Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ilsa J. Bick Takes Readers on an Emotional Journey in Ashes.


This is probably the most intense piece of YA literature that I’ve ever read. There are so many overwhelming books about the end of the world and the characters are usually put in a setting that is often decades after the earthshattering event. Ilsa J. Bick puts her characters right into the very guts of a zombie apocalypse. I would always see the first version of the book cover to Ashes at the top of the shelf in the bookstore glaring at me, curious about what the book was about. When I received the invitation to the book tour and realized what series it was for I considered it a sign to read this book. The sequel to Ashes, Shadows has been released and the original cover has changed. This happens a lot in the publishing world but I can still get a sense of the story in both. I prefer the first cover but I get the new layout and like it as well.

This book was captivating at every turn. The writing is exquisite and I have never been as effected as I was while reading it. There are a wide variety of strong characters that make their way into the book. Even the characters that don’t have much presence in the book have a way of staying with you. As I read about the characters Alex and Tom I would think to myself, “How would we react as a society if this really happened in the world? Where would we seek safety and with whom?” In other words, this book is very real and makes you contemplate life in the end.

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.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

Alex is a young girl who is going through her own unique change caused by the EMP. Which I will not spoil but it is so cool and is what makes her character so unique, probably more so because she seems to have fantastic survival skills. Her thought process is probably what I enjoyed most; only because she goes through a sort of checklist of what is around her and how it can help her. Being in the woods at the time of when the EMP goes off, limits her and to read about what she comes up with is great and educational. She’s definitely a young lady to reckon with and has her own plan to follow, which I love but she is also willing to stop and learn from Tom when she meets him.

Tom is a young soldier that has an eye-opening backstory that will hopefully resonate with readers who have grown up in our current state of war. It’s a small story but in my eyes was a big one worth mentioning. He is likeable immediately because his first priority is to make sure Alex and Ellie survive. Because of his military background he and Alex make a great team. With Ellie they become a believable family in the beginning of an apocalypse. There brief moment living in a cabin together is a sweet story. When they must say good-bye to there home it becomes a very monumental moment in the book that you as a reader will hope they can come back to again.

I actually purchased this book and am so glad that I did. It’s a book that can be shared with just about anybody and I plan to do that. I so want my husband to read the series because it’s something that I know that he would love. It’s a book that adults, and teens can read. Not to dismiss the impact that the Hunger Games series has had on all ages but this book is more mature and extremely intense. There were moments when I had to put the book down for a day then get back into because the story is that real. I am currently about to finish Shadows the second book in the series and because of the same intensity I have to put it down a moment as well. I love that I have to do this though because the book makes you think and you carry the story, and the characters with you. Ilsa J. Bick is so incredibly talented and I have no idea why I have barely discovered her. I described a moment from the second book to a friend and actually had a hard time getting it out. I can’t remember the last time I read something that evoked an emotion like that.

You don’t necessarily have to read the first book to get what is happening in the second, but you really should in order to appreciate the entire story. Ashes is currently available on paperback and as an eBook from all major retailers. My review of Shadows will be posted soon so keep checking in. Shadows is available now in stores, so be sure to grab both. I Blog, You Read will actually be receiving a visit from Ilsa J. Bick on her blog tour on October 9th. I hope you’ll all stop by and see what amazing things she’ll have to say.

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