Book Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pages: 480
Source: Los Angeles Public Library
Rating: ★★★★★ 
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human. – Goodreads

!!!! Just thinking about this book gets my heart racing. I read it in about four hours and, honestly, I have not had a reading experience like this in a long time; it was absolutely intense and I’m not exaggerating. It only took a few pages in for my eyes to grow as wide as saucers and for me to start chanting my “OH MY GOD”s over and over again. When I was done, around 3AM, I sat in bed for a while after because I simply could not calm down and get my brain to shut off.

The main character, Alex, was introduced after she decided to stop treatment for her inoperable brain tumor. Seeking an escape for herself, she set off into the woods to bring closure to one part of her life. While on the hike, she meets Ellie, a cranky eight year old, her dog, Mina, and her grandfather, Jack. They don’t spend much time together before it all goes to hell with the Zap. I won’t detail what happened but believe me when I say that it was CRAZY.

I have no idea how factual the details of the EMP were, but I appreciated the effort from Ilsa J. Bick because I definitely felt like I could understand and put myself into the situation. And guys? It terrified me. Again, I don’t know how likely any of it is, but it all came together so realistically that alarms were going off in my head.

Bick did not hold back in the events following the EMP. I dreaded every page turn because things continued to go from bad to worse for the cast of characters. And yet…I couldn’t read fast enough, either. There were, however, also several scenes that I had to take a break from because they were TOO much. Gruesome, violent, MINDBREAKING… I’m a big dog lover and there’s one specific scene where I actually woke up my dog to give her a hug. Ridiculous? Probably, but this book brought out many strong reactions from me.

Okay, here’s the thing: I’ve read some other reviews and I completely understand the issue people have found with the second half of the book. The shift in the story is so obvious and I definitely think there should have been a way to make the transition more seamless. However, while I definitely preferred the first half of the book, I can very clearly imagine both storylines coming together in an amazing way for the next installment.

Ahhhh, there’s still so much to say but this book has made my brain into mush. Here are a few snippets: makeshift family, eye balls, kick ass dogs, sweet romance, strange community, badassness…I could go on. In conclusion, this book is explosively good and you should read it!

Share and Enjoy

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Email
  • Pinterest

About the Blogger

Stephanie is 20-something. From Los Angeles. Gryffindor. Professional procrastinator. A repeat button abuser. And many other things. You can find her on twitter. You can also subscribe to the blog!


  1. Chelsey @ Starry Sky Books says:

    I’m glad to see Ashes worked for you, even after reading all those conflicting reviews! I don’t know how valid the EMP stuff is either, but even just knowing that something like that could happen, and that it would definitely have some kind of effect on our world is a scary thought. Great review.

  2. I haven’t read it yet, but I want to. Badly! It looks extremely good, that’s for sure! And oh, your review makes me want to read it even more badly. I definitely need to get myself a copy ASAP. Great review!

  3. I’ve read a couple reviews for this book, and I’m really curious about it! I kinda love scary books at the moment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Ahh, this sounds beyond amazing and the fact that you read it within hours…. yes, I must obtain a copy soon.

  5. WHOA. I’ve been debating about reading this because of the iffy reviews regarding the second half of the book, but….. DAMN. You have totally, 150% sold me on this!! I’m already cowering at the thought of some of these scenes, though (animal lover!). Amazing review, Stephanie. DYING TO READ THIS NOW! <3

  6. You’ve just convinced me to add this book to my TBR pile!!! :D

  7. I did the exact same thing! Sat down to start it and finished it a few hours later, feeling windblown and run over. Intense is a good word :)

  8. I’m really glad I’ve read your review now, because both, the cover and the summary never really appealed to me. But you seem to like this book soooo much that I want to pick it up immediately.
    I might check out other reviews now and maybe give this a chance after all. :)

    Thank you for sharing your opinion,

  9. I really want to read this! Glad you enjoyed it :) Awesome review!

  10. I’m one of the people who thought the second part of the book was intriguing and original, but just thought it was too much of a shift in pacing. I think it would’ve worked quite well as the beginning of the sequel. I am looking forward to seeing where the story goes though!

  11. This book was the best and the ending got me stting at the edge of my chair only to realize that there weren’t any pages left to read. I ABSOLUTLY LOVED THE BOOK AND CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SEQUAL!!!!!!!!


  1. [...] Posted: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout Everneath by Brodi Ashton Legend by Marie [...]

Speak Your Mind