Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (2)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (10)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

40 / 52 books. 77% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

26 / 100 books. 26% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

64 / 104 books. 62% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

69 / 165 books. 42% done!
Monday, October 01, 2012

Volcanoes and Cannibals and Kale Farms, Oh My!

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Ashen Winter, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Ashfall.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

It's been ten months since the supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park blew its top, smothering the nation in a thick layer of ash.  After a long, dangerous trek from his home in Iowa to his uncle's farm in Illinois, 16-year-old Alex Halprin is finally safe.  He's not living in luxury, by any means, but he's found a permanent place to live, he's helping to grow the kale that's keeping people alive, he's surrounded by family members—his aunt, uncle, cousin and younger sister, Rebecca—and he's sharing a bedroom with his girlfriend, 18-year-old Darla Edmunds.  If it weren't for the fact that his world's turned into a post-apocalyptic nightmare and his parents are lost in it somewhere, life wouldn't be all that bad.  

But the world has gone to pot and his mom and dad are still unaccounted for and Alex won't rest until he finds them.  He doesn't want to leave the only family he's sure he still has, but he has to know what's happened to his parents.  So, Alex and Darla gear up for another hike across the Midwest.  They're headed back to Cedar Falls, Iowa, across 140 miles of barren terrain.  Every mile will be a battle against hunger, thirst, snow, fatigue and, of course, ragtag groups of dangerous, desperate Midwesterners.  Letting their guard down for even a second can mean death or worse—being eaten by cannibals.  It will take every last ounce of their courage, cunning and craftiness to make it to their destination alive.

Like Ashfall before it, Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin (available October 16, 2012) tells a fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled survival story.  In fact, it rarely stops to take a breath.  It's all action, all the time.  Character development doesn't suffer for it, though, as Alex and Darla continue to get fleshed out, making them more sympathetic and compelling with every page.  Ashen Winter does take the whole cannibal thing to a new level, which got so nauseating at times I considered putting the book down altogether.  I couldn't, though, not without knowing what became of Alex and Darla.  If you have a weak stomach, you might want to steer clear, because once you get into this series, there really is no getting out.  Like I've said before, it's not the most original YA dystopian or the most brilliant, but there's something about it that keeps me reading—even when my grossed-out stomach is screaming, "Stop!  Please, for the love of all that's holy, make it stop!"  Ah, cannibals.  They're just so compelling that way.       

(Readalikes:  Ashfall by Mike Mullin; also The Road by Cormac McCarthy; The Last Survivors trilogy [Life As We Knew It; The Dead & the Gone; The World We Live In] by Susan Beth Pfeffer; and a little like the Gone series [Gone; Hunger; Lies; Plague; Fear] by Michael Grant)

Grade:  B

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG-13 (possibly R) for violence/gore, sexual content and language (no F-bombs)

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Ashen Winter from the generous folks at Tanglewood Press via Netgalley.  Thank you!


  1. I just don't get it. So he was relatively comfortable and he decides to go back out into the world and suffer starvation etc? Sounds like a lame excuse to write another book.

    Sorry, I'm being a negative nancy today.

    1. He had to find his parents, of course! Isn't that worth the risk of starvation or even death? Besides, "safe" is always relative in a post-apocalyptic world ...

  2. First: this is the Best. Post. Title. EVER! Lol! Second, I had the same reaction to Angelfall by Susan Ee. I was horrified, I was grossed out, I wanted to stop reading but, I couldn't!


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive