Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Ashfall by Mike MullinAshfall by Mike Mullin
Published by Tanglewood Press Genres: Survival Stories, Young Adult
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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.
For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to search for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.

I’m such a sucker for a plausible survival story. I loved… and hated this book. This reminded me of Life As We Knew It only better.
Hated it because these are the kind of books that speak to my personal fears. If I were to be a prepper it would be for a natural disaster scenario, lol. It’s like this Mayan dust up we have right now (and, ok, this is an older review but oh well). I don’t believe in it. Then I read this and think about how Alex was separated from his family, and I totally catch myself thinking about how I’m sending the kids to school that day (because I don’t believe anything will happen) and then what a dick I would feel like should I be proved wrong, lol. Then what. Le sigh. Stupid book making me think of all the horrible things I don’t want to think about.
The story is told from 15 year-old Alex’s POV, and the only minor complaint I have with this is that sometimes he didn’t read like a 15-16 year-old boy. It was only a few times, and each time it was only a word choice, but twice I wasn’t even sure what the word meant (thank you Kindle, lol) and I didn’t believe it from a 16 y/o male. Again, this was very much a minor complaint and didn’t detract from the story at all. In fact, as the book progressed it added depth to his character and showed his steady maturity. The entirety of the book was really well written, completely believable, and absolutely engrossing. I couldn’t put it down.
I loved Alex, and I loved Darla, even though once in a while it did seem like she was too MacGyver for a normal girl (even with her rural upbringing I mean). I loved Darla’s mom, and actually teared up at one point in her part of the story and I loved how Alex recognized the value of his own mother during his trek. Only 13% into it and he has this epiphany:
Lately I’d been so consumed with fighting with Mom that it never occurred to me what my life might be like without her. Without Dad’s benevolent disinterest. Without the brat, my sister. Who would I be, if they were all gone?
You guys.
Read this.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star


  1. I’ve had this book in my TBR FOREVER. It seems I should try it soon. I agree with you on the aspect of loving/hating a book because it makes you think of situations you would never expect to happen to you in real life. Great review!

    • Thanks, Vane! This book was seriously amazing, I still hold it as one of my all-time favorites for survival stories. The rest of the series didn’t live up to this one sadly, but the second one is still decent – the third I couldn’t actually finish :/ All that aside though this one should still totally be read!

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