Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
Alex has her own demons to face. Having been dealt a hard hand in life, she decides to take a long hike up into the woods for some time alone to ponder and to take care of some unfinished business with her parents. Her alone time dreams are brought to a stop when she meets up with an elderly gentleman and his granddaughter Ellie along the way. Alex finds no harm in being polite and spending some time with them before being on her way.
Suddenly a flash pulses through the sky and before her eyes the elderly gentleman slumps over, dead and Alex finds herself coaxing a very scared young Ellie and her dog to join her as they try to get out of the woods and figure out what is going on.
Along the way Alex and Ellie find that people have changed and some, not for the better. Some teens seem to have gone mad, killing one another and Alex is not sure who she can trust. When she meets up with Tom in a circumstance that causes her to trust him, she learns that the flash was an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that has wiped out the world’s electricity – no computer, televisions, IPODS, MP3′s, cell phones, watches, and most cars are just a sample of what has changed in the flash.
But what is up with the changes teens, and as Alex moves forward and meets more people how does she know who she can trust in a world she no longer feels familiar with…
Yowza. Ashes took me by surprise and pulled me right into the story. I liked Alex and sympathized with her cause. And this whole EMP topic, really gets you thinking. (I first read about EMP’s in One Second After).
I listened to this one on audio and while Katherine Kellgren kept a sweet and engaging pace in her reading, her voice didn’t seem to feel right for the characters she was reading. She has almost a sophisticated tone to her voice and right from the start it seemed off for the book, although I enjoyed the story so stuck with it and by the end it didn’t bother me so much except for the occasional screeching. (Mmmmmmm hmmmmmm screeching)
That aside, the book is fast paced and interesting. Warning: it does end rather suddenly and at a sort of cliff hanger moment too that can be taken as “OOOH exciting” or “What the” annoying. I fell somewhere in the middle. I, was surprised that it was over, even checked the audio to be sure, but curious to want to know what is next. Thankfully, Shadows, the second book in this trilogy is out and I ordered it right away – but this time in book format.