Shadows: The Ashes Trilogy

Shadows: The Ashes Trilogy

3.0 3
by Ilsa J. Bick

The Walking Dead infects a dystopian YA series like The Hunger Games in a riveting, action-filled zombie apocalypse.

The Apocalypse does not end. The Changed will grow in numbers. The Spared may not survive.

Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was


The Walking Dead infects a dystopian YA series like The Hunger Games in a riveting, action-filled zombie apocalypse.

The Apocalypse does not end. The Changed will grow in numbers. The Spared may not survive.

Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was gone, she believed Rule could be a sanctuary for her and those she'd come to love. But she quickly learns that there are no safe havens anymore. Torn apart from Tom and Ellie, she's on her own and desperate to find her friends.

In a post-apocalyptic world full of savagery, Alex is in the fight of her life against the adults, who would use her, the survivors, who don't trust her, and the Changed, who would eat her alive.

Welcome to Shadows, the second book in the haunting Ashes Trilogy: where no one is safe and humans may be the worst of the monsters.

Also available in electronic book format (ISBN 978-1-60684-378-9)

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Shadows picks up where Ashes (Egmont, 2011) left off, with no recap of the multiple characters, their relationships, or their complicated circumstances. This novel is divided into four distinct story lines: Alex has been captured by a group of sadistic, cannibalistic Changed, and she doesn't know whether they are saving her for lunch… or for something worse. Tom was rescued by an elderly couple and is now searching for Alex. He faces the threats of bounty hunters and other humans driven to desperation in evil times. Chris has become an enemy of Rule, and Peter is in trouble at the hands of a man with diabolical plans for the Changed. At the center of all these stories is the suspicion that the Change is far from over and the fear of what will happen to the young people who didn't immediately become flesh-eating monsters when the EMP swept through the sky. There's not a whole lot of room-or need-for character development here because of the constant peril. What the book lacks in nuanced characters it makes up for in plot and description. Ashes was violent, but this book takes the bloodshed to a whole new level with unsparingly gory descriptions of eyeball-eating teenagers, brutal injuries, and bloody battles. The author also seems to be trying to say something about what might happen to communication when typical means of staying informed are shut down: throughout the different story lines, rumor and miscommunication abound to the extent that readers are unsure of what is true. And, as with the first volume, a cliff-hanger ending means that most of these questions won't be answered.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Kirkus Reviews
Earth's few remaining normal teenagers struggle to survive in this gruesome, bloody post-apocalyptic sequel. The world's gone completely to hell: All nonelderly adults are dead, and most teenagers are Changed into zombielike feral children who eat humans alive. Survivors huddle into protective enclaves and protect themselves with deadly force. The cliffhanger ending of Ashes (2011)--Alex flees from the strangely religious community of Rule only to stumble into the bone-strewn larder of a pack of Changed--takes 100 pages to resolve, mostly due to the shifts in perspective to other un-Changed teenagers driving these action-packed short chapters. Alex is a prisoner of the Changed, and as they drive her through the snowy wilderness, she sees that their behavior is, disturbingly, growing less feral: They use guns, make uniforms and practice profitless cruelties. The remaining adults seem nearly as cruel, practicing Josef Mengele–style experiments and killing children to cover ancient political feuds. Sometimes it seems like the only difference is that the Changed eat their prey, devouring them in sensuously described murder and torture scenes packed with fountaining blood and festooned guts. Nearly every chapter ends with a cliffhanger, keeping the horror appropriately unending: "And then Spider squeezed the trigger." "The knife hacked down with a whir." "And then, it moved." Plenty of mysteries and betrayals set up the trilogy's forthcoming conclusion, which fans will eagerly await. (Horror. 14-17)

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.36(w) x 7.86(h) x 1.17(d)
HL730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

LSA J. BICK is a child psychiatrist, film scholar, former Air Force major, and now a full-time author. Her critically acclaimed, award-winning YA novels include Draw the Dark, Drowning Instinct, Ashes (a 2011 VOYA Perfect Ten), and Shadows. Ilsa currently lives in rural Wisconsin, near a Hebrew cemetery. One thing she loves about the neighbors: they're very quiet and only come around for sugar once in a blue moon. Visit her online at or and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @ilsajbick.

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Shadows: The Ashes Trilogy 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you loved Ashes, the first book of Ilsa Bick’s thrilling trilogy, you will love the sequel, Shadows. This fiction book gives all of the answers that you’ve been dying to find out from the first book, and adds some more suspense to keep you on edge until you read the final book in the series. Bick’s work as a psychiatrist helps give us insight in to the minds of the characters and how they can evolve over time in drastic situations. In this novel, Alex uses her knowledge and experience with “The Changed” to help her survive and she learns to never give up, which becomes a central theme in the series. We hear from some other major characters in this novel and get to see things from their points of view, as well. Tom, Chris, and Peter all have their own experiences in trying to survive, which keep you interested as you read. Although this book answers some questions, it also creates others that can only be answered by reading the third book. This book was exciting and very eventful. I really liked that I knew what was going on from all of the different perspectives, but it was almost exhausting to read with everything going on at once. I would still recommend this novel to those who read the first book, Ashes, because it helps to appreciate the characters and the story more once you know how the characters end up. This book reveals issues in society with the controlling government in Rule, but it fails to mention any scientific issues relating to “The Changed” or how all of the characters can survive in such harsh conditions. This lead me to question the plausibility of the story as a whole, but I was able to look passed that because I was so involved with the characters. Overall, Shadows by Ilsa Bick was extremely entertaining, and is a must- read for anyone who read the first book in the series.
Celia_Cristina More than 1 year ago
I had my own issues with the series that I can touch on briefly, but overall I liked it.  It's a good series, the story is solid across all three books, and I enjoyed it enough to re-read the first book before the second book came out.  It is very gory, and I think the third one even takes it a step further, but that was actually what bothered me the the least about the series.  I'm not squeamish when it comes to zombies, anyway.  But it's not just blood and guts, you do care very much about the three main characters, even the supporting cast, so that connection drives the story on. I know the author is an MD, so I appreciate that there isn't some poorly researched pseudo-science mumbo jumbo given by way of an explanation for things that go on (I mean, zombies, yes, but apart from that she didn't try to reinvent genetics or anything).  BUT, she also has extensive military knowledge, and sometimes that translates into pages of technobabble that is meaningless to the average reader (guns, fishing, knives, etc).  Those were the times when I'd put the book down for the day, I noticed, because it was more filler than interesting for me.  Also, some of the dialogue and cultural references seem too dated for the characters, and that's when you know that an adult with a perspective removed by a couple of decades has written this.  Last, sometimes the internal monologue between characters was too similar, the turns of phrase too common, and it didn't so much confuse the characters for me as detract from being immersed in the story (you go, "wait a minute… didn't I just read this?).  BUT, all of this wasn't enough to make me stop reading or discourage me from finishing the series.  On the contrary, I NEEDED to know what happened.  And I wasn't sorry.  The end of third book was totally worth it.   It's a unique series given the typical paranormal teen offerings at the moment (I'm not bashing it, I love twilight and mortal instruments and hunger games and all that jazz).  I would definitely recommend, just be aware that there is a fair bit of violence mixed in to this awesome story. 
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Valerie Book provided by NetGalley for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Wow. I was so disappointed in this sequel to Ashes that it’s hard to believe it’s the same author that wrote the book. I’ll give you the top three things that bothered me about the book giving it a low rating. 1. Who is telling this story? In Ashes, I could follow along with the main character, Alex. But, in this sequel, the point of view changes so much that I simply could not enjoy the story. It did not flow and was very disjointed. 2. Why is there no connection to book one? Even rereading my previous review of this book did not help me understand what was going on in the sequel. There were SO many characters and no back story or recapping that I just got confused more and more chapter after chapter. 3. The gore. I’m okay with violence and gore and expect it in books where the “undead” are involved, but this book went beyond gore. It went into territory that was uncomfortable for me to read about. The fights and feedings were especially over the top. I will not be reading book three and have no desire to know what happens to the main character. Rarely, if ever, has this happened with a book trilogy and it disappointed me beyond words.