Friday, September 28, 2012


By Ilsa J. Bick
3 / 5 Gnomes

It could happen tomorrow . . .
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

~Amazon Description~

I'm just going to start out by saying that this was not one of my personal picks.  It has several of my favorite literary elements.  It's a dystopia.  There are cannibalistic zombies eagerly hunting for a tasty meal.  A rather kick-butt female protagonist carries the story.  And there is a bit of a love story.  So, maybe, eventually, it might have been one of my own picks.  Instead, it was an assignment.  A book club assignment.  Which, for some reason, makes even the most intriguing books a little more difficult to read for me.

I'm stalling.  I quite literally finished the book just moments ago, and I really should collect my thoughts before sharing them with you, but I'm not sure that would help.  My thoughts are a jumble.  I liked the book.  I did.  I have some serious issues with the book though.  It almost feels like the beginning of a first book, the middle of a sequel all jammed into one.

So, there's this girl named Alex who travels into the woods one day on a lonely backpacking adventure when she comes across this kind man named Jack and his not so kind granddaughter named Ellie.  Moments after meeting, the world is shaken by an EMP.  Still not sure why, or really what the heck the thing is, but it turns everything wonkie, including turning people of a certain age (?) into wild zombies.  From that point on, a good portion of the book is a survival story.  And through a series of unfortunate events, Alex is separated from her traveling companions and ends up in this weird cult-like town (that has spontaneously appeared after only a month??) where things are quite what they seem.

I guess my problem is that things are just weird.  It's hard to pass judgement knowing more books are to come (yeah!  one more series to add to my growing list of literary goal disappointment), but not much time has passed in the book, but the world has literally fallen into, well, weirdness.  Could people really build a morbid little town that fast?  And why in the world are there zombies?

But one thing Bick does really well is cliff-hangers.  What happened to Alex's traveling companions?  Will her new love interest come to save her?  What is going to happen to the world if these zombies are getting smart?  So many questions, and I'm kind of really looking forward to finding out what happens next.

So...yes...I liked it.  Maybe not loved, but maybe like will turn to love as the story continues.  Who knows?  It's creepy though. If you like creepy, definitely give Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick a read.

One more thing:  Being the unobservant young lady that I am, I totally didn't see the face on the cover.  I thought it was a thumbprint!  Oops!

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