Customer Reviews for

Ashes (Ashes Trilogy Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 149 )
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5 Star

(99)

4 Star

(31)

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(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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  • 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.

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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Lionfire

    Stumbles in. Springsong? Its me, lionkit!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Told in the voice of Alex, this is a spine-chilling tale about c

    Told in the voice of Alex, this is a spine-chilling tale about could happen if there had been a strong magnetic pulse. It's the story about how a world could change in just the blink of an eye - and you could lose your whole family in less than a second.

    Alex goes to the woods to find closure from her parents death. Dying herself, she chose to scatter her parents ashes in the place they loved. What she didn't expect was to find herself fighting for her life along with two others. Tom, a young soldier and Ellie, a young girl who hates the world and everyone in it.

    What I liked about this book was the characters. This book gave me a chance to support each of the main characters. I could understand Ellie and her rebellious nature, Tom's anguish at losing his best friend and the part he played in it, and Alex's determination to do something that would honor her parents, before she died herself.

    I even enjoyed the secondary characters that came into the book further down the track. I really liked Chris. I'm not sure I see a love triangle coming into this or not, but if there is, I'm going to have a tough choice deciding what 'team' I'd be on. I love both Tom and Chris.

    There was a sense of desperation about the book. A sadness in the way that friends and family could become flesh-eating monsters, all from the whim of fate. I couldn't even say they were actually zombies, because these flesh-eating monsters were still alive. They were cannibals. My skin crawled when I read about them. I just couldn't imagine ever doing that myself and I hope I never come across that situation.

    I think, on the whole, the story line was great. It was like you had the flesh-eating monsters, but there was also something going on between the characters themselves. I won't go into the story line in detail because that really would be spoiling the enjoyment you would get from reading this book yourself.

    The only problem that I could see with the book was the pace. I almost gave up half-way through because the story didn't seem to be going anywhere. All I can say is, don't give up. It gets better halfway through the book when something is added to the plot line. I will definitely be going on to read the sequel because of it.

    I would recommend this to anyone who has a love of science fiction or dystopian novels. And if you enjoy zombie-like books - this will be right up your alley.

    Review done by Sandy at Magical Manuscripts

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Okay 6.3

    The first half of the story was better to me. It did have the usual annoying character that you wish would be killed off as well as the forced "relationship" that teen books are famous for. ( by that I mean no real chemistry to be found on the pages) the second half just kind of stalled out for me. I guess it was the lack of progress that drove me nuts. The dialog was fairly weak a lot of what I imagine adults would think teenagers sound like. But I've read worse. It did have some twists which was nice but I was very unhappy to realize There was going to be another. Can't anyone just write a book and let it end?!?!? If you have some time say summer and have nothing to read you might think of giving this a try. I'd give it a solid 6 but I'm very picky.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2011

    Good setup but need to see where it goes next

    Ashes is an interesting start to a series of stories about Alex, a girl with a tumor. While on a camping trip to release her parents' ashes, an electromagnetic pulse shatters the world killing most of the adults and Changing most of the teenagers into monsters. Alex thinks those who are Spared, like her, have something different going on in their brains to have avoided whatever the EMP did to the others. Some even are Awakened, which means they have special abilities (like Alex's sense of smell). Since the EMP happens, every chapter in this book has something going terribly wrong. She eventually ends up staying in an Amish-like compound where things seem to be better, but she realizes things are still very wrong. The book ends right when it starts to get good. I think this book was used as a setup for the series, but by itself it is just not that strong. Basically it is disaster followed by disaster, with a little bit of romance, then a huge discovery and bam, end. I would like to read the next one though because it sounds like the story is going in a good direction.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Well the first half was good...

    How to review Ashes? The first half of the story is amazing, I couldn't put it down. It reads like a modern Stephen King and the idea of Alex being able to smell fear and the changed kids is a really interesting concept. However, the second half was like reading a different book. I couldn't connect with any of the new characters, the story itself seemed very slow going, I had to drag myself through it just so I could get to the ending. However, the ending is a cliffhanger the size of Everest, which I wasn't best pleased about.

    Alex, Ellie and Tom are the perfect team, they're pretty much a family unit, people who would have never even glanced at each other if they hadn't have been stuck in the situation that they're in. I liked that none of them knew each other before hand, so we're learning about them at the same time as them learning about each other. Tom has the survival skills, Alex has the butt-kicking heroine attitude and Ellie, well, she's Ellie - a fiery temper but strangely loveable.

    I liked the unique things about this story - Alex's brain tumour (not something you'd usually see a YA main character having), her strange sense of smell where she's somehow able to sense people's emotions (this reminded me of R. J. Anderson's Ultraviolet, where the main character could taste words), and the obvious one - the Zap thing itself. On the other hand the second half is loaded with bland stereotypes that had me banging my head against a wall (a cult, really?) and I was quite disappointed with this.

    I'm hoping the sequel will go back to the quality of the first half, which I would have happily given five stars to. Fingers crossed!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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