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Review: Ashes by Isla Bick


ASHES by Isla Bick is a unique story of an apocalyptic event that will have your skin slithering and your heart pounding. Written in a militaristic style of attention to detail and precision writing I was instantly in love with the author's style. I can't wait to read more from this world and this author. ASHES if you love dystopian is a book you do not want to miss!

Alex, our heroine is broken from the onset. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and battling the pain of the recent loss of her parents, she treks into the wilderness in what is a sort of abstract defining herself period. Intent on being alone she is slightly irritated when an older man and his very surly young granddaughter ask to join her camp. They have barely finished breakfast when something disastrous happens. Screaming pain, odd animal behavior and Alex's world is suddenly much more complex than only five minutes earlier. Alex and the young girl, Ellie, must make their way out of the wilderness to what they believe is the safety of civilization. Yet, as they trek further towards what they believe to be safe territory a reality starts to unveil before them…and it is not comforting.

The first contact with other humans is the scariest thing you'll read in ASHES as Bick describes in gruesome details how it would be to view a girl pop an eye out of someone's socket. On top of the details there is the fact that Bick holds no punches, she lays everything out, gruesome, emotional and non-emotional. This isn't a story of how the "most centered and perfect person" deals with an apocalypse - this is the story about someone real, someone that weighs out their own survival, deals with a new world where just the act of finding something to eat is a desperate search. Bick mixes apocalypse zombie fiction with dystopian political narratives and makes it into something that is a little more than the usual young adult fiction. This book will get you thinking, scare the crap out of you and have your heart-breaking all in one paragraph. DON'T MISS THIS ONE. I haven't been this freaked out by a young adult novel in a long time.

One of the main things that stood out in this book was Bick's voice. Where most female authors possess a, well, to put it bluntly female tone, with focus on love and internalizing emotional trauma, Bick almost had a man's tone. I may be off at times, but I do believe there is a big difference in the writings of a man and woman. Men tend to take an outside in approach, females inside out. This I believe is why men tend to be so good at writing horror and mystery, women dramas and romance. Stereo typical, yes, but it is a majority, not across the board. There of course are great romantic male authors, just like there are some amazing mystery writers that are female. Now, let me bring it back to Bick. Bick parleyed both worlds. Alex while, very internalized also had a broad viewing, the best of both worlds. The narrative was almost militaristic, which would make sense with Bick's military background. It led to a highly original tone and a book that shouldn't be passed up.

Dystopian and apocalypse fans run, don't walk to get this book. You will not be disappointed. This has violence and some sexual undertones so it is recommended for mature teens.


Young Adult Novel

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Truly Bookish said...

I saw your review for Ashes on Goodreads and immediately added it to my TBR list. I'm getting it from my library and can't wait to read it!
Truly Bookish

Giselle said...

Wow! This sounds really good! I love dystopians of any kinds I'll definitely check this one out! Great review!

Xpresso Reads

Anna @ Literary Exploration said...

I'm glad to hear this was a good one! I've been dying to read this one for a long time now! Ever since I saw it on the Alan's Picks website I've been tempted to grab it up at several bookstores. It sounds sort of like a female version of Ashfall, which is awesome! I definitely won't be passing it up again :) Great review!

Julie@My5monkeys said...

oh adding this to the reading pile . Great review

Rain Maiden said...

I love a good freak out! Thanks for the review.

Karen said...

I'm sold. I have Ashes already so it's definitely getting moved up the pile. It also looks like something my husband would like to read. Great review!

Speech Delay Mamma said...

I loved this book too. Definitely going to be picking up the sequel with that cliff hanger ending!

JessiM said...

And...THE END?!?!

Your initial review of this one of GR was what convinced me to pick this one up sooner rather than later. And now I recommend it to readers all the time!

I think your analysis of men vs. women writers is pretty spot on. Bick did strike me as finding this very unique space between, which allows an even wider audience to enjoy her book.

Melliane said...

When I see the cover I didn't think it was a book for me. Maybe I was wrong. I'm glad you liked it ! Now I will add it to my wishlist. Thanks for the review

Amie@Mom Reads My Books! said...

I loved this book! It was unbelievable! I cannot wait for the sequel! Great review!

Gwenyth Love said...

I absolutely loved this book. Thanks for sharing your great review!

Unknown said...

I got this one on Netgalley and yes it wasn't a book to read at night at all! Totally scared right until the end.

Bibliotropic said...

I loved this book. Quite disturbing in some places, and though it might be a turnoff to some, I found that the pacing of the book (fairly calm though with an undercurrent of urgency, punctuated by moments of mind-numbing terror) worked really well for the setting. Honestly, I think Ilsa J Bick is on her way to becoming one of my favourite YA authors!

Anonymous said...

This sounds fantastic; great review! This book was already on my wishlist, but now I want to read it even more, haha

thereadingpanda said...

This one sounds like it is not for the faint of heart! My heart started pounding just reading the review.

Tina W said...

I can not get over how the cover creeps me out!! When I get this book I'll have to hide the cover away!

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

It definitely sounds like my kind of books!

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