Ashfall (Ashfall Trilogy)

by Mike Mullin | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1933718749 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingeponine38wing of Winchester, Massachusetts USA on 11/11/2014
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingeponine38wing from Winchester, Massachusetts USA on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Took this from a Little Free Library in order to make room for some books I was dropping off. Don't remember where, though - possibly one of the three LFLs in Arlington, MA.

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 seach 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.

Journal Entry 2 by wingeponine38wing at Algiers, 40 Brattle Street, Harvard Sq. in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Released 6 yrs ago (11/12/2014 UTC) at Algiers, 40 Brattle Street, Harvard Sq. in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA


For tonight's meetup.

Released for 2014 E-less Challenge hosted by pinkoeria.


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Released 6 yrs ago (5/30/2015 UTC) at Panera Bread, 299 Harvard St. in Brookline, Massachusetts USA


The characters in this book are really engaging. I didn't want it to end.

Bringing this to the BookCrossing Meetup...

Journal Entry 4 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, May 30, 2015
I got this book at today's Boston BookCrossing Meetup; many thanks! It was great to see you all again!

I've actually had this one on my wishlist for some time - can't get enough of "Yellowstone Park exploding" {wry grin} - so of course I pounced on this.

Later: A quick read, and an intense one, starting with 16-year-old Alex's realization that the impact and fire that damaged his family home and almost killed him wasn't a solitary event but the harbinger of the massive eruption of the supervolcano. And as if the spreading darkness, falling ash covering everything, and the hours and hours of ear-splitting rumbles from the (1,000-mile-distant!) explosion weren't enough, no sooner has the rumbling faded and Alex and the neighbors he's taken shelter with try to regroup, a trio of violent meth-heads break in to the house...

Alex does have excellent martial-arts skills, which come in handy fairly often, but he's perhaps a bit lacking in the common-sense department - not that his situation couldn't shatter the most level-headed person's ability to concentrate. After some emotional trauma from the aftermath of the break-in, Alex decides not to stay with the neighbors but to try to get to his parents and sister, who are visiting family in a small town some 160 miles to the east. Whether or not this is a good idea, he sets off, working out a relatively clever way to travel in the deepening ash and dim light, and that kicks off his adventures.

The book contains lots of variations on the "what would you do" question, from individuals who hole up and threaten anyone who comes near to communities that try to work together to ration food and support each other, to gangs of roving, violent people interested only in taking advantage of the chaos. And then there's the big-business/big-government variation, which (in the examples we see in the book, not necessarily representative of the way the rest of the country - or the world - is going) is Not Nice At All. But, again, the situation is dire in the extreme, with it being all too clear that it will be impossible to save everyone, possibly to save even a small minority over the long term, so what to do?

I liked Alex, and really liked Darla, the 18-year-old farm girl he meets down the road, whose knowledge and skills are much more useful for survival in this ash-covered and stripped-down world than Alex's (though his fighting skills do come in handy, in one of the more harrowing scenes in the story). They rescue each other more than once, and forge a strong friendship that gradually turns into something more.

I did wonder a bit at some of the story elements, given that a relatively short period of time passes during the novel. Near the end there's an amusing bit where a town doctor is dispensing Froot Loops and other breakfast cereals as a remedy for scurvy, as those cereals are all fortified with vitamins, and can make up for the near-total loss of Vitamin C due to the ash-caused die-off of all fresh plants. Scurvy can take a while to kick in, and most households would have contained some percentage of fortified/vitamin-supplemented foods to start with, so I wouldn't have thought that it would be a problem quite so soon - but it definitely would be a problem eventually, and it made for a darkly funny incident.

While the nature of the situation means that there's a limit to how upbeat the book can be, there's enough hope and caring here to help make up for all the darkness. [I noted with some amusement that a previous reader had added a fancy "bad ending, much?" to the last page - but I didn't consider it a bad ending at all.]

While there's no way to know how closely this scenario matches what might actually happen when the Yellowstone caldera blows - way too many variables, for one thing - it could very well be as bad as, or worse than, described here. And while it might not happen for millennia, it *might* happen any day. Pleasant dreams!

Journal Entry 5 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, June 1, 2015

Released 6 yrs ago (6/1/2015 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I'm sending this to BCer hyphen8 in Hawaii as a prize for participating in this year's April Showers/May Flowers release challenge. Enjoy!

*** Released as part of the 2015 Keep Them Moving release challenge. ***

Journal Entry 6 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, July 4, 2015
This apparently arrived on 6/19, just after I left on vacation. Got back yesterday afternoon (7/2) and only opened the package today. Looks like this should be an interesting read - thanks for sharing it with me!

Saw the Nature's Fury exhibit at the AMNH in NYC earlier this week..and it did mention the supervolcano under Yellowstone. ;)

Journal Entry 7 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, February 28, 2016
Given that I live on the remains of a long-dormant volcano, I've always been interested in the subject. I've only visited Yellowstone once, as a young child, but I'd love to go again someday...preferrably long BEFORE it goes boom.

The journal image is the editorial comment left by a previous reader and mentioned by GoryDetails - I'm with Gory, I don't think it was a bad ending at all. It's clear what the next book will be about, but it's much too big a story to tie up all the loose ends in one book!

I found the multi-talented Darla more interesting than Alex, but I enjoyed the story (even though occasionally the ups and downs got to me - every time things calmed down a little I knew something truly rotten was just around the corner.

Discovered by looking at the author's website that he's written Darla's Story (book 0.5, available in e-book and audio formats), so I'll be reading that soon. Right now (2/27/16) there's a blog giveaway you can enter for audio copies of Ashfall and Darla's Story.

Counting this as my 2016 Iowa read for NancyNova's 2015-2016 50 States reading challenge.
2016 states read (12/51): AL CA CO GA ID IA MA MO MT NM NY WY

Journal Entry 8 by winghyphen8wing at Gas station in Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Friday, March 11, 2016

Released 5 yrs ago (3/11/2016 UTC) at Gas station in Honolulu, Hawaii USA


Chevron - 407 Kapahulu Ave - by the gas pumps.

Wild released for Firegirl's 4 Elements challenge and AlterEgoZoe's Leap into the Wild Challenge. Also counting this for pam99's A-Z Authors (release) challenge.

(Larger photo here - after following link, click on image to zoom.)

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