05. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Teen Books

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick, 465 pages, read by Courtney, on 11/05/2012

Now here’s a very interesting twist on the zombie genre…an EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse) bomb goes off, fries all electronics and scrambles the synapses in the heads of the vast majority of the population. Alex is out in the woods, preparing to release her parent’s ashes while she still can. Alex has an incurable brain tumor that has already taken her sense of smell and left her with a death sentence looming over her head. She is out camping when the EMP bomb (or series of bombs) goes off. With her is a young girl, Ellie and her dog, Mina. Ellie has recently lost her father to active military service in Iraq and has now seen her grandfather die when his pacemaker is taken out by the EMP. Alex and Ellie continue their trek through the woods, hoping to find a ranger station and get help. Along the way they meet Tom, a young soldier on leave from Afghanistan. Together, the three attempt to survive in the face of diminishing supplies, violent survivors and the brain-scrambled “zombies” who are all the more scary for their adaptive capabilities. About the only thing actually going in Alex’s favor is the “zap” scrambled her brain such that her sense of smell returns better than ever. In fact, she can smell threats coming…
So much goes on and happens here that there are about a zillion questions that the reader will have left by the end of this installment. How long can the three survive? How long can they survive alone? What really did happen to Ellie, Mina and Tom? What’s with the uber-strange town of Rule? And who the heck though it was a good idea to set off a series of EMPs anyway? Here’s hoping the next book offers more answers. I was getting pretty frustrated with Alex by the end, so I hope she pulls herself together and becomes the protagonist we all wanted her to be.

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