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.I'm putting this disclaimer out right now before things get real: this review is going to be long and philosophical because this book gave me tons to think about. This book blew my mind. No matter how awful things got in it, I could not put it down. I had to see if Alex would make it. It reminded me how lucky we are for every day that we have on this Earth. I might worry about how I'm going to pay the bills or how expensive the braces my son is going to need will be but at least I have those things to worry about. The people of Pompeii are a testament to how easily that can change. Natural disasters are a scary thing- why else would so many dumb action movies be made about them?! The thought that I could lose my children to a tornado, a volcanic eruption, a tidal wave... it's a freaking scary thought. This book should make you glad to be alive, glad to have parents who love (and nag at) you, and glad for all the things that make our lives easier. It can all vanish in an instant, and for Alex, it did. He goes from playing World of Warcraft to fighting for his life. He goes through hell to find some glimmer of hope and safety. By the end of this book, you'll barely recognize the boy from the first pages. This book also reminded me of some things that have always struck me: power corrupts, in the absence of civilization we lose the things that separate us from animals, and that love gives us the will to fight. Alex sees these things first hand. He sees people abuse one another for resources and power in the post eruption world. He watches as those in power use their power to decide who will live, who will die and how those remaining will be allowed to live. He experiences awful, tragic things that will no doubt haunt him. But in the midst of all of the hopelessness and evil surrounding him, Alex finds love and that love gives him the will to fight against all odds. This book is a must read for EVERYONE. Go buy it and read it. You'll be a better person for it. I promise.
You can find out more about Mike Mullin on his website and his blog. You can follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook. You can also click here to add Ashfall to your Goodreads. (DO IT! You won't regret it!) You can also click here to add Ashen Winter to your To Read list! Ashen Winter is set to release on October 16th so be sure to preorder now! Ashfall earns 5 Fairies for being an engrossing read that left me thinking about it for days.