Series: Ashfall (bk. 3)
Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi
Subjects: adventure, cannibals, climate change, post-apocalyptic, survival, thriller, winter, love
Setting: Northwestern Illinois (Warren, IL, Stockton, Rockford…)
POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Alex (male POV)
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 542 pgs.
List Price: $17.99
Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing
Summary/ product description: “The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors' constant companions.
When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.
This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.”
My Review: Wow, what an epic finale! This series has been so intense and I can’t believe it’s over. It’s chop-full of gruesome and thrilling events. There’s fighting and action. Survival is probably the most prominent part of this series. You can learn a lot about survival just by reading this series. If Yellowstone ever blew up for real, you’d probably want these books as a guide to surviving the volcanic apocalypse.
And even more awesome is that this book takes place in Illinois, where I live! I live in Warrenville, not Warren, which is close to Dubuque and Galena, not Naperville and West Chicago like I am. I’ve been in that area and this series has a personal connection. When a dystopian series takes place in Illinois, like Divergent did, I can’t help wanting to go to the places mentioned. The author is from Indiana, and I like that he took real towns and places into account and integrated it into the story. Below are Google Earth images of Warren.
I love Alex and Darla. I ship the so much. Alex is a great guy and narrator of the story. He’s realistic and never mean, but sometimes likes to tease. Darla is a genius at anything mechanical or engineering related. It she has the information and know how, she could do it. She’s very strong and independent and seems to be the one taking care of Alex in these books, but when she reaches a low point, Alex is able to cheer her up. They contrast each other, but they both are loyal and get along. I enjoy their banter and teasing the most though.
The book was never boring, even when long periods of time are skipped over and just explained in a diary-like way. It manages to have just enough information. All the survival information keeps us interested and we don’t get bored finding out about the greenhouses they build, or Darla’s Bikezillas. It add to the world building, even if this is near-future post-apocalyptic. We can relate to the characters. I also loved that the chapters were kept short. This kept the story moving faster. If it was all solid text with no chapter breaks, then a book this long would seem daunting and you might just skim it.
The pacing is perfect. I can’t believe it’s over. It ended at a good point, but I want to know what happens next. The book takes place over 2 years of time, so it’s a long timeline already. I can’t believe some of the stuff that happened. One event especially grossed me out. My hand started aching just thinking about it. That’s one thing I wish didn’t happen in the book, but it did add to the story. It’s realistic that bad things happen when people don’t get along with each other.
If you have not read Ashfall then you are missing out. This is the best apocalyptic/post-apocalytic dystopian series I’ve read about survival. If you read Life As We Knew (The Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer) then this is similar, but from a male POV. Also if you read Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne, also similar. If you can’t get enough dystopian or sci-fi, then this series is a must read. Now with all three books out, you don’t have to wait to book binge the whole series! I
Cover Art Review: The cover is perfect for the book. The book actually mentions that Darla pictured Alex holding her left hand with his right and getting married.