Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: Ashes Trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick

Titles: Ashes, Shadows, and Monsters
Author: Ilsa J. Bick | Website
Available: Now
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Dystopian

Source: Ashes and Shadows were purchased by me. 
A galley of Monsters was provided for review from the publisher (thank you!)

My thoughts:

I need to start by saying I had planned to review these separately. I probably should review these separately, but I read this series back to back in the matter of a couple of weeks. It is a blur of crazy in my head, and I have such a hard time forming my thoughts for a review of a book if I read the rest of the series before I sit down to do it. So this happens. Trilogy review instead of individual review :) Spoiler free I promise!

The trilogy starts with Ashes. Main character Alex hasn't had an easy life. First her parents are killed and now she has a stubborn brain tumor that isn't responding to treatment. She heads to the mountains on a camping trip accompanied by the ashes of her parents and her father's glock. I don't know if she plans to return. While in the mountains the world as she knows it comes to a screeching halt. Animals act erratic. People drop dead. Teens and young adults begin to feast on the few survivors. Alex quickly finds herself struggling to survive.

Ashes is one of those book you just can't put down. I was completely enthralled. It was packed full of amazing characters. Alex is about as bad ass as you can get. Love interest Tom, a soldier struggling with PTSD, spoke to me on so many levels. I loved how the story developed. The pacing was fast thanks to non-stop action. After I was done I wanted to run to the store to stock pile survival nescessities, but I didn't because that would have delayed me starting the second book in this trilogy, Shadows.

Unfortunately, Shadows was not a win with me. The alternating points of view (many, many points of view) and rapidly increasing cast of characters was overwhelming. I didn't want all these new characters! I wanted the characters I had grown attached to over the course of Ashes. My love for Alex and Tom, paired with my desire to know the outcome of all the crazy, made me keep on keeping on. & I'm so glad I did.

I was worried when I started reading Monsters. Shadows had really thrown me for a loop and left me scratching my head wondering what the hell had just happened. After just a few chapters in I was so glad I hadn't abandoned this series. Now that I've finished I totally see what the author was trying to do with the second book. The course the plot takes requires a very elaborate set up, but for me I found it to me more overwhelming than interesting.

While I didn't love Shadows nearly as much as Ashes, it rang much more true to what I had wanted and needed in this series. FYI this finale is HUGE. Like 600+ pages huge. The ending is killer. I've read it over and over and still don't have the closure I desire. Please say there will be some type of follow up novella for folks like me!

While book two left me baffled, I still have much love for this trilogy and author. I won't hesitate to pick up anything she writes in the future. Looking for a creepy Halloween read? Look no further!


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