Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin (ARC)

Ashen Winter
Mike Mullin
Exp. Pub.: October 16, 2012 TODAY!!!

Ashen Winter (Ashfall, #2)It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

So Ashfall was pretty awesome, with Alex running for his life from the supervolcano that covered his part of the world with ash, so I had pretty high expectations of Ashen Winter. I've had this book forever and kept pushing it off. Not that I wasn't expecting it to be awesome too, but you have to be in the right mind set to read one of Mike Mullin's books, cause the descriptions and horrors within are so spot-on and realistic, it's hard not imagine this could happen in reality any day now, and that's just disburbing...

The worst things you can think of that would happen in a desperate world, yep, they happen. People easily kill others for their supplies, women are stolen and sold as sexual slaves, patches of people become cannibals and eat your friends to survive, and of course the local militia, who are supposed to protect you, become corrupt and are easily bribed to look the other way. This is the horrible new world.
When a group of bandits threaten the farmsted, one of the shotguns used to attack them belonged to Alex's father. When he learns his parents are most likely back in the same horrible camp he and Darla escaped from the year before, they set off to rescue them, navigating this cruel new world. They happen upon trully unimaginable horrors, which I'm gonna let you discover for yourself, and combine their efforts with a few more teenagers, which are usually more of a hinderance than helpful.
By the end, I trully disliked Alex's mother. She was willing to risk her life and stay in that horrible camp to keep the young girls safe and force Alex to stay too, but the moment she was free and it was Alex's turn to save a girl, she fought him tooth and nail to return to the farmsted and forget about his meaningless teenage romantic interest...trully wanted to smack the witch. Nothing he could say could convince her how important Darla was to him. And the more I read, the more I began to feel like I was in an episode of Jericho, with the towns ready to decimate one another just to get their reserves, which is clearly where book three is headed.
If you were able to stomach the first, you'll love the second as well, though your stomach will be just as quesy, if not a little more. But hey, it's a good lesson of survival should something similar ever happen in our lifetime.
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley for honest review.
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