“Ashfall (Ashfall #1)” by Mike Mullin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Post Apocalyptic
Summary from Goodreads:
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 search 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.
This is one of the more terrifying post-apocalyptic books I’ve read. Reading about people living in the aftermath of a huge disaster is scary enough on its own but reading about people living through something that has the potential to happen? Incredibly scary. I think I liked the book a bit more because of how close to reality it was. Even though nothing like this has happened in our lifetime, the author was able to capture the possibility very well. Everything presented seemed plausible and realistic.
I liked Alex well enough. You could see how he changed over the course of the book. It was a natural progression. He didn’t instantly become an outdoors man. He struggled with it every single day and made mistakes along the way. Darla was likeable as well. I appreciated the fact that she was the one who had a better grasp of how to live in this type of world. She was the leader of the two of them. I didn’t like their relationship though. I can understand becoming close to someone quickly in these circumstances is possible but I didn’t buy into their love. I was glad they were careful about what they were doing but a bit irked that it was brought up. You really don’t need to be doing something that could bring a child into this world. I can understand that sex is on their minds but they have millions of other things to be worrying about. Life will never, ever be the same again. I think we can hold off on fooling around with someone you met a month ago even if you ‘love’ them.
The story was pretty interesting. In some ways it reminded me of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It definitely had the same dark tones. There was a lot packed into the story. I was impressed that the author made a really long trek interesting for the reader. It did drag in a few places but it wasn’t too bad over all.
The bottom line? Dark but enjoyable.