Ashfall by Mike Mullin *Review*

Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the Earth forever.

Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when the supervolcano erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter.  When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait–to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.

I have always enjoyed stories of survival against incredible odds.  Although most of the survival books I read are true stories, occasionally I like to delve into something that’s not true…but could be.

Ashfall lets you think about the what ifs.  What if the supervolcano under Yellowstone did erupt?  What if the falling ash for weeks on end killed all wildlife and crops still in the field?  What if there was no clean water to drink?  How would you survive…or could you?

Alex starts out on his trek with nothing more then a few cans of food and bottles filled with water from the back of the toilet tank.  He doesn’t know if he can make the trip to his uncle’s house to join up with his parents but he knows if he stays he will surely die.  Along the way he does meet up with a few communities who are starting to pull life back together.  They are organized and they are willing to shelter him if he joins their work crews to try to forage for food.  Even though the temptation is great, his will to join his family is greater.  So on he moves.

When he is injured by a desperate convict looking for food he is reluctantly saved by Darla.  Her mother, being a Christian, is determined to help feed and clothe him but Darla knows any food they share with him means less for her and her mother.    She wishes he would just leave.  Thankfully, Darla sticks with him and aids him on his journey because this feisty teen ends up saving him more than once!

A mesmerizing  fiction novel about life after a supervolcano eruption, Ashfall receives 3.5/5 stars.

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2 responses to “Ashfall by Mike Mullin *Review*

  1. This sounds like a dystopian novel with a lot of promise. Not crazy about the book cover though.

  2. I have been curious about this one Angie -thanks for the review! 🙂

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