Title: Ashen Winter
Series: Ashfall #2
Author: Mike Mullin
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Source: Publisher Provided
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.
Sophomore slump? Move along, nothing to see here.
If anything, this one was better than the first.
The world Alex and Darla live in is far bleaker than the world we were introduced to in Ashfall. Refugee camps filled with “inmates”, gangs of cannibals, human slaves…
And through it all, love remains the central focus. Love, not to be confused with romance. How does Mullins do it?
One of the things I love about this trilogy is that it seems so plausible. If a situation like this actually happened, I’m pretty sure the world would devolve into cannibal gangs and towns behind walls and government “protected” refugee camps. It’s depressing, but fascinating. The character development and world building captured my attention enough that I was actually sad when it was over because I wanted to stay in that world a little bit longer – even though it was a rather bleak world. Alex and Darla were my friends.