Thursday, November 24, 2016

Book Review: "Ashfall" by Mike Mullin

Mere hours after Alex's family leaves him home alone for the weekend, a major catastrophe occurs.  The super volcano under Yellowstone National Park erupts, sending everything into chaos.  Even though he is in Iowa, he is still close enough.  After surviving the initial event, and then watching neighbors turn on each other in this new anarchy of 'kill or be killed' world of survival, Alex takes off to find his family at his uncle's house across the Mississippi.  Along the way, he meets up with Darla.  Together they do what they must to survive, and it isn't pretty.

I had never heard of this book before.  But while at a recent library conference, I met someone who (in the context of our conversation) started telling me all about it.  It is so incredible when someone gets so into talking about a book they loved, and even though she did tell me everything - I still wanted to read it.

It really is a clever premise, and the author's note at the end discusses how this really could happen.  As in, there really is a super volcano in/under Yellowstone and it could be due to erupt.  Will it?  Probably not anytime soon, and I do believe that today's technology would give us fair warning.  But what if?  This imagines all the different aspects of life that would be affected:  the weather, crops, food supply, farm animals, transportation, human nature...  things get desperate and you cannot count of desperate people to do the right thing.  Alex makes some good decisions (and maybe some not so great ones) and it helps that he is accomplished in the martial arts.  Darla is a mechanical whiz and the two of them make a great team.  They sort of have to.

I found myself reading this a bit more intently than I expected; I was really caught up in the intensity of certain scenes.  I think this is a great book that was not on my radar at all, but I think would definitely be a great recommendation for reluctant readers (as long as they aren't overwhelmed by the page count) and for those who love a good survival story.

*****
Ashfall
by Mike Mullin
Tanglewood, 2010
460 pages
Series:  Ashfall #1
Source:  Library
*****

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