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"As fast, furious, action-packed, and, yes, gruesome as Ashfall (2011) . . . what will stay with readers is how the characters save each other from the worst." — Booklist
"Teens who enjoyed Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008) and Michael Grant’s Gone (HarperTeen, 2008) will find Mullin’s story equally engaging."—School Library Journal
“As fast, furious, action-packed, and, yes, gruesome, as Ashfall (2011), this sprawling sequel follows the continuation of 16-year-old Alex’s journey with tough, gorgeous Darla through the ash and snow of a postvolcanic, dystopian Midwestern world.”—Booklist
“The cliffhanger ending leaves readers craving the next installment—and dreading what it may bring. A violent, desperate adventure in a chaotic, post-disaster world.”—Kirkus Reviews
“In this chilling debut, Mullin seamlessly weaves meticulous details about science, geography, agriculture, and slaughter into his prose, creating a fully immersive and internally consistent world scarily close to reality.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Posted October 7, 2012
Mike Mullen really knows how to spin a terrifying story that wraps the reader into its clutches and doesn’t let go until the final sentence. I am in absolute awe, once again, with this sequel to Ashfall, and cannot wait for the third installment in this riveting story.
Alex and Darla are back, stronger than ever now that they’ve had time to recuperate on Alex’s uncle’s farm. While no one would say they’re living in luxury, they have survived the volcanic eruption, figured out how to grow kale to stave of scurvy, and things are about as good as they can get when its constantly below freezing and ash and snow cover the ground, having knocked out technology as we know it. But the chance encounter with thieves, brandishing the rifle Alex’s father was last seen holding, once again stirs up Alex’s unease and determination to find his parents, and so the trek back into the wilderness begins.
I love Darla. She has a good head on her shoulders, and while life is anything but easy, her ingenuity and previous life on a farm make her one of the most valuable characters within the novel. Together, with Alex, they seem to be an unstoppable force, and I absolutely love them as a couple. Though Alex is lacking in some of the rudimentary skills needed to survive the freezing wilderness, with Darla’s help he is able to preserve, but it isn’t until things go very wrong that we begin to see just how driven Alex really is when it comes to saving those he loves. Darla is my hero, but when Mullin pulls her from the action for a hefty portion of the novel, Alex easily slides into her place, becoming a favorite for all who read.
It’s impossible not to root for these two lovers, and Mullin keeps his story packed with fast paced action and heart pounding drama, making it a must read, in my opinion. As it’s a long novel, I wasn’t able to finish it in one sitting, but putting it aside was pure torture. Alex’s plight and the peril the characters find themselves in is excruciating, and I couldn’t push them from my mind, even when other tasks were before me. My mind kept replaying the events, trying to figure out how to make things right again, even when I wasn’t reading—that’s how much the book affected me! It’s a beautiful story and is extremely captivating, and though I screamed aloud at the characters (mainly Alex) throughout the novel, I still love them all, even the newcomers Alex meets along the way.
Mullin introduces his readers to even more terrifying possibilities throughout this second novel—from unfrozen waterfalls and barricaded towns, to cannibalistic leaders set on trading slaves, Alex and Darla must trudge through the wilderness in hopes of surviving long enough to cross paths with Alex’s parents, if they’re still alive. And I just can’t get enough.
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Posted October 13, 2012
If you thought Ashfall was a thrill ride you ain’t seen nothing yet! This one will grab you from page one and won’t let you go. I couldn’t put this book down, every time I thought it would slow down so I could go to bed it hits another rush and sucked me right back in! Mike Mullins sure knows how to write a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat! I know I sound like the blurbs on the cover of a book but I just can’t help it, if you haven’t started this series yet now is the time to do so! This is such a different dystopian because it is something that could truly happen in our lifetime and feels so real. In Ashfall the super volcano at Yellowstone has erupted and thrown the world as we know it into chaos Ashen Winter starts 10 months after this event and our world is in turmoil. The ashfall has caused an ashen winter it is June but it has been below zero for months and the sun has yet to show itself through the ash. Wow what an adventure this was and an emotional rollercoaster ride. Alex goes through hell again when he sets out to find his parents but things go horribly wrong and Alex is once again in a fight for his life and the lives of others. We see some familiar characters and some new ones not sure yet how I feel about Alyssa but her brother Ben is great I look forward to more of him! This is a great series, Mike Mullins writes a book that keeps you reading from page one and keeps you enthralled till the last page, which I must warn you is a cliffhanger, the main storyline of this book is wrapped up well but there is big things in the future and it sounds like the next book will be just as thrilling. This book really makes me feel afraid because of the realness of the situation, and sadness when thinking our government would act like it does in this book in response to a natural disaster in the US. The worst part of getting an early review copy is that it is an even longer wait for the next one!! I can’t wait for more in this series! 5 Stars I received an early review copy from netgalley
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Posted March 12, 2013
I think I finally have the words to do justice to this book. Five big fat stars, first of all.
Ashen Winter starts about six months after Alex and Darla arrive on Alex's uncle's farm in Illinois, after a harrowing trip from Iowa fraught with many perils. Alex's parents are still missing.
Alex decides that he needs to go back to Iowa to find them. Of course, Darla won't let him leave alone, so they back up a sled with supplies and begin the long journey back to Alex's hometown.
The landscape has changed since they've been out on the road, snow covering most of the ash and food scarcer than ever before.
Mike Mullin keeps Ashen Winter much in the same tone as the first book, and the voices of the character remain familiar. The author continues with the same strong characters to the point of making them feel real, and the reader cannot help but root for them both. He also keeps up the suspense, throwing his characters into dangerous situations, and just when you think they're safe, another challenge rises up before them.
As in Ashfall, Alex and Darla meet those challenges head on, both of them thinking on their feet and adapting to the situation at hand. Alex lets his temper get the best of him on occasion, but that is to be expected from a teenage boy who's facing nearly insurmountable obstacles. And yet, what impressed me in this character, is that he perseveres.
Alyssa, a new character introduced in this book, is a counterpart to Darla in some sense, and I was concerned that Alex would delve into fickle teenagedom. I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged when Mike Mullin didn't let that happen. Alyssa's story also felt real, and while what happened to her was one of my fears for Darla, I was impressed by the delicateness with which the author approached that subject.
I was reminded again and again that in the face of a huge crisis, humanity tends to split into two factions - those who will help a fellow human in any way possible, and those who will take advantage of those weaker than themselves. Impotent rage was one of the many emotions the author's word evoked.
I also very much enjoyed getting to know Ben. The author did a fantastic job writing about someone in the autism spectrum, and his depiction of Ben felt very real. As did Alex's reaction to the idiosyncrasies someone with autism would display.
I continue to be impressed with the amount of research this author put into his novels, which serves to enhance the plot tremendously and make the book feel exceptionally realistic.
The writing remains crisp and precise, and spot on for a teenage boy going through a traumatic experience that requires all his cunning and all his reserves to get to where he needs to be.
There are some sad events, and one plot point kept me riveted to the pages until the resolution close to the end.
I feared for Alex and Darla, I cried with them, smiled with them, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book.
Spring 2014 cannot come soon enough!!!
As a sidenote:
I read both Ashfall and Ashen Winter in one weekend, and it's a credit to the author's ability that reading these books created nightmares and a deep urge to start hoarding food and supplies for my own family, just in case such a disaster ever happens in my life time.
This book and its predecessor are some of the best books I've read in the YA genre. If you like Young Adult books and are interested in post-apocalyptic scenes, this is a series for you. Give it a chance.
I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return, but in this case absolutely deserved.
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Posted September 7, 2014
Excellent, but brutal, Apocalyptic Novel
“Ashen Winter” is a solid second installment in the “Ashfall” series by Mike Mullin. Wasting no time, the book picks up a few months after the first has left off. Spring, or what can be called spring, has arrived and Alex decided it’s time to set out to find his parents.
Unlike its predecessor, “Ashen Winter” is a page turner from the very first chapter. I carried it around for a day, reading every second I could, and would have recommended it to everyone I came across if I could have put it down long enough to speak. In fact, the only problem I have with it is that there is one point that it becomes a bit repetitive, though I even enjoyed those bits. Anything to get more of Darla and Alex.
Beware, “Ashen Winter” is not for those with weak stomachs. The attention to detail is incredible and realistic, but that does mean that things are not at all ok in the post-Yellowstone Super-volcanic world. People under the best of circumstances are capable of horrible things. Under apocalyptic conditions humanity takes a total nosedive. Mr. Mullins is not afraid of the gore that ensues.
Along with the gore, I feel like this is a perfect manual for an introduction to Doomsday Prepping. The things that are essential make perfect sense, but I would have never thought of them. In fact, I am fairly certain I will be one of the first to be flensed. At least I will have Chapstick now. (Really. Buy Chapstick.)
The characters are still wonderfully flawed and well-developed, with more being added in seamlessly. Darla may be my favorite heroine in literature. If this were the Hunger Games, Darla would take out everyone at the Cornucopia and be elected President of Panem before even leaving the arena. Even Katniss looks weak in comparison to her.
Posted August 27, 2014
Alex is staying at his Uncle's surviving the supervolcano. His uncle and aunt gave him food and shelter, but he takes off with their supplies to look for his parents that he hates. Darla goes with him, despite Alex's leading bandits to her house and the rape and murder of her mother.
This book continues with the horrors of Ashfall, once again leading to a sad and discouraging ending. Each chapter things get worse for the world.
I doubt that I will read Sunrise, as I'm sure that the author will find some way for Alex to continue his exploitation of Darla and his being a leech on his family.
I don't expect a "happy ending" in a disaster book, but if I'd wanted to read about things being this bad, I'd read the newspaper.
Posted February 11, 2014
This book is a roller coaster of action and peril and oh-so-believable devastation. Picking up where the incredible ASHFALL left off, Mike Mullin continues to thrill us with the frighteningly real world we could encounter should the Yellowstone super-volcano actually erupt. Alex and Darla continue to tug at our heart strings as we root for them to survive and ultimately find Alex's parents. I love this series. My students love this series. I highly recommend!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 2, 2014
In Ashen Winter we return to an America changed by a natural disaster on a massive scale. As hunger and famine set in, the baser side of human nature sets in. After a raid on the farm that gives Alex cause for concern over his parents fate, he and Darla set forth in an attempt to find them.
But the world has changed, even compared to their earlier journey through the countryside. This time, the two of them face challenges such as cannibals, slave-traders and the ever present danger of FEMA patrols.
This book wasn't quite as good as Ashfall, but I can't really place my finger on why that is. Nevertheless, it was still an awesome read and I am really looking forward to getting hold of Sunrise, the final book in the trilogy.
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Posted October 3, 2013
Seriously? You must have something better to do than float around this place and rudely comment on different things. Join a club, climb a mountain, l dun care. Just scram. Comprendo?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2013