Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Pages/File Size: 582pages/602KB
Formats Available: Hardcover, E-Book
BLURB from Goodreads
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.
I received this book originally via Netgalley, then due to a problem with a kindle I actually “lost it” luckily the lovely Peggy Tierney managed to get me a pdf I could read on my kindle.
The cover really attracts your attention, the starkness of it, with the dead looking landscape on one side and then the two arms reaching for one another over a peach coloured scarf. But when I look at the two arms over the peach coloured scarf I feel I am also looking at a cross section of an arm bared to the muscle, which kind of fits with the book and represents the flensers to me. That same image can also be looked at and two hands being separated with a brightly covered scarf behind the image, which fits in with a pivotal scene in the book. It also matches the newer cover for book one too. Though I really liked the old cover for book one! I think the font and style of the title and Author name are great, they are kind of semi camouflaged into the Ashiness of the landscape and that really works.
Would I pick this up from a book store shelf, on the strength of the cover alone? Yes I would want to know more. The cover to me does suggest a little gore/horror to me too.
So now to the book, of course it is brilliantly written by Mike Mullin just as book one was. With this book even thought it seemed like ages ago that I read book one I slid straight back into the action and plot of this book. I was immediately re attached emotionally to the characters. The way Mike writes this book really has you emotionally invested in the characters, you really want them to succeed in their quests. You feel their frustrations when things do not go to plan, you quite literally feel their pain!
So the “quest” Alex and Darla are on is to find alex’s parents and then return to Warren and the relative “safety” of Uncle Paul’s farm. They want the family reunited all in one place. Oh and just to complicate things even more they need to get some wheat seeds if possible to allow them to grow another crop on the farm.
I really do not want to give away any spoilers at all, so forgive me if I come across a little cryptic. So the one thing that neither Alex nor Darla wants to happen does happen, which changes the quest/mission. Alex has to find even more strength than he ever thought he had both mentally and physically. Alex has to use his wits to trade for things he needs, at times it seems he it literally up against the whole world. He has to face the Peckerwood Flensers, the Dirty white Boy Flensers, as well as the Black Lake Guard who are supposed to be keeping order. Alex and Darla have a lot of decisions to make, usually really quickly with their lives depending on there outcomes. They also have to learn who they can and cannot trust.
We meet two new major characters in this book, Ben an autistic military expert. He is literally an encyclopedia of knowledge. Then there’s Ben’s sister, Alyssa who has had to do awful things and has been used in many ways by the flensers and traded around like a slave. Using her body has been the only way for her to ensure that her and her brother stayed alive.
The end of the book is fantastic, just as you think everything is over and is going to be okay and peaceful, there’s an unexpected twist that leaves a huge cliff hanger in place. The book ends just on the cusp of another life changing event.
So did I enjoy the book? Wow, I seriously loved it. I loved book one but I loved this second installment even more! Would I recommend the book? I certainly would, to all post apocalyptic fans as well as thriller and suspense fans. Would I read a Bk#3? Yes please asap! I really need to know what happens next. Will things improve? Who lives? Does civilization survive and begin to recover and rebuild? So many questions!
Would I read other books by Mike Mullin? Definitely I love his style of writing, the pace, the flow, the descriptions, all of it.