OMG how I love this book (apologies for using OMG). I bought Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick as a dystopian and zombie recommendation from a few blog sites, little did I know how awesome this book really was.
Ashes follows terminally ill Alex who is dying from a monster tumour in her brain. Knowing she is on her last legs, Alex decides to skip school and climb a mountain and then the pulse hits. An EMP explodes causing great pain in Alex’s head, but she’s the lucky one. Most people are either killed instantly or become Changed seeking the flesh of other humans.
Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. Together this group of strangers try to find out what happened to the world and why only some people are affected by the EMP.
The heart of this story is definitely Alex’s character. She is strong and inquisitive, I love reading along as her thought patterns work and her feelings. You feel for Alex from the beginning because you know there is something wrong with her and it’s not just the monster in her brain. After the EMP hits is when the mystery begins, it felt a little slow, but also suspenseful. You keep expecting something to happen just waiting for the first Changed person to come along and attack them. And you’re not disappointed when it does happen. The action in this novel is set in all the right places, just where it needs to be.
I love the use of dogs in this story as feral and early warning signs of others who are or are going to change. The other characters play their roles well as Alex, Tom and Ellie begin to form their own family amongst the chaos of the new world.
By far the most interesting part is the mystery of why people become Changed and why some, like Alex, become Awakened. Alex survives and now she is different, she can smell people, how they feel. she can smell the Changed just like the dogs do. Does it have something to do with the monster in her brain of the little beads that didn’t work. What’s the connection?
I can’t wait to start reading book two: Shadows, which I have by my side as I write this waiting to be picked up as soon as I stop typing. I want to know the secrets of this new world and I will find them out.
Ashes is a great zombie dystopian novel. One of the Top ones out there.