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.
Ashfall is a great, unique view into a post-apocalyptic world. I never heard of a supervolcano before, and I don't think Alex had either; but when it erupts, his entire life changes. Mike Mullin takes this plot and runs with it, sparing no sensibilities. There is violence, bloodshed, and rape. All the baser instincts of human beings are brought to life, as any such catastrophe would bring them out.
Alex has to grow up quickly in this new world. He learns to fend for himself and deal with a lot of really bad situations. Yet, he seems to retain a sense of innocence and hope that is quite endearing. Darla provided a strong partner for him, someone to help and to cling to when things got rough.
The only real negative I have for this book is that it was too long. There was a lot of repetitiousness during travel scenes. I know some of that was done to instill the sense of the long hard trek, but as a reader, I thought it was taken too far.
If you're a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories, as I am, then Ashfall is for you. Because of the violence, it's not for tweenyboppers or younger. But more mature young adults and older will love it!
*Disclaimer: I received this book from the publishers through Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review.
I give this book 4 Bookworms.
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 476 Pages
Publisher: Tanglewood Press (September 27, 2011)