may rise.”

My Review: As final books go, Monster was a real monster of a book. Extremely long. I’ve only read 1 or 2 books longer. It was painful to lug it around and read while laying down. I usually don’t read books this weighty. It could have definitely been 200 pages shorter, or even possibly 2 separate books. Shadow, the 2nd book was more than 100 pages less than this. Monsters dragged on with to many perspectives and side characters. Even with the character backstories in the back of the book, I still couldn’t keep track of all the characters. Why couldn’t it just be Alex’s perspective. I enjoyed her perspective. She’s funny and smart, and I loved how she was in Ashes. She’s got survival skill. I liked her inner dialogue, even in 3rd person. I loved the saying that repeated: “Sometimes you just feel like a nut.”
The other thing that I loved about this series was the setting. I love Michigan. In summer 2012 I camped in the Porcupine Mountains state park. We hiked and went swimming in Lake Superior. I hunted for copper and agates on the beach and on trails. It was fun and beautiful and I’d love to go back there even if the flies are horrible. This book describes the UP perfectly in some parts. I’ve never been there in winter, but I feel like I was now.
The one issue I had was all the made up places the author wrote into the book. Both Oren and Rule are made-up. As are Mirror Point and the Waucamaw forest. They are based off of real places, like Ontonagon and the Ottawa national forest. Real places mentioned in the book: Houghton and Hancock, which I visited, and Isle Royale located near Thunder Bay. There are timber wolves in the UP, and Bears. I didn’t see any wild ones.
As far as conclusions go, I don’t feel like the story wrapped up well. There was too much mind jumping/perspective switching. I also often found myself skimming the book, or only reading dialogue. I was hoping for more development in the Changed, or the mystery behind why this all happened. I’m very disappointed in the overall direction this series went. I loved the 1st book, Ashes. I wanted closure, and only had more question. And it’s the final book!!!
I recommend this series to fan of Forest of Hands and Teeth, the Benny Imura series, the TV show Revolution, fans of the Gone series by Michael Grant. If you like sci-fi horror, or Stephen King, you may like this.  
Cover Art Review: I love how the typography and imagery is integrated. The green smoke and the girl in the title. The forest in the background is barely noticeable, but it’s there!

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