Ashfall (Ashfall Series #1)

Ashfall (Ashfall Series #1)

by Mike Mullin

Paperback(First Trade Paper Edition)

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Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781933718743
Publisher: Tanglewood
Publication date: 10/16/2012
Series: Ashfall Series , #1
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 476
Sales rank: 65,025
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Mike Mullin first discovered he could make money writing in sixth grade. His teacher, Mrs. Brannon, occasionally paid students for using unusual words. Mullin’s first sale as a writer earned ten cents for one word: tenacious.
Since then, he has always been involved with literature. One of his early jobs was shelving books at Central Library in Indianapolis. Later, he paid his way through graduate school in part by serving as a reference assistant. Mullin has worked in his mother’s business, Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore, for more than twenty years, serving at various times as a store manager, buyer, school and library salesperson, and marketing consultant.
He wrote his first novel in elementary school — Captain Poopy’s Sewer Adventures. He’s been writing more or less nonstop ever since, but fortunately for his readers, Ashfall will be his first published novel. 
He holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Visit for more info about the author and Ashfall and its sequel, Ashen Winter.

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Ashfall 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 167 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Readers who enjoyed The Hunger Games and Matched will like this book, but it is the most realistic of the current young adult post apocalyptic genre. The violence is more graphic than in the dystopian fantasies and the central romance includes more than virginal kissing, but sex is implied rather than explicit. As an adult fan of the genre, I would recommend this book to my 14 year old son.
MichelleMadow More than 1 year ago
I love stories that revolve around natural disasters, so when I saw that Ashfall was available on NetGalley, I had to request a copy! Ashfall is the story of what happens to a teenage boy living in Iowa--Alex--when the supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park erupts and turns his state into a disaster zone. The action starts immediately when a flaming rock from the volcano crashes into Alex's house, and it continues non-stop! One thing that really stood out to me in this book was how well-researched it was. I could tell that Mike Mullin paid careful attention to the details (even when the details were gory) and that's important when writing about a volcanic disaster like the one that happens in Ashfall. Everything was researched and explained in a way that was clear to the reader -- one part that really stood out to me was when Darla had to butcher a rabbit and prepare it to eat. It was a very detailed (and not gonna lie, kind of gross), description, and reading those details made it apparent how much Alex's life had changed from when he could just go to the store and pick up pre-packaged sandwich meat. Speaking of Darla, she was an awesome character, and I love how she and Alex brought out the best in each other. Darla was tough and resourceful, and Alex was a little more sympathetic to others (and also resourceful, but Darla was the mechanic of the two of them). His taekwondo skills were also quite helpful on their journey! Speaking of his journey, I liked how he not only completed a physical journey, but an emotional one as well. He changed so much through the novel, going from a boy who liked to play video games, complained a lot, and fought with his mom, to someone who was stubborn, strong, and stuck through the toughest of situations. If you like natural disaster books, this is definitely one I recommend picking up. I also loved how in the authors notes, Mike Mullin talked about the facts behind the supervolcano. Very interesting to read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this thrilling, debut novel of "cataclysmic natural disaster," Alex Halprin lives in modern-day Cedar Falls, Idaho, playing video games and arguing with his little sister on a regular basis. One day when his family has left for the weekend to visit an uncle, the unthinkable happens: Yellowstone erupts in a volcanic super-eruption, leaving thousands of miles under layers of ash and projectile rock with no modern form of communication and few resources for immediate survivors. Alex begins the harrowing journey to Warren, Illinois, where his family is--he hopes--safely harbored with other relatives. Alex's journey is laborious and often heart wrenching as he cross-country skis through the ash. He makes his way through cities, towns, and open, desolated land, meeting friends and strangers alike and finds himself running from cutthroat murderers, looters, and others like him just trying to survive. At one stop, Alex passes out from injuries and ends up at a farm where strangers Darla and her mother nurse him back to health; a steady relationship begins to bond the two teenagers. When tragedy strikes again and forces them back on the road, Darla accompanies Alex on his journey to Illinois, and they continue to skirt danger, both environmental and man-made. It's a realistic, post-apocalyptic thriller. By that, I mean that the thrills are quick and gripping, but they aren't on every page; Mullin doesn't cop-out to the Hollywood-ready scripts that a lot of authors (James Patterson comes to mind) throw at young readers. Instead, Mullin has created a storyline full of highs and lows with mature downtime rooted in the everyday difficulties of physical and emotional survival. It's the mix of action, science, thrills, romance, and the nitty-gritty details that make this book so gripping and good. Recommended for ages 14+ because of mature content. (Full review online by Our Time in Juvie, kid's book reviews.)
reading2alba More than 1 year ago
Expected publication: October 11th 2011(Arc review) ...I found myself yawning and sleepy only a few hours later. There was no point in fighting it-the nightmares that haunted my dreams would beat the waking nightmare my life had become-so I let myself drift back to sleep. Mike Mullin= Genious! Really! It's one of the most amazing reads of this year and one you simply cannot miss! There's no cake before the hit, no preamble as to what you'll witness-not see- but seriously witness in the next sentence. So obviousl by the time I was on chapter 3...let's just say that hyperventilation is an understatement. The World as we know it seaced to exist that friday. Alex thought it'll be one of hist greates weekends since he finally won an argument with his mom, he'll stay in the house when his parents along with his sister Rebecca went on a trip. Making a promise to himself after the events on that friday, Alex goes on a journey that any other day would've taken 2 hours but now it didn't even seem likel he'd make it there alive. Making friends and a few enemies on his way he learns to appreciate every breath he's able to take, ever blink of his eyes, every bite of food in his mouth, and even a face-even unfamiliar-to look at. In the worst situation possible for an alone 15 year old, without your family and friends you get a real scoop of the true nature of the people yu thought you knew. When I thought I could have peace and my heart rate slowed down BOOM! another chatastrophy! At some point I thought wow this is a really big-large-book! and that I'd be reading more and more of the same but God!! was I wrong! Mullin's writting kept my heart rate so high I seriously was scared for my health! As for what I felt while reading this book? -I cried for whole new reasons while reading the book. - 2 times I jumped out of my skin and seat while reading due to little earthquakes here in my country!¬¬ -One of the most realisic, heartbreaking, cruel, and beautiful books I've ever read. The rawness of it all didn't let me relax for one bit. -The first book ever that left me wondering WHAT IF??? -The enormity of the story crushed all the pages from the book! I never thought I could get to dislike pork more than I do but I think Mullin got the job done pretty well. All in all the characters all where perfectly described and written beautifully!! And well what I kept from the book? That life can change in the blink of an eye. That we all have craziness inside us it's just that nothing bad enough has happened for us to notice. That money is just paper; one day you have it, the next you simply don't. But above everything else to not EVER NEVER take anything from granted! What will you be willing to do, give, and sacrifice when your survival is at stake? Will it include your humanity? A book that's realistic in one of the most terrifying ways... Do yourself a favor and don't miss this book for anything! 5/5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this series if you enjoy distopian science fiction, or coming of age fictions. I for sure recommend these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is about a self centered teen from Iowa, Alex, and survives the eruption of a supervolcano. He decides to look for his family, that he hates. Along the way he is injured and taken in by a widow and her teen daughter; Mrs. Edwards and Darla, on their farm. He is nursed back to health and given food and shelter. Bandits show up at the farm, Alex having led them there, and rape and murder Mrs. Edwards. After this, Darla follows Alex, saving his life along the way. Despite all that she has done for him, Alex takes advantage of Darla, manipulating her emotions having witnessed her mother's rape and murder, for his own ends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great its a thriller romance that is a real page turner. Everyone will love this book after they read it. I have ashfall syndrom i couldnt put the book down. I highly recommend it to everyone
MBMullin More than 1 year ago
Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don't realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the earth forever. Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when Yellowstone erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away. Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait-to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano. For readers who loved HATCHET when they were younger; for teens who want kick-ass heroines; for those who want flawed heroes who make mistakes, live through them, and keep on trying; for readers who wonder if they'd be able to maintain their human decency in the face of nearly insurmountable odds. This is the must read fall release of 2011.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like a good disaster movie and when that's something you can accomplish in a book, more power to you. Mullin took the idea of the super volcano (the one under Yellowstone) and made it real. It reminded me of Life as we Knew It, only without the emotional drain of that book. Both are good in different ways, but Ashfall was way easier to read and I'm fine with that, because I want to know what happens next. I liked Darla and Alex, their story is intruding and both characters are tough. I love that Mullin made Darla the stronger of the two, both mentally and physically. But I also like that they weren't perfect, either. This only got 3.5 stars because I liked it, but didn't really love it. I definitely do want to read the next book, too.
nlsobon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Ashfall¿ may start off slow in the beginning, but the payoff in the end is wonderful.I¿ll be the first to admit I requested this title off of NetGalley based on the cover alone. The cover for ¿Ashfall¿ is absolutely perfect ¿ it captures the tone of the story wonderfully. I was happy to see that the pages within were just as wonderful.The story is about Alex, a young boy who has found himself alone at home for the weekend when the chaos begins. His family took off to visit family a few hours earlier. Leaving Alex alone when his house catches on fire.Alex goes in search of help, running to the local fire station. After trying to contact back up, the firefighters bring Alex back to his house where they manage to put out the fire, although they still can¿t figure out what caused it.That¿s when all hell breaks loose.It¿s a tale of survival in which the world as we once knew it no longer exists.Honestly, ¿Ashfall¿ is one of those books that¿ll keep you up all night because you won¿t be able to put it down until you¿re finished. It¿s that good.What makes this book excellent is that this is an apocalyptic story that could actually happen. It¿s set in the real world, in the present time. On top of that, the characters, mainly Alex and Darla, are wonderfully developed characters.Would I recommend ¿Ashfall¿? Without a doubt, yes.
BookishDame on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amazing dystopian novel gives us a frightening story of what would likely happen if a super volcano erupted in, for instance, Yellowstone National Park particularly affecting the heartland of our country. There actually is such a volcanic crater there which has erupted in the far past, by the way. And Yellowstone also sits on an earthquake fault line that could prove to be a devastating national disaster, as well.Following the story of 16 year old Alex as he's left alone in the beginnings of the eruption and its aftermath, we experience his horrific walk thorugh survival. As he struggles to find his family, the book is full of shocking moments and times that seemed so terrifyingly possible it made me cringe. I just couldn't stop reading this book!When the first "surprise" hits which nobody can really identify; it rips through Alex's house like a fallen comet, nearly crushing him and almost burning his house to the ground. Soon neighborhood homes are burning down, cell and land line phones are dead, sunlight disappears completely, an ear-splitting noise hurts and deafens them and explosion after explosion terrifies. With all electricity gone,appliances and greater communications rots, natural foods and farm animals die, people become violent, and more. I can't spoil this for you any further!Since Alex's family has gone to visit his Uncle's farm in Illinois, he is compelled to rejoin them and starts on a nearly impossible journey to do just that. It is this journey of survival and unimaginable horror that makes up the novel.I've never read such a book as "Ashfall." I'm glad I've read this one, however. I hadn't imagined what a world would be like in a really major natural crisis that would destroy our country. Perhaps my mind just hasn't wanted to go there. Will Durant is quoted by the author at the beginning of the novel. "Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice."We do exist by geological "consent" as shown by worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and such, but it didn't really hit home to me that our country sits on one of the most violent and deadly volcanoes in the world."Ashfall" is an eye-opener and it is also a beautiful love story, a survival manual, and a story of good versus evil. I very highly recommend it to everyone I know! Don't miss this may need the survival skills--we may never know.This is the first book in a series. I can't wait to read the next one. Mike Mullins is a fabulous writer.5 volcanic starsDeborah/TheBookishDame
susiesharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alex lives in Cedar Rapids Iowa his parents have left him home alone for the weekend but it¿s not the weekend he is hoping it will be when something crashes into his house and burns it to the ground you¿d think that would be the worst of it but it is only the beginning. A Supervolcano in Yellowstone has gone off and changed the world as we know it; Alex sets off to find his family in a trek of survival, starvation and terror. Along the way Alex¿s will is tested he does find some nice people that help him along the way but he also runs into people who would do him harm. He ends up at the farmhouse of Darla and her mother but tragedy strikes there too so he and Darla set off cross country to find his family. The vivid descriptions of our world after the volcano the ash fall, the blocking out of the sun, the noise, the snow, and just trying to survive. This book doesn¿t show our government in a very good light but honestly I could see it happening. Alex is a strong willed boy but Darla is strong and being a farm girl knows things about survival that city boy Alex never could. They make a great pair and I don¿t think either one could have survived without the other. It was refreshing to have a male lead character yes there is a female but she is later in the book and compliments our male lead very well. This book was scary in the way that this could really happen and since I live only a few states away from Yellowstone it hit home a bit. This book also made me curious enough about the Supervolcano that I looked things up and watched the BBC movie Supervolcano. One of the best quotes from this book about the inhumanity these kids saw was... ¿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.¿ I enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down and look forward to the next installment in this series. I received this book from netgalley and will definitely be buying this book for the city library I work at. 4 ½ Stars
saffron12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Today, at the grocery store, I saw vitamin C tablets. My first impulse was to stock up and buy them all . . . which sums up the impact this book had on me this week. Near the end of the book, the local doctor explains that a lot of people had scurvy and the vitamin C was worth its weight in gold. Overall, this disaster novel was powerful . . . I could not put it down and stayed up half of the night to finish it. Every few years, a disaster (particularly earth science-related) book gets my attention that pulls me in immediately. I look forward to the sequel. I have to agree with another reviewer, in that I wish we had a chance to get to know the protagonist, Alex, a little more in the time before the disaster (the huge dormant volcano under Yellowstone blows, and Iowa is in the "red zone"). We get hints as to his previous life, but they are brief and fleeting. What we know most is that he is good at tae kwan do, because that comes in handy in his travels to reconnect with his family.
rapikk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A worthy addition to the post-apocalyptic genre. It was similar in style and feel to Life as We Knew It. When a supervolcano erupts unexpectedly near Alex's Iowa home, he is separated from his parents. Desperate to reunite with them, he begins the dangerous journey in the midst of a cataclysmic ashfall. Facing hunger, injury and violence, Alex also finds unexpected friendship and help. I'm eager to read the sequel, Ashen Winter, due out in October.
katlb82 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ashfall is one of my favourite genres, post-apocalyptic, and one of my least favourite genres (for many reasons), Young Adult. My aversion to Young Adult novels comes from reading, or more frequently, starting to read, novels in the YA genre that feel far too simplified and clichéd for my tastes.Having said that, although Ashfall is a YA novel, it all stands out as a great post-apocalyptic novel in a genre currently awash with new ideas and viewpoints, different events and outcomes and questionable ideas on the moral behavior of human beings in a crisis.The story starts with Alex, a teenage boy left at home for a weekend whilst his parents travel to his Uncle¿s farm, two hours drive away. Within hours of being left to his own devices, a super-volcano at Yellowstone erupts, raining ash over the town where he lives and the surrounding areas. Desperate to find his parents, and despite a serious lack of resources, he decides to travel to the farm to reunite with his family.On his journey, punctuated by experiences with the good, the bad and the ugly of the human race, he meets Darla, a head-strong, inventive and determined girl and after a devastating event, becomes his travelling companion and girlfriend in his quest to find his family. The landscape is harsh, food scarce in an environment where all livestock and food sources have been smothered and crushed by the ash fall, buildings have collapsed under the weight of the fall, and the extreme change in the atmosphere has caused a severe, early-onset winter. People are, rightly-so, incredibly defensive of what they have, desperate to have what they don¿t and are driven to the most extreme behavior imaginable.There are parts of this novel that I found to be unnecessary to the story, and I found the `love story¿ particularly hard to swallow. However, in the author¿s defense, this perspective in any post-apocalyptic story is hard to convey convincingly, without falling into the almost inevitable clichés.The challenges faced by Alex and Darla on their journey are fully imaginable and probable in such extreme conditions and are very realistically portrayed. Their experiences with the Army and organized humanitarian aid is particularly feasible in a world that has become ever more reliant on instant results and trade to maintain their current standards of living, with small stockpiles of food and supplies.I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in PA, or YA that is a little more mature - but even if you aren¿t into YA, you can easily overlook the parts of the story that may not be to your personal tastes if you are the kind of reader that can downplay the facets of the story that you find slightly clichéd.I will keep an eye out for the next book in the trilogy.
eenerd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Spooky sci-fi tale about the global fallout from the eruption of the supervolcano located at Yellowstone National Park. Told from the view of teen Alex-whose house in Iowa is destroyed by a projectile from the eruption and then sets out in the descending volcanic winter and ensuing famine and lawlessness, in order to find his family who should be at his uncles farm in Illinois. At times grisly, but an honest look at how the world could change after such an event. Alex (and eventually his friend Darla) show us the complexities of dealing with the basic survival issues on top of more existential questions, like who we are, which we begin to face during adolescence. Complex and thought-provoking.
NCRainstorm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ashfall is a great, unique view into a post-apocalyptic world. I never heard of a supervolcano before, and I don't think Alex had either; but when it erupts, his entire life changes. Mike Mullin takes this plot and runs with it, sparing no sensibilities. There is violence, bloodshed, and rape. All the baser instincts of human beings are brought to life, as any such catastrophe would bring them out.Alex has to grow up quickly in this new world. He learns to fend for himself and deal with a lot of really bad situations. Yet, he seems to retain a sense of innocence and hope that is quite endearing. Darla provided a strong partner for him, someone to help and to cling to when things got rough.The only real negative I have for this book is that it was too long. There was a lot of repetitiousness during travel scenes. I know some of that was done to instill the sense of the long hard trek, but as a reader, I thought it was taken too far.If you're a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories, as I am, then Ashfall is for you. Because of the violence, it's not for tweenyboppers or younger. But more mature young adults and older will love it!*Disclaimer: I received this book from the publishers through Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review.
Bookswithbite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As I began this book, I was just overwhelmed with the amazing writing in this book. Every single word is explicit, showing and letting the reader feel everything of Ashfall. Not only did Mr. Mullin created such a world that anyone can step into, he brought his writing to life like I have never seen before.What I liked most about this book is the great plot line. I loved that it is based on real facts on something that could happen. As the reader, you are immersed in the city full of ashes, the smoking burning through your nostrils and the thrill of a journey to come.Mr. Mullins characters are so powerfully written. I loved that they grew tremendously before your eyes. They are no longer teens, but men and women trying to survive in the new world. Mr. Mullin brought out the fierceness and animalistic traits in humans yearning for food, shelter, and medicine. At first, while I was reading this, I thought,"No, this can't be." But oh yes, it indeed was. There were some gruesome scenes, but it is all to be expected in this world.My final thought is ,"No. Please don't be over yet!" I wanted more. I needed more. This story definitely left a burning hole in my chest of what is to come of this author. Should you read it! YES! I recommend this book for 16+. There are some mature scenes. Ashfall is beautiful, darkly written book of a future we could have. One that will have you thinking twice about what out future could look like. Right after reading this book as I closed it I said," Babe, I think we should make fall out shelter."
Bendingthespine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
All Alex wants is a weekend away from his family. He is finally old enough to be left at home while the family goes on a trip to his uncle¿s farm. But as the ash starts to fall Alex has no idea if he will ever see his family again.I enjoy dystopian novels, but Ashfall came as a complete and wonderful surprise. The details that Mullin lays out are amazingly crisp. This supervolcano has just blown and because of Mullin¿s great writing I could smell the sulfur in the air, hear the ear deafening blast, feel the ash and snow crunch beneath my feet. Every detail being completely thought out and believable.Alex is the best YA character I have read in a long time. He starts off this normal fifteen year old boy and by the end of the book he has grown into a man (not in age, but in reality) because of all the decisions and situations he has been put into. I do have one small problem with Alex¿ Come on Mr. Mullin no fifteen year old is THAT good at Tae Kwon Do. But the Tae Kwon Do did come in handy quite a few times, so I guess it a good thing Alex has such amazing skills.Even though I love Alex, if I could pick anyone in this novel to be it would have to be Darla. The girl is amazing! Alex meets Darla after being stabbed and she just sews him right up. She knows how to do everything. Fix machines, slaughter animals for food, make graveyard headstones into corn grinders. If it¿s the end of the world and you¿re wanting to live for a little longer, you might want to stick around Darla. As much as I loved Ashfall it was hard to read at times. The gritty humanity that was laid out for me to read during an apocalyptic time was more real than I was wanting at times but that¿s what made it great. I felt every emotion as I went through this book, yes there was even some humor, and I can¿t wait for the sequel.Happy ReadingRebecca
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got an eGalley of this book through NetGalley(dot)com. I love reading survival, post-apocalyptic type books and was eager to read about a world in which the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts (I was just in Yellowstone a couple weeks ago, so it was strangely fitting). This was a good book; not exceptional but a decent read. A sequel called, Ashen Winter, is planned for release in October 2012.Sixteen year old Alex is spending a weekend at home alone when his house is hit by something and set on fire. Little does he know that the supervolcano in Yellowstone has erupted. As ash clogs the air, temperatures drop, and civilization collapses Alex decides to travel to the east in an effort to reach his parents. Along the way he struggles with ash filled air, lack of food, and desperate humans doing what they much to survive.You can't help but compare this book to Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Granted that book is about an asteroid hitting the moon, but the results are similar. In that book many volcanoes erupt causing the characters to face many of the issues (if in a bit smaller scale) that Alex faces in this book. While I enjoyed reading this book, I couldn't help but feel that I've read about a lot of these issues (air quality, blocking out sunlight, long winters, lawless humanity) before.This book has a lot of themes that other post-apocalyptic books do. Alex not only struggles against nature but against other humans trying to survive in a lawless society. You also see similar themes of refuge camps being horrible places to live and the military taking advantage of humans who don't have the firepower they do. Basically when faced with mass destruction, humanity shows both its best and worst face.Alex is an interesting character; he knows karate so that gave him a good skill set for surviving the lawlessness he faced during his travels. He is also very resourceful as he shows by realizing that skis would travel well over ash (although anyone familiar with snow would probably draw the same conclusions).Things get a lot more interesting when he meets up with Darla. Darla is incredibly strong, resourceful, and really an amazing girl. Her and Alex make a great team and watching them fall in love between attacks, horrible storms, and refuge camps is especially touching. The book is paced well and the question that really drives the story forward is will Alex make it to his parents. The way the story ends is well done but definitely set up for a sequel. The book is well-written, easy to read, and engaging. The author includes an excellent afterward talking about Yellowstone and some of the other volcano eruptions the story is based on.Overall while I enjoyed this book I didn't think it was incredibly original. Alex faces many of the same problems that the characters in Life as We Knew It face. The same issues of lawlessness, starvation, air quality, refuge camps, and abandonment by the government are dealt with. This book is a bit more violent than Life as We Knew was. The thing that sets this book apart from other post-apocalyptic books is the relationship that develops between Alex and Darla. Both of these characters are amazingly resourceful and watching them fall in love through all the hardships they face was a beautiful thing. The book is well-written and I would recommend to those who enjoy post-apocalyptic YA reads. I would also recommend Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, and The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell.
Urbanfan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are many things that make Ashfall a must read and one of my top picks for 2011 debuts. I¿ve read early reviews stating ¿Mike Mullin is a genius.¿ One of the definitions for genius is: A strong natural talent, aptitude, or inclination. Yes, Mike Mullin is a genius as far as Ashfall is concerned. This is a fantastic young adult debut with a fascinating post-apocalyptic plot. My overall feelings while reading this book were wonder and inadequacy. Wonder at the fantastic story unfolding and inadequacy when placing myself in the events that play out. The plot is scary in an all too real way with events that could actually happen. In fact, I¿ve read similar behavior being displayed by real people in times of disaster. Chills and the thought ¿I have no idea how to give a proper round kick¿ consumed my thoughts. I¿ve worked out even harder since finishing, seriously. I¿m strong but self defense skills could be priceless. This book gets under your skin in an eye opening way. I could really see this happening! The research behind making this story work is spot on in a creepy way. I am a very character driven reader. This book is a plot driven book that feels character driven. The events and the actions the characters are involved are forced on them by the plot. However, the characters are written with such humanness that relating to them is inevitable. You feel there is choice, which there is to some degree, but really because of what the plot dishes out. They are choices within imposed circumstances. Brilliantly done! Let¿s talk about the romance in this book. The feel of this romance is different than the norm for me and I¿m thinking because it¿s written from a male writer. This is actually very refreshing and shows the differences in how men and women think. In a `typical¿ romance written by women, there is a lot of emotion, the character letting us into their inner emotional thoughts, lots of thinking and feelings going on. With the main character, Alex, I could completely see why Darla fell for him. But I couldn¿t put my finger on why until I thought back to what psychology tells us women look for in a man: feeling safe, strong, capable, caring, being attentive. Alex provides the basic needs a woman looks for in a companion and even though these are young adult characters, the hard wired needs are still there. Darla is a strong character and very capable in her own right. She doesn¿t need Alex to survive this event, but having him as an equal partner sure makes the difficult times more bearable. I completely understand why these two become attracted to each other. The skills both of them bring to the table are amazing. I swear, I hope my children are interested in some sort of martial arts and science because they would be unstoppable in a disaster. If there was ever a book to make you pay more attention in school and learn how to do Mortal Kombat moves without a controller, this one could be it. Excellent writing all around. The story was paced perfectly. There were no plot holes that I could find. The story flows and carries you through each turn and event. The sequel to this book I¿m already itching for. I highly recommend this book to reading fans in general.
LauraMoore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It has taken me a few days to be able to put my thoughts together enough to write this review, and I still don't think i'll be able to do this book justice. Mike Mullin made me reminesce to my past of why I fell in love with reading in the first place. I'm sure you guys have all heard of/read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. This book had that feel for me, and as a young girl that book had a huge impact on my love for reading. The theme of survial of the fittest, and going to extreme measure to survive captivated me from the very first page. This book also reminding me of the movie, Dante's Peak which growing up was one of my favorite movies. Now let me say this book is extremely original and i've never read anything that came close to the subject matter of this book.This book follows a young boys journey through the devastating aftermath of a supervolcano that has erupted in Yellowstone National Park. As soon as I heard the synopsis for this book, I knew I needed to read it, because anything dealing with natural disasters and disasters in general always peak my interest and I love learning about them. Mike Mullin captivated me from the first page, to the very last sentance, and even then I didn't want it to end, and cannot wait for Ashen Winter, which is the sequel due out in Fall of 2012. This book is not for the faint of heart, and honestly if the protaginists weren't teenagers I would say this book is an adult book strictly because of the content, parts of this book are extremely graphic, but in my opinion extremely neccesary to the overall impact of the book, he makes you really understand the struggles that these survivors go through, and although parts of this novel shook me up, it never felt like it was forced or put into the story simply for dramatic effect. Mike Mullin literally blew my mind and rocked my socks off with this book. Hands down the best debut i've read all year, dare I say best book i've read all year, and definitely in my top ten books EVER!! This is not a book to pass by. Mike Mullin is a literary superstar and i'm sure he'll be around for a long time to come in the literary world!!
Bibliotropic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's not easy to do post-apocalyptic settings as well as some people think. Coming up with a reason why the world's in chaos is the simple part. Figuring out all the tiny ramifications of how it would affect people is difficult, and it's so easy to misstep, to make errors that you don't even know are errors.And I have this to say about Ashfall: I found no errors. It's incredibly obvious that Mullin did his homework when it comes to his story of the aftermath of a supervolcanic eruption in the United States. I don't just mean the way people are bound to panic, to hurt others, to act stupid and selfish and for society to fall apart on itself. I'm referring to the way Mullin obviously consulted wilderness survival guides and picked up details about the actual effects of hypothermia on humans, or the abilities of people who've been on starvation diets for weeks. The little details were all there, and while they may not all have been strictly necessary, they all come together to add depth and richness to the story that set it apart from many other post-apocalyptic books I've read in the past.The story centres around Alex, whose parents and sister left him at home while they went to visit family in another state. In their absense, the volcano at Yellowstone erupts, causing massive and widespread effects across the United States. Extreme changes in weather patterns, crop devastation, water supplies sinking, and people panicking everywhere. Through this, Alex feels the need to be reunited with his family, and sets out into the newly chaotic wild world around him, hoping to get to where they were going so they could all be together again.Along the way, in the tradition of many wanderers, he meets many people, from the kindly farm couple who give him food and shelter, to the escaped convict who tries to kill him. He also meets Darla, whom he begins a relationship with in what I thought was a very realistic fashion given the circumstances. Love didn't blind them to the harshness of life, it didn't consume their every waking thought, they didn't spend entire chapters angsting over it, but their affection ran deep and that showed quite well. They're a couple I can really get invested in because their couple-hood doesn't dominate every aspect of their lives.In many ways, this is not an easy book to read. There's violent and bloody death, both in self-defense and psychopathic rage. People die of exposure and starvation. Women get raped. Girls in the refugee camp prostitute themselves to soldiers for extra food.But the uncomfortable aspects of the story are what go a long way to making it all so realistic, and for that, I can to commend Mullin for his superb execution of a tale of the darker side of humanity in chaos. He peppers that ugly darkness with a generous helping of hope and optimism, of Alex's unfailing determination to keep going on to reunite with his family, of love that can blossom in the hardest of circumstances. Mullin has shown his colours as a fantastic storyteller, and as a book for older teens, this one leaves my hands very highly recommended.
amanderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read an advance e-galley of this courtesy of Netgalley. It's a decent young adult dystopian debut novel. It's not on par with Bacigalupi's fabulous Ship Breaker, for ex., but it's a quick, action filled, sometimes disturbing survival story (not too graphic rape; murder; mention of cannibals). For older teens, obviously. 15 year old Alex is holding down the fort at his home in Iowa while the rest of his family is off visiting his uncle's farm in Illinois, when something blasts through the roof and causes his house to burn down. That something turns out to be projectiles from an unexpected eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. (Didn't know there was such a thing as a supervolcano at Yellowstone and having read about it now it's rather alarming, although unlikely to happen in our lifetime. Probably. And we'd doubtless get advance warnings the way we did with Mt St Helens, but hey, artistic license.) Alex manages to escape the fire, and gets assistance from neighbors, as the barrage of sound from the far away eruption continues. When it stops, they find that the eruption has caused massive power, telephone outages, and chaos, grey, dark sunless days, and has covered the country (at least as far as Iowa) in thick ashfall. Some rather graphic violence occurs at the neighbors' - Alex finds his martial arts training helpful - and he decides to make his way on his own through the ash on skis to try and find his family in Illinois. Vehicles are out of commission due to the corrosive ash. He finds violence, anarchy, martial law, corrupt officials and romance with a tough farm girl along the way. Teens and YA fic loving adults should enjoy the story of Alex's struggles and maturation, and his growing relationship with the appealing character of Darla. This is clearly the first in an intended series.
AyleeArgh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In short: Ashfall by Mike Mullin presents a very real and scary post-apocalyptic setting, one which showcases the very best and the very worst of humanity in equal amounts, at every turn.A supervolcano erupts, plunging North America into darkness and a deluge of ash. There is mass chaos as people struggle to find shelter and food in an atmosphere of so much destruction. This is something author Mike Mullin does very well in Ashfall: both the science behind such a destructive explosion and the actions people take in such an intense post-apocalyptic setting were very realistic and well done. Ashfall showcases the very best and the very worst in people; you are equally as likely to run into a good and honourable person as you are a bad and nefarious one.I adored Alex, the protagonist of Ashfall. Though inherently nerdy and a bit ungrateful towards his family in the beginning, he soon learns after being separated from them that he shouldn't have taken them for granted and treks 100 miles across the country to be reunited with them. Alex is one of the most moral and noble characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Even in the face of extreme danger and hunger, he manages to put others before himself and does the honourable thing. I was also pleased that Mike Mullin had written a male character with legitimate male feelings towards sex. Too often the male narrators I read about have only the very most chaste thoughts about girls and sex, which is frankly ridiculous.My one quibble with Ashfall was the writing style. There were an excessive amount of details, everything from every step taken to prepare a rabbit for a meal to every bathroom break taken, which seemed unnecessary and pointless. At 466 pages, Ashfall was a lengthy read that could have easily been edited and made shorter, I feel. I will say this though: despite the excessive details, I was never bored. Mike Mullin maintains the action and intrigue throughout Ashfall, which I appreciated.Overall, Ashfall was a very realistic post-apocalyptic read with a lovable and moral narrator. Ashfall is in stores now and the sequel, Ashen Winter, will be published in October 2012.