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.
Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.
Ashfall is a wonderful debut novel by Mike Mullin. It’s very well thought out and realistic. The eruption of a supervolcano that destroys so much is a very scary thing. He does an excellent job of showing the nature of people when a natural disaster of this magnitude strikes. The good, and the very, very bad. People can become very ugly when a crisis like this happens, and the author put to page some of the worst humans can become when desperate.
I liked the characters very much, and I could feel my heart breaking for them in several places of the book. Some situations are very gruesome and tough to deal with, but in a world so rough, there are going to be plenty of harsh times. Alex did a lot of changing through his journey, starting off as a shelfish teenager who wants to stay at home instead of going to have a good family weekend at his uncle’s farm and turning into a much stronger, grown version of himself who would do anything for those he cared for. I really liked Darla as well; she is a very strong female, and having been raised on a farm, is very resourceful and smart.
This book is so raw and real. I liked the romantic aspect of it because it wasn’t the typical type of YA romance. How could it be in this kind of world? I liked the bond between Alex and Darla, and that they could find something good in a place so wrought with destruction and ugliness.
Ashfall evokes plenty of emotions and is a very powerful story. There were numerous times I was so mad at the behavior of people, but it is most likely what would happen if people were in this kind of situation. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about were the slower points during travels. The action points were good and fast-paced, but while travelling through the ashen wasteland, it dragged a bit for me. All in all, I really enjoyed it and I will definitely be reading the next installment.
Very real, emotionally involving, riveting, thought some slow points.