Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick YP FIC BICK

Alex went on a trip to the woods to say goodbye to her dead parents and to prepare for death herself.  The Monster in her brain that keeps growing and growing won’t keep her from one last trip, but a strange pulse changes all that: Changes everything.  Good news: she has her sense of smell back and no headaches.   Bad news: everyone except people middle aged or older have turned into mindless, flesh eating beasts.  Now Alex, a young girl she has sworn to protect, and a mysterious young man named Tom have to face the woods, the beasts, and most dangerous of all: adults.

This is my favorite zombie book of the year hands down.  It is gory, grisly, gruesome, and has excellently realized characters and a slowly built up sense of tension and dread.  The slowly built romance between Tom and Alex feels real and earned and enhances the plot instead of seeming tacked on to get more readers.  The different adult villains are just as creepy and menacing as the zombies and Bick smartly starts out with very few zombie attacks at first, so that every encounter is chilling.  This is great hooror, great dystopian fiction, and just a great story filled with believable and interesting characters.  I highly recommend it to almost everyone.  

I have two warnings: First, if you have a weak stomach for gore you might want to skip this one, or at least the gorier pages. Second, there is a big change in storyline and characters in the book about 2/3s of the way through and ends on a sort of unresolved note.  A lot of people may be thrown by this or even angry.  I think it works for the overall story, but your mileage may vary.

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