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Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

Sunday, October 14, 2012
SYNOPSIS: It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano. 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.

When I sat down and went through the books that needed to be read and reviewed, Ashen Winter was not one that really stood out to me. Though I decided to give it a shot and hoped it wouldn’t disappoint. And I am thrilled to say it did not disappoint me in the slightest way, well maybe how it ended. When I began to read Ashen Winter, I must admit I didn’t quite understand what was going on quite yet since I hadn’t read the previous book Ashfall. However, after reading a couple of chapters the picture became clear. Months after a super volcano erupted the world was a different place, where everyone struggled to survive. After a group of bandits attack Alex’s uncles’ farm, where he and Darla have taken refuge, a clue is uncovered. Now Alex has decided to go in search of his parents, whom no one has seen nor heard from since they left in search for Alex before he arrived to the family farm. Of course, the strong-willed, smart and brave Darla made it very clear Alex was not going to go alone. As they set out on their journey it becomes clear that things were a lot worse than they had remembered. Besides the camps, where the government rounded up civilians and gave them poor living conditions, there were gangs. These gangs are a far cry from being nice. They steal, they kill, they rape women and to top it all off, they are cannibals. Tragedy befalls on the young couple, which separates them. And now not only does Alex have to try and find his parents, he must locate and save Darla before she dies. Mike Mullin does an amazing job with a different approach to dystopian novels. His skills in creating a whole new world and characters are far more than just average. Ashen Winter is a story that will just draw you in as you follow the journey of the main character. A journey filled with heartache, friendship, greed, brutality and stopping at nothing to save the one you love.

Reviewed by: Brandy

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