Review: Ashes by Isla J. Bick

The start of a YA series that has huge promise, but a strange and not entirely welcome change in direction half way through. 

Ashes Summary

It could happen tomorrow…

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerised system, and killing billions. 

Alex hiked into the woods to say goodbye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom – a young soldier – and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. 

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human. 

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Ashes Review

Ashes started off so well. I was so, so intrigued by it. Anything apocalyptic is right up my street and I loved Alex’s character and her backstory too. I found the survival aspect of it completely captivating and utterly terrifying.

I was so looking forward to getting answers, but the second half of the book (which by the way is a pretty hefty 465 pages) takes bit of a disappointing turn that knocked a star off for me. Maybe “a bit of a disappointing turn” is putting it lightly, too.

First, a sudden and annoying (and in my opinion entirely unnecessary) love triangle is introduced. Second, what on Earth is going on? Like, seriously, what!? The characters we’ve been following find themselves in the strangest place, adding a whole new layer of complication and weirdness to the story that I just didn’t see coming. It threw me right off.

It felt like such a shame to go from such a promising start to this new direction that I just wasn’t feeling. That said, there is an epic cliffhanger that I quite enjoyed so there’s no doubt about whether or not I’ll read book two. I’m just hoping the second book, called Shadows, takes us back (at least a little bit) towards the path the first half of Ashes was following.

My rating

3.5/5 stars

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