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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Ashen Winter (Ashfall #2) by Mike Mullin

Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Published: October 16, 2012
Pages: 576
Source: For Review from Tanglewood Press
Rating: 4 Stars


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.

In short: Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin is a strong sequel that takes a very raw and realistic look into humanity in the advent of a terrifying post-apocalyptic event.
Six months after the supervolcano has erupted, plunging North America into darkness and a deluge of ash, Alex and Darla are still struggling to survive in a frozen and crime-ridden world in Ashen Winter. The ramifications of such a destructive, post-apocalyptic event are on full display in Ashen Winter in all its gruesome and cruel glory. This is something that Mike Mullin excels at: he presents a raw and realistic look into humanity akin to The Road, that showcases the lows that people would sink to survive. It is absolutely believable and that makes it all the more terrifying.

Alex remains one of my favourite male protagonists. He is an inherently moral and noble character. Almost to a fault really, as there is admittedly not a whole lot of room for kindness and generosity in such a cruel post-apocalyptic world. But that is why it is so impressive. Time and time again, when faced with the prospect of screwing someone over to his advantage or treating them fairly to his disadvantage, Alex always does the honourable thing (much to Darla's chagrin). In a world full of people who do unforgivable, disgusting things, Alex at least never compromises his morality.

My only problem with Ashen Winter is the same as it was for Ashfall: there is an excessive amount of details in Mike Mullin's writing style, making for an unnecessarily long read that could have been edited and made shorter. Despite the elaborate writing style, I can't deny that I was never bored while reading Ashen Winter. Mike Mullin somehow manages to achieve almost literally non-stop action scenes over the course of the 576 pages. Now that's impressive.

Overall, Ashen Winter is a strong sequel and is definitely recommended to all fans of Ashfall. Ashen Winter will be released October 16, 2012 by Tanglewood Press, with the third and final book to follow in 2013.

Previously, my review of Ashfall.

Other Reviews:
Books of Amber
Page Turner's Blog
Xpresso Reads

Authors Links:
Website
Blog
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Goodreads

21 comments :

  1. I really need to check out the Ashfall series -- it looks super good! I love a good post-apocalyptic read!

    Great review, Aylee!

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    1. You should - they're very realistic. As a good post-apocalyptic book should be!

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  2. Oh, I don't like wordy.
    It's one of my pet peeves.
    But I'm glad you like the protagonist anyway, and that he has a strong voice.

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    1. Yeah, for the most part I was able to overlook the wordiness because I like the other parts.

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  3. I've had my eye on this series for a while. I'm glad you enjoyed it! It sounds long though!

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    1. SO LONG. But I swear I was kept entertained the entire time from the sheer amount of action.

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  4. This looks interesting:) Thanks for introducing it to me :)

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  5. "Time and time again, when faced with the prospect of screwing someone over to his advantage or treating them fairly to his disadvantage, Alex always does the honourable thing (much to Darla's chagrin)."

    That's exactly what I loved about Alex in the first book Aylee! I just had to root for him the entire time because he never resorted to the cruelty others did to ensure his survival:) I agree with you on the length, the first book had a lot of details that could have been left out, and that's clearly continued with this one. Still, it's definitely impressive that you were never bored despite the excess:)

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    1. It really is so impressive how moral Alex is... and also a bit stupid of him. But I think he realized when he wasn't being reasonable. Also impressive is that I was still entertained even after 600 pages of very detailed scenes, for sure. But there was something happening, some sort of action, every single page, so how could I not be?

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  6. I had never been interested in this series before but now I'm seeing how much everyone loves Ashen Winter and now I'm curious.

    It's rare for a second book in a series to get so many rave reviews.

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    1. It is rare, but I can honestly say that the sequel was just as good. I was worried for a bit there that it was just going to be a carbon copy of the original, but it was strong in its own merit.

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  7. I really need to check out this series since you and Jenny both enjoyed the first book and because the sequel doesn't seem to suffer from sequel syndrome. At almost 600 pages though, I'm going to need a bit more time for reading this one (even if it doesn't bore me) :(

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    1. Yeah, I really feel like the page count is a huge barrier. It would not be difficult to edit it, shorten it down at least 100 pages. But I will say that it doesn't necessarily feel that long because it's fast reading relatively.

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  8. Wow, I'm kind of scared off by its length. I did read and enjoy Ashfall and am really curious to see where the next book will take me. I too was so impressed by Alex's good nature and ability to always want to do the right thing or to share. I think I would be more like his girl friend, I'd have a hard time always helping out or sharing. He really is a good character. And yes, this is so scary because it really could happen at any time. Are you ready? I don't think I am?!

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    1. Don't be scared by the length too much! I found I got through it relatively fast. I would be more like Darla in those situations, too, definitely. But from the outside, I can appreciate his moral nature. The realism adds a lot to the plot - though I don't think the eruption is a truly serious scare for the future from all accounts... it still possibly could happen though and that's freaky!

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  9. This is one of my favourite series. I flew through both of these novels, though I was, in both cases, nervous about the number of pages. I love all the recognition you give to Alex in this review. I, and a lot of other reviewers, tend to focus on Darla because she is such a powerhouse. But Alex totally rocks too and I think he gets forgotten about. Great review Aylee!

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    1. I really flew through them, too, despite the insane page count and THAT is really impressive. I didn't LOVE Darla in the first book, but she really grew on me in the second. I guess I just respond better to nice, sweet characters for whatever reason and Alex is one of the best!

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  10. Amazing book trilogy can't wait until I get the third book I'm completely addicted to this book keep writing them.
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