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Customer Reviews for

Ashes (Ashes Trilogy Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 146 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(98)

4 Star

(29)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

A book you will stay up late to read

Really 4.5 stars

Ashes is, without a doubt, unlike anything that I've ever read. With an interesting cast of characters, imagined situations that became all too real, and constant surprises, Ashes is an edge-of-your-seat read the entire way through.

Alex is tired ...
Really 4.5 stars

Ashes is, without a doubt, unlike anything that I've ever read. With an interesting cast of characters, imagined situations that became all too real, and constant surprises, Ashes is an edge-of-your-seat read the entire way through.

Alex is tired of living with a brain tumor, tired of the constant treatment attempts, tired of having other people not know how to react to her. She decides to go on a final wilderness hike and spend some time in the seclusion of nature. And then an electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the world, killing a vast majority of people, rendering electronic devices useless, and changing the world as Alex knew it. She soon finds herself with an unwanted traveling companion and trying to survive with just what was in her pack. And then Alex meets Tom, a former soldier who is also trying to survive in this world. They work together to make a life in the wake of all the destruction, all the while worrying that they may end up changing into little more than animals, as other humans have. But they eventually realize that they can't stay hidden in the woods forever, and then the real adventure begins...

Because of the nature of this book, it's hard to say much without giving something away. The suspense, the constant obstacles, and the emotional journey are what make this book riveting; the characters were just as compelling as the action. Ashes is post-apocalyptic rather than dystopian, and both Alex and Tom have some basic survival skills; this allows the story to focus on deeper issues, including learning who to trust in a world with people gone mad and what to live for when it seems there are no reasons left. Everything was so vividly described (including the behavior of the "changed" people) that I felt like I was right beside Alex and Tom, both in the woods and out of it. In Ashes, elements of science fiction, dystopian, and coming-of-age books merge into something new and exciting.

I will say that this book left me with some unanswered questions. Because of all the hardships that Alex and Tom face, this book is not exactly an easy read. There were a few times that I was frustrated because I just wanted something to go right for them. But despite the sadness, and despite all of the loose threads left at the end, the intensity of this book left me wanting more.

Ashes is a book that you will stay up late into the night to read - I know that I did. I am already counting down the days until the next book. I cannot wait to see what else Ilsa has in store for this trilogy!

posted by BookPortrait on September 24, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Good book. Well written. Bad ending.

First, let me say that this is the first book review I have ever written.

The book was really good. It captures your interest and develops the characters well.
There are some inconsisties with the plot. The bit about all the dogs suddenly loving Alex conflicts with th...
First, let me say that this is the first book review I have ever written.

The book was really good. It captures your interest and develops the characters well.
There are some inconsisties with the plot. The bit about all the dogs suddenly loving Alex conflicts with the pack of dogs that initially attacked her in the forest. This is never resolved.

However it is the ending or really the lack there of that really prompted me to write this review. I don't want to give away the ending so I will keep my comment somewhat general in nature. The ending does not resolve the fate of the heroine and there are other characters whose fate is left hanging as well. I can see this as a technique to set up for a sequel, but it feels like the author needed to keep the book at a certain number of words and chose to end it as quickly as possible.

posted by Anonymous on March 9, 2012

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Page 1 of 8
  • Posted September 24, 2011

    A book you will stay up late to read

    Really 4.5 stars

    Ashes is, without a doubt, unlike anything that I've ever read. With an interesting cast of characters, imagined situations that became all too real, and constant surprises, Ashes is an edge-of-your-seat read the entire way through.

    Alex is tired of living with a brain tumor, tired of the constant treatment attempts, tired of having other people not know how to react to her. She decides to go on a final wilderness hike and spend some time in the seclusion of nature. And then an electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the world, killing a vast majority of people, rendering electronic devices useless, and changing the world as Alex knew it. She soon finds herself with an unwanted traveling companion and trying to survive with just what was in her pack. And then Alex meets Tom, a former soldier who is also trying to survive in this world. They work together to make a life in the wake of all the destruction, all the while worrying that they may end up changing into little more than animals, as other humans have. But they eventually realize that they can't stay hidden in the woods forever, and then the real adventure begins...

    Because of the nature of this book, it's hard to say much without giving something away. The suspense, the constant obstacles, and the emotional journey are what make this book riveting; the characters were just as compelling as the action. Ashes is post-apocalyptic rather than dystopian, and both Alex and Tom have some basic survival skills; this allows the story to focus on deeper issues, including learning who to trust in a world with people gone mad and what to live for when it seems there are no reasons left. Everything was so vividly described (including the behavior of the "changed" people) that I felt like I was right beside Alex and Tom, both in the woods and out of it. In Ashes, elements of science fiction, dystopian, and coming-of-age books merge into something new and exciting.

    I will say that this book left me with some unanswered questions. Because of all the hardships that Alex and Tom face, this book is not exactly an easy read. There were a few times that I was frustrated because I just wanted something to go right for them. But despite the sadness, and despite all of the loose threads left at the end, the intensity of this book left me wanting more.

    Ashes is a book that you will stay up late into the night to read - I know that I did. I am already counting down the days until the next book. I cannot wait to see what else Ilsa has in store for this trilogy!

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    Good book. Well written. Bad ending.

    First, let me say that this is the first book review I have ever written.

    The book was really good. It captures your interest and develops the characters well.
    There are some inconsisties with the plot. The bit about all the dogs suddenly loving Alex conflicts with the pack of dogs that initially attacked her in the forest. This is never resolved.

    However it is the ending or really the lack there of that really prompted me to write this review. I don't want to give away the ending so I will keep my comment somewhat general in nature. The ending does not resolve the fate of the heroine and there are other characters whose fate is left hanging as well. I can see this as a technique to set up for a sequel, but it feels like the author needed to keep the book at a certain number of words and chose to end it as quickly as possible.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    SORRY TO ALL THE FANS, you will probably disagree with me!

    Wow is what i thought in the begining, this is sooo great and suprising great book........then BAM it turned awlful could hardly keep reading. The story slowed completly down to a halting stop, it started skipping important details throwing in all kinds of names i got a little confused at where it was going, then it started almost a new story, a very bad one. Ending i thought was just plain bad! Had soooo much potential, it made me really sad. Really creepy zombies i think probably the creepiest for me because it wasnt just in the begining zombie this zombie that, but surprised me with where they came in, then how smart and their personalities, and i dont know why but how little they were actually having conflicts with the zombies made it that much more creepy. I have to read the sequel becuase i have know clue whats happend to any of the characters. So you may or may not want to risk it!!!!

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    All I could think about when I wasnt reading this book, was gett

    All I could think about when I wasnt reading this book, was getting back to it as soon as I could. If your a Walking Dead fan, then you will be a fan of this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Fantastic

    Great book. Could not put it down. Looking forward to the next.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    This is now defiantly by second favorite book (after the Hunger

    This is now defiantly by second favorite book (after the Hunger Games). I loved almost everything about it and I hope my friends read it so I can talk to them about it. I read a lot of teen fiction book and most of them have a love triangle with one girl and two guy, usually it is easy to tell which guy the girl will pick in the end and it is obvious that the author set it up like that, but when I finished Ashes i really could not say with guy character she would end up with or which one I liked better. I love how IIsa J. Bick made the male characters so equal and really left it up to the reader to choose. I can't wait until the next book comes out I will defiantly read it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    In this riveting story of survival, 17-year-old Alexandra Adair

    In this riveting story of survival, 17-year-old Alexandra Adair is hiking in the woods of northern Michigan when something unexpected and terrifying happens – an electromagnetic pulse – which not only fried her cell phone and other electronic devices, but disrupted birds in flight who began crashing into each other and falling to the ground dead. Making her way back to civilization, Alex encounters several people who have changed and begins to wonder what the rest of the country and, even perhaps, the world are experiencing. In the quest to find food, shelter, and safety, Alex will soon find out what awaits beyond the wilderness…a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

    Ashes is divided into five parts – Part 1: The Mountain; Part 2: Tom; Part 3: The Change; Part 4: Rule; and, Part 5: The Monster; however, in reading the book there seems to be two distinctive parts – navigating the forest and then coping with life and attempting to survive in what remains of civilization. Bick’s careful attention to detail and setting the scene produced a gripping page-turner with characters that not only had depth, but were also believable.

    I found Ashes to be one of those books which is incredibly difficult to put down – from beginning to end there was a sense of both danger and adventure which was enthralling. At the end of the book, I was definitely excited for what’s to come in the sequel, Shadows. I rate this book five out of five stars – it’ll be a great addition to any public library’s collection. Due to graphic violence and scary situations, I’d recommend this book for grade 9 and up. Worth noting, this book has much appeal for adults, as well.

    Genres: Young Adult / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Dystopian / Adventure / Horror

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    Epic Post Apocolyptic Story

    For some reason, this book has taken me some time to wrap my head around and review, maybe it is because if I had to describe it in one word it would be "epic". I read it, or shall I say, tore right through it, but then had to think about it for a bit. I loved the book, even if it was very different from what I expected - it is definitely a story of survival and horror. Even with its love triangle, Ashes is definitly different from the other YA romance dystopian books out there.

    The beginning is really good and fast paced - we learn about Alex and her condition in a concise and intriguing way. Bick has me turning the pages to see what will happen next and how the scenario plays out. It is a book where everything goes from bad to worse, then worse again, then even worse again.

    The writing is vivid and imaginataive with some interesting phrasing (though there is the odd bit of distracting grammar), and this definitely applies to the gory bits - this book is quite brutal and has a great deal of graphic violence. However, Bick's writing really drew me in and I loved how she was able to create tension, even when there wasn't much action. She also used omnicient narrator quips that set reader up for tension, because we then know things that the characters don't.

    The story is told from Alex's point of view (but not first person present as so many books are right now), and I really felt for her. Alex is a strong heroine, capable, intelligent and likable, but in a horrible situation. I absolutely loved Ellie, the young girl that Alex finds herself looking after. She has some great, honest reactions that feel authentic to her age. I liked Tom as well, the army veteran and love interest for Alex, but I also felt a bit reserved about him, though I am not positive why. Maybe he just felt a little more stereotypical. Then there are the dogs, I love the addition of all of the dogs and how they add to the book.

    Probably my favorite part of this book, and something I have found with other zombie type books lately, is the exploration of human nature and how people act in stressful or lawless situations. I love how Bick delves into what is a monster - is it cancer? is it zombies? is it people who have free will and act in ways they never would under normal circumstances? She also gets into the roles of hope and fate and freedom.

    Ashes ends with a great cliffanger and I can hardly wait to read the next book in this series. I would highly recommend this book to those who like zombie books or who don't mind graphically brutal scenes, but who like a good post-apocolyptic story.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Iowa City

    I read and wasn't sure about reading #2 of this trilogy but I did anyway and I'm sorry I did. Seems like a slow moving story and alot of filler. Don't waste your money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    I couldn't put it down fast enoigh.

    I was drawn in after reading the back, but the graphic descriptions about made me throw up.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely riveting!

    This novel blew me away. With the proliferation of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, I always start a novel like this is the slightest bit of apprehension because surely this one can't be as good as "X." As is the case so often, there was absolutely nothing to be worried about with this book--it was probably one of the most riveting novels that I have read this year. When the novel opens, we are introduced to Alex, who has set off on a hiking/camping journey to Lake Superior. Although we're not privy to her reasons for the trip, there is the distinct feeling of running away from something and an attitude of finality and closure to her journey (which makes more and more sense as you learn about her history and reasons for the trip later). Alex is immediately an intriguing character who captures your imagination with her slightly brash personality. She has a slight air of self-pitying at the beginning but that is quickly overshadowed by her fiercely independent nature coupled with her deeply caring spirit. There's no denying that she's been through a lot and that may have caused her to be slightly wary of and abrasive toward people, but as you see her interact with the other characters, you quickly learn that she has a compassionate side that can't be shut away or overlooked. The characters are a major factor in what made me fall in love with this book. Alex was obviously well-developed and incredibly realistic in her strengths and flaws. However, each and every character that we meet has a complex, fascinating nature. First, there is Ellie. Ellie has all the signs of being a bratty, spoiled child unaccustomed to not getting her way, but she is slowly revealed as simply a truly scared child with a rough past and also as a fiercely loyal child as we watch her become attached to Alex. Tom is just as mysterious with his uncertain past in Afghanistan and guarded personality. As Alex becomes attached to Tom and we slowly learn more about him, he becomes more complex and appealing. Even the character we don't get to know quite as well later in the novel, including Jess, Chris, and the Reverend, are all engaging characters that you easily find yourself drawn to. I definitely look forward to the second book so that I can learn more about these characters. Now, the characters are fabulous, but no story could truly be as spellbinding as this one without fabulous storytelling and writing. Ms. Bick's writing is so fantastically realistic that it is absolutely terrifying at times to be reading this novel. The ideas that she brings forth about mutually assured destruction and the true weapon capabilities that we have in our world are terrifying, and that makes the story that much more engaging. The ending to this novel will leaving you gasping for breath and begging for more! I seriously kept attempting to turn to the next page on my Nook because I could NOT believe that was the end of the book. I will definitely be waiting on pins and needles for the next book in 2012.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    simply amazing book

    Alex has lost her parents and has a tumor in her head. She feels like life was not worth living what's the point. Then while out hiking an electromagnetic pulse sweeps across the sky and the whole world is turned on its head. Alex finds that most the human still alive have changed into something crazy they will kill anything that moves. Alex need to find out what's happening with no electronics and nearly everyone dead what well Alex have to do to stay alive and find out what's going on?

    I have been finding it hard to write up a review on this book is was so...amazing just my sort of book there was so much going on and the book never got slow it was always on the fast track. Alex was an interesting and strong character that not only looked after herself but also looked after a very stubborn child. You follow Alex journey not only does she want to know what's going on but she also wants to find out what's happening to herself. The world has changed so much that she fears what might happen now and in the future. Each day is a struggle that they have to pull through and I loved every word of the book.

    I really loved the horror element most of all in the book but I also love the fight to survive and the secrets and lies. It's a journey that will leave you hungry for more.
    I would happily recommend this book to others it's a most read book.
    5/5

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2014

    I rated this story 3 stars because it has a lot to like and disl

    I rated this story 3 stars because it has a lot to like and dislike about it.  I’ll start off with the negatives because I always like to end on a positive note.  The characters are hot and cold, Tom is great, Ellie is annoying (even for an 8 year-old) and Alex while fine seems to also go from one extreme to the other in her thinking.  The plot can seem to drag at points.  No action, no real character development just there.  Finally it ends without any real resolution so if you want to find out what happens you need to keep going in the story.

    Now for the good!  I love the whole premise and story.  It’s well written with interesting scenarios (even if they’re a bit predictable at some points) which can really draw you in.  The ending (see what I mean about liking and disliking) although it ends with no resolution give you this giant wow moment that left me say “I can’t believe you’re ending it there”.  So while I’m not running to grab the next in the series it’s definitely on the lists of things to read in the future.

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  • Posted September 28, 2014

     Interesting Apocalypse story. I started this series because it

     Interesting Apocalypse story. I started this series because it is the first book my husband started listening to on Audible. As he is not a reader, I wanted to support him in all things books. It gave us something to talk about that we were both interested in, and he was able to see a new perspective and has a better understanding on my writerly world. I had a difficult time really liking this book and honestly spent more time groaning over the stupidity of the characters than enjoying the story - until Rule. Ella is an extremely easy character to despise and makes me extremely grateful to not have children. Alex is complex. I'm still not sure if I'm rooting for or against her yet. I am intrigued enough to rest the next story. I just hope the storyline speeds up soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    Zombie Series For Girls

    You will instantly love Alex, the protagonist of the series, as she battles for survival in the zombie infested US. Her relationship with Tom, a kickbutt X-military hottie, flawlessly flows into the struggle for survival. To complicate matters, Alex and Tom are trying to protect Ellie (a newly orphaned tween). Ellie really annoyed me at first, but as the series progressed I began to look forward to her point of view. The whole series is told from shifting perspectives and I found myself skipping/skimming the chapters dedicated to the characters of Rule. I highly recommend this collection, esprcially if you are a girl who loves horror/zombie novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2014

    Amazing

    It was fantabulous!!

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  • Posted May 22, 2014

    Ashes is the story of a young girl named Alex traveling in a pos

    Ashes is the story of a young girl named Alex traveling in a post-apocalyptic America. Alex has a very fatalistic view towards her life due to an incurable brain tumor. Having lost all desire to live on, Alex decides to take one final hike through the wilderness. However, things don't go as she had planned as through the course of her journey she meets other travelers and ends up having to look after a child and protect herself as well with nothing but the supplies she had brought along with her. Ashes has elements of sci-fi, as a giant electromagnetic pulse kills many people and renders all technology virtually useless but, also contains plenty of action and suspense, as well as horror and even "zombies," because everyone likes zombies.

    In short, Ashes is a great book to read for anyone who is looking for an exciting gripping story to get into. The book is well written and the story told in such a way that it may prove hard to put the book down until you've finished and seen Alex's journey all the way through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    Ash

    Waits for shaun

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    Hgv

    Hh

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    hey

    name-tigerstar
    clan-snakeclan
    age-19 3/4 moons.
    appearence-big orange tom with friendly blue eyes
    personality-kind and very protective of his clan.
    favorite prey- he'll take anything he can get his hands on.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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