Ashfall by Mike Mullin

What would you do if a super volcano erupted and spewed ash all over the United States, messed with the climate, and disrupted your entire life?  Would you get out in the middle of ash raining down and objects flying through the air to try to find your family who had left earlier that day?  Alex did.  He was nuts.  This book was nuts….it was good kinda nuts though.

Title: Ashfall (Ashfall #1)

Author: Mike Mullin

Summary (by Goodreads):

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.

My take:

So a super volcano resides below Yellowstone…which that’s actually true.  In Ashfall the volcano erupts causing a major catastrophe throughout almost all of the US…which hasn’t happened…yet.

Alex is a stubborn teenager with all the personality flaws that any normal teenager would have.  Annoyed at the little sister who rats on him to their parents, always arguing with his mom, and is more concerned about himself than his family.  So when his parents want to visit his Aunt and Uncle…Alex digs in and says he doesn’t want to go.  His parents leave him alone and all hell breaks loose.

Ash from this volcano is raining literally…for days.  Storms make it nearly impossible to walk and people begin looting and murdering each other for food and water… it’s a nightmare.  As Alex begins his journey (that would only take 2 hours to drive) he finds himself trying to find ways to barter for food or for clean water for weeks.  He meets people along his journey, making friends and enemies, while maturing and learning how to survive in this new apocalyptic world.

The beginning of the book with the descriptions of sounds, the darkness, the smell…it was just so well written that it even had me a little creeped out.   It was very vivid…everything was described horrifically wonderful.  Does that make sense? …and can you write horrifically wonderful in the same sentence?  I felt the claustrophobia and the feeling of the unknown.  Obviously if this were to happen to me…it would be different because of who I am and where I live…but it was a great tale of survival and trying to figure out the unknowns.

Overall, I liked the book.  There are more books as the author is turning this into a series.  This book doesn’t have cliff hanger, but it really makes me want to know what else happens.  So it may feel like a “ditch hanger”!  …isn’t that nerdy! Haha!


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