Ashfall (Ashfall Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano, so large that the caldera can only be seen by plane or satellite. And by some scientific measurements, it could be overdue for an eruption.

For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then ...
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Ashfall (Ashfall Series #1)

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Overview

Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano, so large that the caldera can only be seen by plane or satellite. And by some scientific measurements, it could be overdue for an eruption.

For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this grim, postapocalyptic tale, the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, covering much of North America in volcanic ash and plunging the world into nuclear winter. Fifteen-year-old Alex Halprin refused a family trip to visit relatives in Illinois, so he’s home alone in Iowa when the eruption occurs. After seeing a neighbor kill three looters, Alex heads east through falling ash, dropping temperatures, and torrential storms, hoping to find his family. Soon he’s joined by another survivor, Darla Edmunds, with whom he falls in love. Debut novelist Mullin puts his characters through hell, depicting numerous deaths in detail (“Blam-Blam! His head pretty much burst, showering my legs with blood and bits of hair and skull and brain”). There’s also cannibalism and a rape before the novel comes to a believable ending; “happy” is perhaps too much to ask for, but Alex does find a measure of stability. The book is well written and its protagonists are well-drawn, particularly the nontraditional and mechanically inclined Darla. Although more appropriate for older teens due to its violence, this is a riveting tale of survival. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“This post-apocalyptic tale is one that combines reality with the stuff of nightmares, crawls under your skin, and forces you to question your own courage and survival instincts.”

— Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder

ALAN Review - Jacqueline Bach
After the supervolcano at Yellowstone erupts, Alex finds himself plunged into an ashcovered world. Eager to find his family, who has gone on a family trip, Alex traverses 140 miles of dangerous terrain and meets people who have resorted to primitive ways of living in order to survive, including extreme acts of violence and utter hopelessness. Along the way, he meets Darla, another teenager who finds herself alone in this uninhabitable wasteland, and the two embark on an unforgettable journey. As in Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It, Mullen manages to create a believably devastated world in which there are few people to trust and even fewer resources. He deals with some of the more adult aspects of life many teenagers encounter, such as having sex and the embarrassment of relieving bodily waste in public. Readers who appreciate a little romance with their action adventure stories will enjoy Alex and Darla's. Reviewer: Jacqueline Bach
Children's Literature - Julia Beiker
Alex's parents and little sister head to his uncle's house while he stays behind to enjoy his freedom until all Hades lets loose. It starts with a meteor type rock exploding into his bedroom causing his part of the house to burn. He reaches for his house and cell phones only to find them dead. He runs to the fire station and watches as they slowly put out the fire at his house. He moves in with his neighbors. The outside world begins to detonate like sticks of dynamite until he cannot think straight from all the noise. Then the bad only gets worse as the world goes completely crazy. He winds up leaving his neighbors behind to search for his family and discovers the world must be coming to an end. Each page takes the reader to a different dimension of what the beginning of the end would look and sound like including bringing out the worst and best in human nature. The characters feel real authentic right down to Alex's reactions—what a teenager would do given these circumstances, and especially his flaws in judgment. The last chapter leads the reader to the sequel coming out in 2012 entitled Ashen Winter. Reviewer: Julia Beiker
VOYA - Jeff Mann
High school student Alex Halprin's world changes instantly. When a supervolcano erupts in Yellowstone, he finds himself alone in his Iowa hometown struggling to survive. This new world finds him searching for the things he has always taken for granted: water, food, and shelter. With his parents away visiting relatives and his home destroyed by debris from the volcano, Alex decides to search for his parents. But this new world is covered in ash from the volcano and inhabited by other citizens figuring out how to live in this posteruption world. Alex encounters many people on his long and slow journey through the ash and snow—some people have banded together and formed functioning societies, while others have taken to looting and violence to survive. Along the way Alex gains a travel companion, a resourceful girl named Darla, whose mother was murdered while Alex was staying with her family. The two's search for his family includes a brief stay in a FEMA prison camp, encounters with other survivors, and ultimately leads them to his uncle's house, where the search ends in disappointment. Ashfall takes the eruption of a supervolcano and creates an often bleak dystopian future where civil liberties have been suspended and where FEMA runs camps to contain the victims of the natural disaster. The character's journey to find his parents encompasses much of the first half of the novel. Although the novel is peppered with adventure and action, the first half seems exceeding long, and the descriptions of the ash world and Alex's journey on skis through this ash seem slightly repetitive. Mullin's description of the FEMA camp and how families and smaller societies band together to survive are more engaging than Alex's journey. Alex is a dynamic character and certainly changes throughout the novel, and teens will appreciate this and the romance between the two central figures. Readers who are fascinated by natural disaster stories and dystopian fiction will enjoy this one. A sequel is scheduled for next year. Reviewer: Jeff Mann
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Alex, 15, is separated from his family when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts. The eruption leaves his world in confusion, with no infrastructure and drifts of ash everywhere. He decides that he must leave his home in Iowa to seek out his family, who were traveling toward Pennsylvania when the explosion occurred. Alex uses his Tae kwon do skills to keep himself safe as he skis over the ash. Food is in short supply for everyone. Eventually he is taken in by Mrs. Edmunds and her daughter, Darla. When tragedy strikes, Alex and Darla must set out on their own to find safety and food. Not surprisingly, along the way, a romantic attraction develops between them. Ultimately, they must figure out how to survive in a refugee camp. The conclusion is satisfying, but unresolved enough to indicate the beginning of what appears to be a planned trilogy. The tough self-sufficiency of the two lead characters (Alex's Tae kwon do coupled with Darla's automotive prowess) adds to their appeal. The romance develops believably over the course of the book. Tautly paced and well researched, this is a high-action read-alike for fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It (Harcourt, 2006).—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
Kirkus Reviews

"The pre-Friday world of school, cell phones, and refrigerators dissolved into this post-Friday world of ash, darkness, and hunger."

Left home alone for a weekend in Cedar Falls, Iowa, while his family visits relatives in Warren, Ill., 15-year-old Alex Halprin ends up fighting for survival trying to get to them through an America ravaged by the sudden eruption of the supervolcano under Yellowstone Park. Alex is characterized by the decisions he makes when confronted with moral dilemmas—dilemmas that have no straightforward, correct answers—resulting in a realistically thoughtful protagonist dealing with complex and horrifying situations. Before he's even left his hometown, Alex encounters looting and other behaviors born from realization of just how finite resources are in emergencies. Traveling to Warren, he's even more vulnerable, both to the elements and to the mercies of the people he encounters. Among the best people that Alex encounters are a girl named Darla and her mother, Mrs. Edmunds, both self-sufficient farmers. But any relief is temporary—threats both environmental and human are ever present. While the pain and suffering Alex witnesses and experiences is visceral, so are the moments of hope and glimpses of human goodness.

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. (author's note)(Speculative fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933718613
  • Publisher: Tanglewood Press IN
  • Publication date: 10/14/2011
  • Series: Ashfall Series , #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 476
  • Sales rank: 20,050
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • File size: 597 KB

Meet the Author

Mike Mullin first discovered he could make money writing in sixth grade. His teacher, Mrs. Brannon, occasionally paid students for using unusual words. Mike’s first sale as a writer earned ten cents for one word: tenacious.
Since then, Mike has always been involved with literature. One of his early jobs was shelving books at Central Library in Indianapolis. Later, he paid his way through graduate school in part by serving as a reference assistant. Mike has worked in his mother’s business, Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore, for more than twenty years, serving at various times as a store manager, buyer, school and library salesperson, and marketing consultant.
Mike wrote his first novel in elementary school—Captain Poopy’s Sewer Adventures. He’s been writing more or less nonstop ever since, but fortunately for his readers, Ashfall will be his first published novel.
Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Visit www.mikemullinauthor.com for more info about Mike and Ashfall and its sequel, Ashen Winter.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 120 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(84)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 120 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    I couldn't put this book down!

    Readers who enjoyed The Hunger Games and Matched will like this book, but it is the most realistic of the current young adult post apocalyptic genre. The violence is more graphic than in the dystopian fantasies and the central romance includes more than virginal kissing, but sex is implied rather than explicit. As an adult fan of the genre, I would recommend this book to my 14 year old son.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Love this Natural Disaster book!

    I love stories that revolve around natural disasters, so when I saw that Ashfall was available on NetGalley, I had to request a copy! Ashfall is the story of what happens to a teenage boy living in Iowa--Alex--when the supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park erupts and turns his state into a disaster zone. The action starts immediately when a flaming rock from the volcano crashes into Alex's house, and it continues non-stop!

    One thing that really stood out to me in this book was how well-researched it was. I could tell that Mike Mullin paid careful attention to the details (even when the details were gory) and that's important when writing about a volcanic disaster like the one that happens in Ashfall. Everything was researched and explained in a way that was clear to the reader -- one part that really stood out to me was when Darla had to butcher a rabbit and prepare it to eat. It was a very detailed (and not gonna lie, kind of gross), description, and reading those details made it apparent how much Alex's life had changed from when he could just go to the store and pick up pre-packaged sandwich meat.

    Speaking of Darla, she was an awesome character, and I love how she and Alex brought out the best in each other. Darla was tough and resourceful, and Alex was a little more sympathetic to others (and also resourceful, but Darla was the mechanic of the two of them). His taekwondo skills were also quite helpful on their journey! Speaking of his journey, I liked how he not only completed a physical journey, but an emotional one as well. He changed so much through the novel, going from a boy who liked to play video games, complained a lot, and fought with his mom, to someone who was stubborn, strong, and stuck through the toughest of situations.

    If you like natural disaster books, this is definitely one I recommend picking up. I also loved how in the authors notes, Mike Mullin talked about the facts behind the supervolcano. Very interesting to read!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic Post-Apocalyptic Debut!

    In this thrilling, debut novel of "cataclysmic natural disaster," Alex Halprin lives in modern-day Cedar Falls, Idaho, playing video games and arguing with his little sister on a regular basis. One day when his family has left for the weekend to visit an uncle, the unthinkable happens: Yellowstone erupts in a volcanic super-eruption, leaving thousands of miles under layers of ash and projectile rock with no modern form of communication and few resources for immediate survivors. Alex begins the harrowing journey to Warren, Illinois, where his family is--he hopes--safely harbored with other relatives.

    Alex's journey is laborious and often heart wrenching as he cross-country skis through the ash. He makes his way through cities, towns, and open, desolated land, meeting friends and strangers alike and finds himself running from cutthroat murderers, looters, and others like him just trying to survive. At one stop, Alex passes out from injuries and ends up at a farm where strangers Darla and her mother nurse him back to health; a steady relationship begins to bond the two teenagers. When tragedy strikes again and forces them back on the road, Darla accompanies Alex on his journey to Illinois, and they continue to skirt danger, both environmental and man-made.

    It's a realistic, post-apocalyptic thriller. By that, I mean that the thrills are quick and gripping, but they aren't on every page; Mullin doesn't cop-out to the Hollywood-ready scripts that a lot of authors (James Patterson comes to mind) throw at young readers. Instead, Mullin has created a storyline full of highs and lows with mature downtime rooted in the everyday difficulties of physical and emotional survival. It's the mix of action, science, thrills, romance, and the nitty-gritty details that make this book so gripping and good.

    Recommended for ages 14+ because of mature content.

    (Full review online by Our Time in Juvie, kid's book reviews.)

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Genious=Mike Mullin

    Expected publication: October 11th 2011(Arc review)

    ...I found myself yawning and sleepy only a few hours later. There was no point in fighting it-the nightmares that haunted my dreams would beat the waking nightmare my life had become-so I let myself drift back to sleep.

    Mike Mullin= Genious!
    Really!
    It's one of the most amazing reads of this year and one you simply cannot miss!

    There's no cake before the hit, no preamble as to what you'll witness-not see- but seriously witness in the next sentence. So obviousl by the time I was on chapter 3...let's just say that hyperventilation is an understatement.
    The World as we know it seaced to exist that friday.
    Alex thought it'll be one of hist greates weekends since he finally won an argument with his mom, he'll stay in the house when his parents along with his sister Rebecca went on a trip.
    Making a promise to himself after the events on that friday, Alex goes on a journey that any other day would've taken 2 hours but now it didn't even seem likel he'd make it there alive.
    Making friends and a few enemies on his way he learns to appreciate every breath he's able to take, ever blink of his eyes, every bite of food in his mouth, and even a face-even unfamiliar-to look at.
    In the worst situation possible for an alone 15 year old, without your family and friends you get a real scoop of the true nature of the people yu thought you knew.

    When I thought I could have peace and my heart rate slowed down BOOM! another chatastrophy!
    At some point I thought wow this is a really big-large-book! and that I'd be reading more and more of the same but God!! was I wrong!

    Mullin's writting kept my heart rate so high I seriously was scared for my health!
    As for what I felt while reading this book?
    -I cried for whole new reasons while reading the book.
    - 2 times I jumped out of my skin and seat while reading due to little earthquakes here in my country!¬¬
    -One of the most realisic, heartbreaking, cruel, and beautiful books I've ever read. The rawness of it all didn't let me relax for one bit.
    -The first book ever that left me wondering WHAT IF???
    -The enormity of the story crushed all the pages from the book!

    I never thought I could get to dislike pork more than I do but I think Mullin got the job done pretty well.

    All in all the characters all where perfectly described and written beautifully!!

    And well what I kept from the book?
    That life can change in the blink of an eye. That we all have craziness inside us it's just that nothing bad enough has happened for us to notice. That money is just paper; one day you have it, the next you simply don't. But above everything else to not EVER NEVER take anything from granted!

    What will you be willing to do, give, and sacrifice when your survival is at stake? Will it include your humanity?

    A book that's realistic in one of the most terrifying ways...
    Do yourself a favor and don't miss this book for anything!

    5/5

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Exciting and Sucks You in Instantly!

    Ashfall is hands-down the best book I've read this summer. I'm a fan of dystopian YA and love it when one of them really pulls me into the story so far that I can't think of anything else. From the very first paragraph, I made an instant emotional connection as Alex (the main character) explains how he can recall exactly where he was and what he was doing "that Friday" in just the same way his parent's recall 9/11. From that moment the book grabbed me by the gizzard and didn't let go!

    What first drew me to the story was that the natural disaster that causes the calamity is something entirely possible: an eruption of the underlying supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park. I've seen the Discovery Channel and History Channel supervolcano programs and frankly, they scared the tar outta me! So of course I couldn't get enough of the intense details that Mike Mullin wove into Ashfall. And he doesn't disappoint.

    Alex is fifteen and home alone in Cedar Falls, Iowa for the weekend while his parents and younger sister visit his uncle's farm in the next town of Warren, Illinois. His world turns upside down in a matter of minutes when it happens and though his town is more than 1100 miles away, the effects of the eruption are so catastrophic that he is forced to deal with nightmarish conditions while journeying to get to his family. Along the way he meets Darla, and together they work toward survival and the safety of friends and family. But their trudge through ashfallen Iowa is insane! With lots of action, scary but truly possible scenarios, and realistic relationships, Ashfall is a one action-packed dystopian YA book!

    You'll definitely wanna buy/preorder this one.
    You can also read the first chapters on Mike's website:D

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Yellowstone Erupts - Follow Alex's Haunting Quest to Rejoin His Family

    Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don't realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the earth forever.

    Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when Yellowstone erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

    Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait-to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.

    For readers who loved HATCHET when they were younger; for teens who want kick-ass heroines; for those who want flawed heroes who make mistakes, live through them, and keep on trying; for readers who wonder if they'd be able to maintain their human decency in the face of nearly insurmountable odds.

    This is the must read fall release of 2011.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2013

    Ashfall is a great story filled with great characters, and it¿s

    Ashfall is a great story filled with great characters, and it’s that special brand of taught suspense tale to keep you up late until you’ve finished it. I love this book and I’ve greatly enjoyed selections from its sequels.

    The boiling springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park are caused by a super volcano that has erupted 3 times in the last 2.1 million years. Sooner or later, the volcano will erupt again. If you're in Wyoming, Montana, or Idaho, you and Yogi Bear can kiss your butts goodbye. If you live in the surrounding areas, like say, Iowa, where Ashfall's protagonist Alex Halporin lives, you can look forward to earthquakes and a steady fall of ash to cut you off from the rest of the world. If you live on the other side of the planet, you can still look forward to ash darkened skies for months and a global volcanic winter lasting three years or more. Good times.

    Here are the opening lines from Ashfall:

    I was home alone on that Friday evening. Those who survived know exactly which Friday I mean. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing, in the same way my parents remembered 9/11, but more so. Together we lost the old world, slipping from that cocoon of mechanized comfort into the hellish land we inhabit now. The pre-Friday world of school, cell phones, and refrigerators dissolved into this post-Friday world of ash, darkness, and hunger.

    I just love that paragraph. I don't know of a reader who can read that and not be hooked. My female friends have assured me a woman knows within 30 seconds or so if she's going to sleep with someone and it's up to him to screw it up sometime before the clothes come off (hey, I'm reviewing edgy YA this week, so I can use sex metaphors). In the same way, I think readers know by the end of the first five pages or so if they're going to read the book in front of them and it's up to the author to screw it up.

    Therefore, it's important to put your best foot forward and sell the reader on your book in the first line if possible. What I love about the above paragraph is not just that it hooks the reader in a way that makes it physically impossible to put the book down--in fact, if you haven't read Ashfall, you're probably ordering a copy now and no longer reading this review--but that it makes a pledge to the reader right at the start: this is a book about catastrophe and mayheim. Continue reading if you're interested in suspense, excitement, and a fight for survival.
    A few paragraphs later, Mike Mullin makes a second pledge to us:

    I’d seen those stupid movies where the hero gets tossed around like a rag doll and then springs up, unhurt and ready to fight off the bad guys. If I were the star in one of those, I suppose I would have jumped up, thrown the desk aside, and leapt to battle whatever malevolent god had struck my house. I hate to disappoint, but I just lay there, curled in a ball, shaking in pure terror. It was too dark under the desk to see anything beyond my quivering knees.

    Aside from the fact that there is almost no way I can think of to start a novel that is more exciting than blowing up a protagonist's house, this paragraph serves two purposes. First, it tells the story of the present scene. But only the last two sentences of this paragraph serve that purpose. The first two sentences are making a promise to the reader: this is going to be a serious story. It's not going be like those stupid movies and the events that follow will be portrayed realistically.

    Like any author worth his salt, Mike Mullin is setting the tone of the story and promising the reader what they're going to get. From this paragraph onward, Alex cannot single-handedly defeat an army of ninjas, survive a nuclear explosion in a refrigerator, or jump from a plane and fall hundreds of feet with only a raft and land in a river unharmed. If you prefer those sorts of antics, rent Indiana Jones. If, on the other hand, you want a more considered action tale that doesn't ignore the laws of physics, Mike Mullin has just assured you that Ashfall is your book.

    What I love most about Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead is that its stories are never about the zombies, but the humans and their emotional transformation in surviving the apocalypse. And so it is with Ashfall. There are no zombies, alas, but there's plenty of apocalypse. As you might expect, it doesn't take long for a population cut off from the rest of the world with no social infrastructure, low on resources, and all suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, not to mention, covered in ash and surrounded by the corpses of their friends and family, to go bats**t crazy:

    The next few hours were, well, how to describe it? Ask someone to lock you in a box with no light, nobody to talk to, and then have them beat on it with a tree limb to make a hideous booming sound. Do that for hours, and if you’re still not bat-s**t crazy, you’ll know how we felt.

    This book is absolutely not appropriate for younger readers. The viewpoint is adolescent, but the subject matter is bleak and extremely adult. But I'm sure I could have handled this book at thirteen or older. The adult language is minimal, the violence is rarely gratuitous and always effective, and the sex and rape are mostly implied rather than depicted.

    And the overall story of the book is hopeful and exciting. This isn't Cormac McCarthy's The Road, after all (thank God). It's an adventure story and a great one that's a lot of fun. But in order for the tale and the threat of the apocalypse to be credible, Mullin has to tell us the bad parts of the story with the good. Yet, his true interest is never in exploring these dark events, but in exploring the human element. What are the effects of this world on its human inhabitants? What are the social implications? How does their world change and more importantly, how does it change them:

    Her face. It was a girl, maybe eight or nine years old. I let go of her hair—my right shoulder ached, anyway. I kept my left forearm locked around her neck. She had pulled two packages of peanut-butter crackers out of my pack. They slipped our of her hands and fell to the floor.

    What was wrong with me? I’d been shocked to see Cedar Falls degenerate into looting and violence, but here I was with my forearm crushing a little girl’s throat, a little girl who only wanted something to eat. Was I any better than the looters?

    I reached down and felt around the floor. I round both packages of crackers by touch. I scooped them up, put them back in her hand, and curled her fingers around them.

    Now what would a good apocalypse tale be without a reason for the protagonist to tour it? If the foggy mist filled with monsters surrounds the grocery, you can just best sooner or later the inhabitants are going to have to go out in it for something or other. Alex could just head to a shelter and wait for rescue. Who could blame him? But what kind of story would that be? Not a good one. Sure, Alex needs to find food and some shelter now that his house has been blown up, but that's not enough of a plot for a story. But what if say his parents and sister were far away and he needed to get reunited with them. Well, that sounds like a story-worthy problem to me and along the way he meets Darla, and is it possible they might become friends, maybe even more than friends? Perhaps, Esteeemed Reader, but you know I'll never tell.

    Rest assured, you need to get your hands on a copy of Ashfall today. I envy you the experience of reading it for the first time as it's going to knock your socks off. It's got everything you come to a book hoping to find: adventure, great characters, romance, and epic battles for survival. The pages will turn themselves and you'll be online searching for Ashen Winter before you finish (but you won't find it, because it's not out yet--but it's even better than Ashfall).

    Mullin is a skilled writer. His prose is sparse and s

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    This Book Is Terrible!!!!!! I completly disagree with the genera

    This Book Is Terrible!!!!!! I completly disagree with the general consensus because there is nothing good about this book! I am a 16 year old and I am so glad I read this book so I can save others the pain of doing the same thing! First off, the premise is promising. The first chapter is pretty exciting, engaging, and fear filled. After that, my opinion started to fall. The plot is simple and WAY too convenent for its own sake! Every time something bad happens, he either stumbles upon a settlement or is saved by something else. Second, the characters have no dimension and don't develop at all. You can judge everything about the character just by glancing at them. Alex is a complete idiot because he "tries" to conserve water by only drinking half a bottle at a time and tries to conserve food by eating one can of stuff at a time. He doesn't know how to ration. Darla is a selfish person who goes through a horribly traumatic experience and then falls in love with the cause of it! Third, the book feels like it was written by a teenager! When explaining what he was doing, Alex give directions on where he was going. That is a huge mistake on the part of the author! I can't reveal my last complaint about the book because it would spoil the ending, but let me tell you, by the end of the book, I wanted to finish the book just so I would never have to pick it up again! I might read the sequel just to see if it is any better, but my hopes aren't high. If I could, I would give this 0 stars, but I can't, so I have to settle for 1. Honestly, there are much better books to read. Believe me, I have a library of 150+ books and this one is not in there. I am glad I borrowed this from my school library instead of spending money on it because it isn't worth a penny. Let me give you a conclusion. I thought the premise was interesting. However, that doesn't make up for overly-convenient, bad plotting, characters less 1-dimensional than a strait line and less developed too, and writing that looks like a it came from the mind of a teenager. I am sorry, but this book is terrible!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2012

    What if the volcano underneath Yellowstone erupted? I imagine th

    What if the volcano underneath Yellowstone erupted? I imagine the US would fall into chaos and disorder and Ashfall by Mike Mullin is that story.

    To start off, I LOVED THIS BOOK. I love it so much that I refuse to loan it own to anyone because a) I'm afraid I'll never get it back and b) people should own their own copy, it's that good. Since reading The Hunger Games I've read many dystopian YA novels, hoping to find something that would match the intensity and anxiety you get from THG. I would have to say that this book IS that book. This book is fast paced, heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching, hilarious, terrifying and exhausting. It will make you so eternally grateful for water, food and shelter. It will make you want to prepare a survival pack just in case a volcano does erupt near your house. It will make you want to learn Taekwondo in the event that you'd ever need to protect yourself. It will make you want to never forget condoms in your survival pack, because it's something we never really think about when fleeing to safety, but once you find the love of your life (and you know that's how it always works during the apocalypse) condoms will come in handy.

    The best part about Ashfall besides the rich, epic details and scenery is the characters. Even though they are thrust into an unlikely and far fetched situation, they remain completely believable. They aren't perfect, they make mistakes, they suffer, they endure, but they grow and learn which is why this is such a great story. It's not only an adventure/survival story but definitely a coming-of-age one as well.

    This is a little more graphic and raw than I was expecting, so I'd recommend it for an older teen audience but I definitely think adults will enjoy this one too. This is an utterly terrifying apocalypse story, mostly because it really isn't that far out of the realm of possibility.....there really is a volcano under Yellowstone people.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2013

    Great

    This book is great its a thriller romance that is a real page turner. Everyone will love this book after they read it. I have ashfall syndrom i couldnt put the book down. I highly recommend it to everyone

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2013

    This book. THIS BOOK! I was hooked from the first chapter and un

    This book. THIS BOOK! I was hooked from the first chapter and unable to put it down for any length of time. Mike Mullin delivers an amazing debut novel, well-researched, really well written and absolutely believable.
    The book begins with Alex being a typical teenage boy - sullen, not wanting to spend time with his family, rather staying home alone than go on a visit to his uncle's farm two hours' drive away. He's home alone when the super volcano commonly known as Yellowstone erupts and turns his life literally upside down. Once he gets out of his house, he realizes that nothing will ever be the same. Driven by his need to find his family, he sets out on the long journey across the ash, with not much more than his backpack and his father's skis. And his wits. 
    I was impressed with the author's ability to realistically depict a teenage boy's inner thoughts when faced with utter disaster. He has to grow up virtually overnight, facing grim circumstances and making hard choices. The characterization was spot on. Alex is not a super hero, and there are plenty of awkward moments as well as moments where he is scared and frustrated. It's his grim determination that impressed me the most - he never gives up. 
    While on his journey, Alex is faced with the worst and the best of humanity. 
    Darla, the female MC, eighteen and Alex's eventual love interest, is kick ass. She's smart as a whip, knows her way around mechanical things, thinks on her feet and doesn't shy from knocking Alex on the head when he's being stupid. 
    What struck me the most is how realistically this book describes the disaster and the ensuing madness. The land is covered by ash. FEMA sets up survivor camps, but outsources the supervision of the camps. The company that's been tasked with this has corrupt employees who gather the survivors and basically lock them up, with little food, unhygienic accommodations, just to earn more money. There are definite undertones during those scenes that led me to believe the author doesn't think too highly of FEMA, and memories of Katrina's aftermath came to mind.
    People die. Others live. Mike Mullin takes no prisoners when depicting the reality of humanity. Disasters such as this usually produce two kinds of people - the ones who will selflessly help a fellow man, and the ones who will maim and kill without remorse. In this book, Alex and Darla are faced with both. They are faced with crises that grown men would have a hard time overcoming, and still they persevere. Neither of them always handles every crisis perfectly. The author lets them fail, lets them cry and despair until they find the will to move forward. It's this realistic depiction that made this book a five star read. 
    This is not a book for younger teenagers. Not only does it contain two intimate scenes, but there is also death and gore that is described rather accurately. And yet, these scenes only serve to make this post-apocalyptic novel more realistic. 
    The relationship between Darla and Alex also develops slowly. First, she only sees him as another mouth to feed on the limited supplies they have. Over time, they become closer and eventually are forced to leave her house and go together to find his uncle's farm. Over time, Alex falls for Darla, and she eventually falls for him as well. The circumstances drive them closer than they might have gotten otherwise. The writing is crisp and precise, which I expected from a male author, and Alex's voice rings true. The book is written from his point of view only, and his inner thoughts were at times funny and at times made me tear up, because he's really still just a kid. Mike Mullin also did his research, not only into the super volcano and what an eruption would look like, but also into automobiles, FEMA camps, landscape for the area in which the book takes place, guns, etc. - it's all very realistic and believable.
    The character growth, primarily for Alex, was also exceptionally well done. He learns to do what needs to be done to ensure his survival, as well as Darla's, but never loses sight of his humanity. He perseveres without making other suffer if he can help it, yet doesn't shy back from killing those who seek to harm him or Darla. 
    I highly recommend this book. I couldn't stop reading until I had finished, and this story will stay with me for a long time to come. 
    Please give this the chance it deserves. 

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    Ashfall

    Best book that I've read in a while. Disturbing, yes, but the relationship was real. Not a lot of books lately have real relationships. Also, Alex can bring out his dark side when he needs to. Great book and I also recommend reading the next book in the story, Ashen Winter.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Great read

    Cant wait to read the next book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

    Ashfall

    Reading this book right now. Mike visited our school too. He is definitly a good author and great person. I cant put this book down and our school is still talking about it. A must read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2014

    Nick

    Kk c ya tomm

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2014

    Amber to nick

    Are u here

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2014

    Liked this book

    I enjoyed reading this book all the way through even though it was predictable at times. It was still fresh enough to keep me satisfied. I can't wait for the next one in the series. 5/5

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  • Posted September 5, 2014

    I absolutely love this book, and the only reason for four stars

    I absolutely love this book, and the only reason for four stars instead of five is that I felt the beginning dragged a bit.  Once the action got going I literally could not put it down.  No joke, I carried it into the grocery store with me.

    Mr. Mullin’s novel is most certainly not for the faint of heart.  It pulls no punches in the gore and general lack of morality that would surely accompany a catastrophic event the size of the Yellowstone super volcano.  It’s all there in stark reality:  death, greed, abandonment, hopelessness.  People can lose their minds in those types of situations.

    The characters are excellently written, and Alex has an amazing and believable character arc that flows as though Mr. Mullin actually observed someone being forced to grow up too quickly in a time of crisis.  He’s still a child, but we get to see him slowly turn the corner toward becoming a man.

    Now on to possibly my favorite female protagonist in the history of young adult (maybe even adult) literature:  Darla.  She is both entertaining and tough as nails.  I have no doubt that she would not only take out Katniss at the beginning of the Hunger Games, but also every other tribute.  This girl has everything.  If for no other reason, read this book to meet her.  Excellent character.

    Very few things please me more than an author who is not afraid to write teenagers as they actually are, as opposed to the more sanitized versions preferred by adults.  This author is one of the best at that.  Sure, they may die, but Alex is still a boy.  What boy his age doesn’t think about sex?  I have seen some call it unrealistic, but the instinct of humans is actually to become more sexually active when they feel their species is being threatened.  This is the same throughout the animal kingdom.  So we have a teenager, hormones, and a primal instinct to protect the species.  If sex didn’t come up the novel would be ignoring the obvious.  Bravo!

    Highly recommended read, and to be honest, I now have a strong urge to stock up on condoms and Chapstick.  The disaster and fallout are written so vividly that suddenly doomsday preppers don’t look so strange after all.  When a road melted in Yellowstone, I was quite ready to leave the country.  That’s a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2014

    This is about a self centered teen from Iowa, Alex, and survives

    This is about a self centered teen from Iowa, Alex, and survives the eruption of a supervolcano. He decides to look for his family, that he hates. Along the way he is injured and taken in by a widow and her teen daughter; Mrs. Edwards and Darla, on their farm. He is nursed back to health and given food and shelter. Bandits show up at the farm, Alex having led them there, and rape and murder Mrs. Edwards. After this, Darla follows Alex, saving his life along the way. Despite all that she has done for him, Alex takes advantage of Darla, manipulating her emotions having witnessed her mother's rape and murder, for his own ends.

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  • Posted June 27, 2014

    Well researched & compelling.

    Well researched & compelling.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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