Title: Ashen Winter
Series: Ashfall #2
Author: Mike Mullin
No. of Pages: 594
Published: October 16, 2012
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B & N
WHAT I LIKED
The general premise of the Ashfall series is still something that continues to pique my interest. Namely, because I have often pondered on the catastrophic aftermath of a plausible Yellowstone eruption. That said, Ashen Winter opened up more of this grim world and continued to build a grisly atmosphere. This and the overall tone of the story arc is truly what kept me reading.
On the plotting spectrum, Ashen Winter took an interesting turn that I was frankly not too keen with; however, the story gradually improves and reaches its prime right during the last quarter of the book where it manages to expose the cruelty of humanity whilst simultaneously depicting the determination and zeal to overcome all the challenges and obstacles found in a cruel dystopian world. Sadly, this is where the positives end for me.
THINGS THAT MADE ME GO HMMM. . .
My main gripe with Ashen Winter was with the overwhelming exposition and descriptions where every single detail, every emotion, every aspect, every exaggerated action scene is described in tedious detail-focused fine points. Take, for example, this scene:
I scuttled over to a standpipe that jutted from the roof. By clinging to it with my hands, I could safely do leg lifts and side kicks. I worked on those until my leg muscles were burning and my whole body started to warm up. Then I turned around, hooked my ankles around a standpipe, and did push-ups for a while ignoring the pain of my wounds. By the time I finished, my arms were sore, but I was toasty. I slithered back to the top of the roof and peeked out.
The simple fact is, I am not a fan of exposition that is so patently ridiculous it drives me to complete boredom; and it stands to reason that this is why it took me so long to finish the book in the first place!
Speaking of action scenes, have you ever wondered what it would be like to give birth to a Chuck Norris/Jean-Claude Van Damme baby? Well folks, allow me to introduce you to Alex Halprin. A fifteen (later sixteen-year-old) martial artist beefcake who is basically an untouchable action hero with superhuman abilities (I’m being sarcastic) that help him defeat the odds with his awesome roundhouse kicks, front kicks, back kicks, side kicks, drop/axe kicks, hook kicks, spin kicks, tornado kicks, backfists, forefists, elbow strikes, eagle strikes, tiger claws, and everything else that revolves around Taekwondo technicalities:
My kick connected perfectly, catching him right between his legs. The hours of farm work, pedaling Bikezilla, and skiing had paid off – my kick was so powerful it lifted him onto his toes. Then he crumpled, collapsing and clutching his crotch.
Mind you, this is only one snippet out of the 500+ pages in this book that produced an overabundance of corny non-stop action sequences for your reading entertainment; and it stands to reason that, these ridiculously exaggerated scenes manage to suck the juice straight out of the story. All this to say that these bursts of action scenes (along with the overwhelming exposition) induced inevitable eye-rolling and facepalm sessions, to say the least; long shall you reign Alex!
For most of the book, I found myself incredibly frustrated with the fact that View Spoiler »we rarely saw Darla « Hide Spoiler and were instead introduced to a new cast of characters who lacked depth so desperately. View Spoiler »One of them being a girl who tried on so many occasions to seduce Alex! « Hide Spoiler Truth be told, I’m only in this for Darla and Alex; in fact, they are the only reason why I enjoyed Ashfall so much and why I am determined to finish this series.
With a nearly 600 page book that is, essentially, all description amidst corny action sequences, Ashen Winter did not deliver on the promise of its highly engrossing predecessor Ashfall. I ended the book quite exasperated and while the story did end on a somewhat high note, I was just too tired and underwhelmed to care; and that is what I have to say about my experience with this book.
SPECIAL BITS & PIECES
|Drugs & Alcohol||Minor||Mild||Moderate||Heavy||Extreme|
|RECOMMENDED FOR||YA 18+|
Loss of a loved one, murder, attempted murder; moderate strong language, moderate religious profanities; sexual references, brief nudity, prostitution, sex trafficking, sexual jokes and lines are tossed about, sexual violence & rape; the book involves cannibalism, danger, and threats in an extremely gloomy and bleak atmosphere
ALSO IN THIS SERIES