Books Magazine

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Posted on the 01 February 2012 by Refreshing Reviews @refreshingr
I have a dilemma with this book. On one hand I loved thestory and (most of) the characters, but on the other… The easiest way toexplain it would be to tell you the basic plot. You follow a teenage girl namedAlex, who is terminally ill and planning to take her own life. Whilst hikingthrough wilderness she is hit by an electromagnetic pulse, making pain shootthrough her and the two people she had bumped into. Even the animals wereaffected and seemed to go crazy. AsAlex recovers, she realises that her sense of smell (which she loss as a result of her illness) hadreturned, and is even sharper than before. The two people she had bumped intowere Ellie – a stubborn 8-year-old girl – and her grandfather, oh and theirdog! Only the dog and Ellie had survived. They soon find that the whole areahad been affected by the shock, and some have lost their humanity because ofit. After wondering around the wilderness, they are joined by a man named Tom,and you can sense a strong bond between him and Alex. And so their new familybegins…
The story is brilliantly planned, with a scientificexplanation for the shock that could (possibly, maybe, I don’t know,) happen.The link between shock and effect is clever too. The problem: from the way thatstories are usually structured, you’d think that the whole story would followthese three characters, but it doesn’t. It is like the author has merged twonovels together, making you kind of hate the main character because of herchoices. I don’t want to give it away to you, as it is a really good read, so Iwill leave out the details. You follow the group of three, and as a reader youbond with them whilst they bond together. When a series of events tear themapart, causing Alex to be trapped in a surviving town, you’d think she wouldsoon escape and find them again. This is where you begin to despise Alex’sdecisions. It is like she forgets about Ellie and Tom completely; hence it islike a different novel. She meets a new, mysterious guy... she gets a job, shesettles down. On the up side, it is well told and good to read, if you forgetthe first half of the story too.
The story is left on a cliff-hanger, preparing you foranother novel, and hopefully welcoming back Ellie and Tom, who you grow to love.Overall, I did enjoy it! After the last turn of the page, I wanted to read thenext one and hear more about the characters. But I will have to wait, as it isyet to be published. I would read it again… and as great as the story was, Ithink it would have been more effective if Ellie and Tom were found againbefore the end! I wanted them back in the story, and it's a shame to lose such great characters.

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