Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Nov 11, 2011 by

AshfallUnder 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.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.


I loved how Ashfall by Mike Mullin started off. I loved all the action scenes in the beginning. Especially when he was comparing his reaction to the reaction of a hero in a movie after they get hurt (they jump up unscathed, he curls in a ball shaking with terror). It was a wee bit creepy and scary to tell the truth.

It was scary imagining the ongoing lightening and thunder. I mean, thunder gives me the creeps when it lasts a second too long, I can’t imagine it going on for hours or more.

I liked how we get to see Alex mature throughout the novel. I’m not pointing any fingers but a lot of times in these dystopian type books, the author writes the lead as annoying, cold, incredibly lucky, annoying, incredibly lucky, or (you guessed it!) annoying. Alex didn’t get things handed to him. He tried and worked hard to get the little bit that he had. He doesn’t escape injury free. I liked how Alex thought things out and even helped other people (which is pretty huge, given the circumstances). I’m so used to seeing the lead character go “every man for himself” that you forget that they do things like that. I’ll have to remember to get my son enrolled in some type of hand to hand combat class, it appears to come in handy.

I even liked Darla, even though she was pretty surly at first. It was understandable. I thought she and Alex were good for each other. Even with all the bleakness, it was sweet. And it added some brightness to all the dreariness.

I can’t say that I love the cover. It’s okay, but it could have been better, bleaker. I also didn’t like Target. But then again, crooks that talk like imbeciles always annoy me. And referring to yourself in the first person is ALWAYS lame. And it makes you look stupid. Very stupid.

I felt the settings and everything were really well described. I could accurately “see” the ash covering everything and making it dirty. I could “see” the farmhouses and the empty roads. The authors notes at the end of the book was a nice and thoughtful touch. It helped clarify a few things about super volcanoes that I was too lazy to look up while reading the book.

Danggit! I didn’t know this was a series! Was that information always on Goodreads and I just failed to see it? I liked the open endedness of the first book. I thought it was one of those stories where you draw your own conclusions about what happened next. You know, after? I suppose I could read the next one as I really do want to know what happens!

I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys dystopian books. Or, for those looking for books that will will appeal to guys. At some points I thought the story dragged on too much, but not enough to drop a star or anything.

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  1. I do like dystopian and this one looks quite different and quite cool!

  2. I’ve this book sounds very good! The cover looks good! Great review! Thank you for sharing it!

    New follower.

    Books For All Seasons

  3. Would love to see this featured on the weekly radio spot called The Book Report. It’s on WOR and a number of other stations, check out for schedules. Recommend the titles you wish to be featured at

  4. Sophia Rose

    This book sounds good. Thanks for posting the review!

  5. I didn’t know that this was a dystopian! I stayed away from it, never even read the the synopsis or anything! Now that I know, I’m seriously going to have to read it. Thanks for the review!

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