Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mike Mullin. ASHFALL

This apocalyptic book brought to mind another one of my absolute favorites, LIFE AS WE KNEW IT. I read it about four years ago, but I will always remember the atmosphere that Pfeffer brought to that book. It was so real. In ASHFALL, Mullin is equally talented in creating an atmosphere and characters that will stick with me long after today.

Fifteen-year-old Alex was so excited to get to stay home alone while his parents and sister went to visit their uncles farm in Warren, IL. Lately he and his mom had been fighting constantly and the idea of vacationing with them on a farm was to much to bear. He would regret that decision.

The rumbling began three hours later while he played World of Warcraft. It sounded like an earthquake. Then his house fell right on top of him and caught on fire. After climbing his way out, he meets up with some neighbors who take him in for the night. They deal with with strange occurrences all night: noises so loud they have to wear headphones, no electricity, no water. Then the ashfall begins. The sky is dark and the air begins to cool. They are able to figure out what happened from snippets on the battery powered radio. The supervolcano beneath Yellowstone has erupted.

After several incidents of violence and panic, Alex decides to go find his parents in Warren. Traveling is dangerous and difficult. People along the way are distraught and desperate. There is no way to know what's going on in other areas. The sky is dark with ash cover. The roads are thick with ash, making it slow to walk. Alex was creative enough to grab his dad's cross country skis to help him travel.  No vehicles can travel across the ash. After grabbing what food and water he can fit in his backpack, Alex sets out to reach his family. He will do whatever it takes to be able to have the luxury of fighting with his mom once more.

While reading LIFE AS WE KNEW IT, I felt compelled to check our pantry for can foods. While nearing the end of this book, I felt the need to go outside and feel the sunshine and warmth. I looked up at the sun  to revel in the lack of ash in the air. Mullin created such a realistic world that my mind had a hard time leaving it behind. The gripping suspense and action-packed plot kept me reading way past my bedtime. You will be tempted to read it all in one sitting. But then you'll be sad it's over. Fortunately, I found out that there is a sequel due out next year! I'm so glad! I'm anxious to see what's happening with Alex in the next book.

For more on Mike Mullin go here for his website.
This book is due out in October. Put it on your "to read" list. You won't regret it!