OK! So my first review is for Ilsa Bick’s Dystopian joy, Ashes, due out on the 29th of September (which is my birthday! But anyway…)
Ilsa is already a familiar face in the world of Star Trek fiction, and is now turning her talents to Young Adult fiction, and believe me, she’s doing a great job! Dystopian Fiction is due to be the next big genre in Teen and YA fiction, and I for one am loving it (See: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Gone by Michael Grant, or The Enemy by Charlie Higson), and Ashes follows the tradition of these titles superbly. The title follows the story of Alex, a teenage girl suffering from a terminal brain tumour, as she hikes through the American wilderness in an attempt to forget her tragic life. While hiking, the area is struck by an overwhelming pulse that changes everything. Suddenly, her tumour has taken a back seat, some people have dropped dead on the spot, and some people have gained a horrible new craving for human flesh. The world then becomes one long struggle for survival for her and the other survivors she meets out in the woods, barely scraping by from day to day, trying to work out what happened that changed everything, and trying to rebuild their lives.
Expertly blending science fiction and horror, Ashes is another stellar title in the rapidly growing world of Dystopian fiction. The characters have real emotional drive behind them, making them easy to love or hate, and sometimes, both. The back-story is teasingly revealed for the characters over the novel, keeping readers glued to the page to learn more, as well as cliffhangers, action and gore galore to really thrill and entertain people who are quick enough to pick up on this. The plot is twisting, and really delves into one of the most important themes of any post-apocalyptic society: What happens when the rules get taken away? Suddenly, zombie-esque enemies might not be the biggest threat to survival in a chaotic world turned upside down, and the dark nature of humanity is incredibly well pieced together and slowly revealed, like a horrible unfolding mystery story set in a brilliant science-fiction world. Pulse Pounding, Emotional and Captivating, Ashes is a great first book in what promises to be a really exciting series to keep track of. Ilsa Bick has managed to create a great apocalypse with a terrifying route in reality, and thread characters she (and subsequently we) really care about, into a story full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing right up until it’s conclusion, and like me, it’ll leave you begging for the next instalment!