Author: Mike Mullin
Release Date: October 2011
Published By: Tanglewood Press
Goodreads Rating: 4.24 stars
Review: Alex is your ordinary teenage boy, left home alone for the weekend while his parents and little sister visited relatives. But while they were gone, a dormant supervolcano became active again and erupted, sending ash and disaster across a newly-transformed landscape. Now he must trek through this stricken new world, facing not just the absence of every modern convenience but people driven to desperate measures, and do everything he can to be reunited with his family.
One of the first things I noticed about ASHFALL was its unique apocalyptic premise. I've never read a book before that dealt with a supervolcano explosion, so in that regard, this novel really stood out. Aside from premise, it also portrayed the apocalyptic scenario quite realistically, both in terms of science and how people will react. I've read too many books where people become all good and selfless, and while there were some kind people, most of the background characters here were desperate, cruel, or driven insane, just like what would most likely happen.
However, while I enjoyed the plot, the book just didn't hold my attention very well. I liked reading it, but it wasn't as gripping or suspenseful as I feel a book, particular of this genre, should be. Additionally, the ending really bothered me because it just didn't provide a very clear resolution. Though I understand that this is the first in a series, I wanted more of a closed story so it didn't just end in that sudden twist.
ASHFALL presents a unique premise that makes it stand apart from many other apocalyptic novels, although other than that, it didn't keep me on my toes and flipping pages. However, looking at reviews on Goodreads, I seem to be in the minority on this point, and despite my dissatisfaction with the ending, I would still recommend this to fans of apocalyptic fiction. Just a note: be wary if you're very squeamish, because there is blood and descriptions of wounds that had me cringing a little.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review. This in no way affected my review.