Book Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin
First sentence: "I was home alone on that Friday evening."
From the front flap: "Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don't realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano, so large that the caldera can only be seen by plane or satellite. And by some scientific measurements, it could be overdue for an eruption.
For Alex, being alone for the weekend means freedom from his parents and the chance to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek, searching for his family and finding help in Darla, his travel partner. Together, they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster."
My take: I can't believe I waited this long to find and read, no -- devour, this book. I couldn't put it down. The reason it took me as long as it did was because I had to put it down while I drove the 4 hours back home from Iowa this weekend. Finding a book based in Iowa that was realistic was a pleasure! I was born there, and lived there for 47 years before moving to Missouri. The places he mentions in his book are all very familiar to me -- having driven in that area several times. I loved the action. I love the in-your-face realism. I liked Alex and Darla. She's the technically inclined one of the pair, and I think that's an unusual -- but welcome change of pace. Now, I can't wait for the second book due out later this year. I only have one TEENSY little problem with the book. I doubt anyone unfamiliar with Iowa caught it, but I did. On page 299 at the bottom... Darla and Alex were talking about his old girlfriend. Darla asks him about Cedar RAPIDS instead of Cedar FALLS. Not a big deal -- and I'm sure folks from Iowa caught it. One other thing I'd like to mention, as an aspiring writer who has sought representation of an agent for her work... I think it's fabulous that this book was rejected by several agents. He wound up going with a local (to him) publisher without an agent. Kudos to you Mr. Mullin!
If you've reviewed the book, leave a comment here and I'll post a link to your review!
Caught Between the Pages
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 476 pages
Publisher: Tanglewood Press (September 27, 2011)
My rating: A