Monday, January 7, 2013

**REVIEW** Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Published By: Tanglewood Press
Review Copy: ARC, 576 pages
**Won the copy from the Author


  Reality has hit hard in this book.  Ashfall was just the tip of the ice berg it seems and now ten months into the future we would all fear, people are less human than ever.  Where before you had the odd person or people being vicious and inhumane, this novel has hit the mother load.  Most people can't handle the pressure, lack of food and the cold that seems to be only getting worse.  The world that before was scary is now almost down right terrifying.  However for a book of almost 600 pages it felt much shorter.  I finished this one in almost one sitting and it would have been one if we didn't have things to do that day.  Truth be told I'm not sure if I enjoyed Ashfall or this one more.  They both basically rocked my world.

  Alex is safe on his Uncles farm.  Well as safe as you can be in a world that has changed as it has.  When the super volcano erupted so many things changed including Alex.  Despite the safety and routine Alex has established things change when bandits show up with the gun that his parents left with.  Now determined to venture back out into the world that almost killed him the first time he has more to loose than ever.  Darla being the biggest thing in his life, will not be left behind.  With things worse than before and more vicious people it becomes more of a question of survival than ever.  When the unthinkable happens Alex only has one choice.  Dive deeper into the world of cannibals and murders or loose what is important.

  Although I have some serious love for Alex his actions in the first bit of this 
book made me want to punch him.  I cringed a lot and held my breath a few times because honestly I knew it was going to be bad.  It's like if he would just listen to Darla for two minutes than he would get into much less trouble and people would be far safer.  Not that he has bad intentions, it's quite the opposite actually but his good intentions are often rewarded with bad consequences.  Despite this minor listening issue I still love Alex.  The thing I love most did continue from the first novel into this one: Alex is NOT whiny.  Nothing worse than that for me but he is also loyal, determined and brave.  Not to say he doesn't have his moments but he is all around a great character to read.

  Darla has to be one of my favorite characters ever.  Her attitude, loyalty and brutal honesty is amazing.  Even though she loves Alex she doesn't sugar coat.  She will tell him flat out he does stupid things but she also tells him that she loves him.  Without her I'm not sure this book would hold up like it does now.  Mr. Mullin is a very talent writer but in creating Darla I think he really rallied a lot of love for this series.  Unfortunately there is not as much Darla as I would like to see in this book and why I can't tell you.  I will tell you that I missed the heck out of her and my heart raced many, many times when I thought of her.

  The brutal world I described to start is made more terrifying by the fact that it could happen.  The way that the world starts to react in the novel is basically how I would see it happening.  Problem is, it is scary as hell and people in this book may just be a little slower to the punch than reality.  The behavior we see is ten months in and I imagine that things would go much quicker if it were actually happening.  Sad fact but most people don't do well 
under stress and well this is sever.  When Alex and Darla made the decision to leave the farm I knew it would be bad but there were many more things brought to my attention than I thought up on my own.  This series has opened up an entire new can of terrifying that doesn't even involve zombie.  Cannibalism yes but no Zombies.

  Ashen Winter met my expectations and continued on with the horror that I have come to expect with this future world.  Mr. Mullin is creative and writes in such a way that you can get lost in the pages and become a part of everything.  I am eagerly awaiting the next book and am seriously wondering what I will have to do to get myself an early copy of it!

I still didn't think of myself having a girlfriend.  That word was too trivial for what Darla meant to me.

With both my hands against her icy skin, I realized she wasn't shivering as hard.  I took that as the worst kind of sign:  When the body quits shivering, it's preparing to die.

She dumped ground meal out of her motar into a paper bag and scooped something from a feed sack.  Behind her, I saw something roasting on a spit over the fire: a leg.

Apparently, I had an unfortunate talent for getting trapped inside cannibals' garages.

"That's the world we live in now."I swung him to face me.  "No.  You're blaming the world for the choices you made.  


  1. I really need to read this series, I think. I have heard such good things about it. Originally, it just didn't interest me. But then, some of the things that I have heard may have changed my mind a bit. I don't know. One day, I may have to do this!

  2. I can't...can't...can't get myself to read this book. Don't get me wrong, I love this series with the fiery passion of...well, a volcano but gah! I don't think my heart can take it. And for that, I salute your courage. I think I'm going to wait for the next one before I jump into this one.


  3. Cool review! I have heard good things about this series. It sounds like it is almost an end of the world book. I will have to find it and read it. ;)

  4. Ashen Winter is a roller coaster ride of emotion. Alex is a beacon of hope that humanity, not just humans will survive!
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