ASHFALL by Mike Mullin (Tanglewood, September 27, 2011)
I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC of ASHFALL at ALA back in New Orleans. I tucked it in my suitcase and intended to read it right away, but somehow, between shipping some books and carrying others, it got put aside. But then I found it, set it on my nightstand, and finally got around to reading it.
In case you're worried this story is too similar to something else you've read, fear not. ASHFALL is an amazing book that has that number one quality I love: the inability to put the book down.
What else did I love about the book?
1) It's told in a male point-of-view. I've noticed male POV books generally fall into two categories. Either the male sounds like a female, or the story is so gritty and raw that the book falls into an older, darker category altogether. Not so with ASHFALL. The voice of the main character, Alex, is neither of these. In fact, I think Mike Mullin totally nailed this voice. I'd keep the book on my shelf as an example of how a great male POV can be accomplished without needing to be too raw.
2) That said, this is no pansy book. ASHFALL shows the worst of humankind after the explosion of the volcano. There are the worst of the worst, and they do horrible things. Yet even as those horrible things are being done, much of it is off the page so the reader is left to imagine. This makes the book way more accessible to the younger audience (I'm thinking 7th grade and up for this one). But to contrast the bad, so many people in the story show their true heart as they help other characters survive. So I guess what I'm trying to say is overall, this is not a dark story. People do bad things, and people to wonderful things. It's a nice balance.
3) Yes, there is martial arts in the book, and being a Kung Fu person, I'm all over this aspect of it. And can we give some serious kudos to the author Mike Mullin for doing a Taekwando demonstration in honor of his book? (Authors do the funnest things, and since I didn't find a book trailer...)
I truly enjoyed reading ASHFALL and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great apocalypse-type story. It's clever and real and one that will leave you thinking about it for days after. Highly recommended!
Source of book: From publisher at ALA