First novel in Mike Mullin’s apocalyptic series sends shivers

Posted on Jul 16 2013 - 2:04am by Alex Gryder

With the final installment to the “Ashfall” trilogy, “Sunrise,” expected to be released sometime in the next year, Mike Mullin has created an exciting apocalyptic series that can send an eerily realistic shiver down a reader’s back.

The first book in the series, “Ashfall,” happened to find me while I was browsing on Amazon. I am huge fan of adventure stories. I am an even bigger fan of male narrators. I think it may have to do with the fact that I am a girl and it’s nice to be able to look inside a male mind every so often.

The story is about a young man’s survival while searching for his family after a super volcano erupts under Yellowstone National Park and destroys his home town. He struggles through a landscape that has been torched by the volcano leaving nothing but darkness and ash. He meets a fellow survivor, Darla, and together they fight for survival in the new world around them.

Mullin did a fantastic job making me believe that a volcano had just erupted and caused mass panic throughout the United States. Alex is one of the most dynamic characters in the Young Adult genre that I’ve read in a while; however, he annoyed me in the beginning of the novel. He was very innocent and spoiled and seemed to take it personally that the volcano erupted at an inconvenient time for him. Alex seemed unable to comprehend how anyone could lose their humanity in a time when it was most needed. He’s a prime example of someone who needs to be told, “Not everyone can be like you.” He may have been able to gain my respect when he left his ash-covered hometown had it not been for the reason that he was scared of staying where he was.

This is the part where everyone begins to complain.

“My god. Are we ever going to see civilization again?” is a main thought that ran through my head for who knows how many pages. I sadly read this book on my Kindle and I’m stuck in the generation without page numbers. Mullin seems to be a very cut-and-dry writer, and it is not a bad thing. I’m a big fan of John Green and I can sometimes get caught up in flowery language. Mullin does not seem like a flowery kind of guy, and his novel has no room for flowery language. I mean, this is a story about a super volcano covering the world in ash! It was tough, straightforward, and disturbing with many graphic and horrific scenes. I found myself curling up in a ball during the scenes where Alex was trying to find food. The most horrifying idea in this novel is the fact that this could actually happen; however, it is an unlikely occurrence.

After what felt like an eternity, Alex finally comes across a farm where he meets Darla. This is where he starts to change from the naive boy I met in the beginning of the story to the strong young man; girls seem to have this affect on males. What I appreciated, and I know a lot of other people did too, about their relationship is that it was not “Twilight.” There was no “love at first sight” or “I’m going to die if I don’t kiss you right now” in this novel. It felt real, true and genuine. Darla is a badass. She’s probably one of the toughest girls in Young Adult today.

Would I have liked flowery language? Yes. Would I have liked longer sentence structure? Yes. Would that have worked for this novel? No.

Last thoughts: I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed Mullin’s first novel and I will be reading “Ashen Winter,” the sequel to “Ashfall,” very soon.