September 7, 2013

Book review: Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

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A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts -- for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of vicious dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

Ashes, Ashes should have been right up my alley. It's a YA post-apocalyptic story about the survivors of a virus outbreak, much like In the Hands of Children. The problem is that it never grabbed me. The novel wasn't bad. All of the required elements were there, but for some reason, the book just didn't resonate with me.

I think part of it was that there was a lot that didn't make sense. The premise is based on two big popular fears: global warming causing mass flooding and a pandemic that kills most of the people on the planet. I can buy both of those happening in the same story, and in a way, Ashes, Ashes is original in that it does. However, how the survivors live their lives afterwards was confounding, e.g., why Lucy doesn't raid stores or empty homes for more supplies, why the survivors don't try to evade the Sweepers. The math also didn't add up. According to the fatality rate of the virus, there should only be a handful of people alive on the planet, but there are hundreds alive just in the New York City area!

The last quarter of the book did pick up a bit, but the characters continued to make decisions that didn't make sense to me. It was just too hard to get into this book when I kept questioning why things happened the way they did while I was reading it.

There are a lot of YA post-apocalyptic novels out there. Ashes, Ashes isn't bad, but there are others that you'll enjoy more.

I read this book as part of the Authors A to Z reading challenge. Next up: Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? by Eleanor Updale.

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