Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: Ashfall

(Ashfall #2)
By Mike Mullin

Published: October 11th 2011 by Tanglewood Press
Read from:  January 11-14, 2012
Number of pages: 466
Source:  HS Library
Find it on:
goodreadsindie Bound

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

From the Author's website:
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.

(Above text from

My Review
If the above text doesn’t make you want to read this book, I’m not sure what will…but if you need a little more persuasion here is my humble review of this amazing book.

I don't want to go into too much detail and spoil the book, but the whole story is very realistic. The premises of the supervolcano, is very real. Obviously since there hasn't been a supervolcanic eruption in human history we don't know exactly what will happen, but there is plenty of speculation and scientific researcher as to what could happen if a volcano of that size were to erupt, and the author has done his research on that part.

The characters are very believable. Alex is just your average 15 year old who is thrown in to this devastating situation, and his emotional and physical journey as he tries to make his way to his family is very moving. In addition to Alex’s true to life portrayal, the way the satellite characters react to the eruption and to Alex is very realistic. Some of the people he encounters are very giving despite the hardships they are forced to endure, others are far from generous. Over all I think Mike Mullin’s portrayal of a society in crises is very accurate.

Unlike other dystopian novels that are set in the distant future with a society that is hardly a shadow of our world now Ashfall happens in our world in our not too distant future. On the first page of the book Alex says he will always remember where he was the day the volcano erupted just like his parents will always remember where they were on September 11th so at its earliest this story could be set in 2016 (I’m assuming Alex was not born until sometime after 2011) but no later than 2030. We can only hope something like this doesn’t happen in our lifetime.

For more information about the book and supervolcanos make sure you check out the books website ( and if you get a chance to read this book don’t pass it up it is well worth the read. I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel Ashen Winter which is set to come out October 8, 2012.


With the popularity of dystopia and apocalyptic novels it can be hard to choose what novels are worth reading and which once are more of the same old thing. Ashfall is absolutely a must read!

Since I work in a school library I'm always looking for books that will appeal to boys as well as girls (I feel like SO much of YA is geared towards teenage girls, and it can be difficult to find a great book that a teenage boy who is reluctant reader will enjoy) Ashfall is my new "go-to" series for guys!

If you have ever wondered "How could everything get like this?" while reading a dystopian novel (I know I have) then Ashfall will satisfy that curiosity. It's full of action and shows exactly how a society could change as a result of a natural disaster and ultimately become the societies we see in all the dystopia novels on the shelves today.

My Rating:

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