It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.
Phew, what a ride this book took me on!
When we first met Alex and Darla in Ashfall, their situations were terrifying. In fact, when I stopped to think about it, it was more terrifying than your average post-apocalyptic read due to the fact that it’s an apocalyptic future that is theoretically possible. Though Alex’s journey in Ashfall was a slow and arduous one, it was gripping.
Now, in Ashen Winter things have sped up considerably. It was more fast-paced than Mullin’s previous book, every moment imbued with a sense of urgency.
Some of the dangers are the same, but they’ve increased. People have gotten wilder, civilizations more hostile to outsiders. Any semblances of government left are treated (and with good reason) with extreme wariness. Mike Mullin does an excellent job painting us a picture of life after the apocalypse.
Alex’s personal struggles come to life in a new way as well. Since the volcano exploded, he’s had to do a lot of growing up without adult having any say so in the matter. He’s had to decide right from wrong and make important decisions. Some adults that he encounters seem perfectly willing to accept him as an adult. Others can’t focus on anything but his age. It understandably frustrates him and it’s interesting as he reconciles what they want with what he wants.
Personally, I think the faster pace of Ashen Winter makes it even more enthralling than the first book. If you like post-apocalytpic fiction, you’ll definitely want to check these books out!
My Over All Rating: