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Book Review for Ashfall by Mike Mullin

CuddleBuggery: Book Review for Ashfall by Mike Mullin

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Book Review for Ashfall by Mike Mullin

CuddleBuggery: Book Review for Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review for Ashfall by Mike Mullin


*This ARC was provided to me by the publishers.  No money or gifts were exchanged for this review.

I seem to be one of the very few that found this book a little on the average side.  It really probably wasn’t the book’s fault.  In fact, if you’re looking for some good reviews of this book, try out Phoebe North's review.  

There are several different reasons why people enjoy apocalypse stories.  Some people enjoy watching the break down of society and making commentary on that.  Some people enjoy the struggle for survival.  Me?  I like to read them to compare them to what *I* would do.  The more applicable the situation to me is, the better.  Like zombies, right?  Everyone can associate with a good zombie apocalypse. You’re getting your elbow chewed on, I’m getting my elbow chewed on, we’re all being eaten!  Look!  Something to share!

The problem with more specific disaster scenarios is the risk that part of your audience may not be able to relate to the situation.  That was me.  Don’t get me wrong.  Just because I live in Australia, doesn’t mean I think that we’re going to cruise through a planet-killer like Yellowstone Volcano like we did through the Global Financial Crisis.  Of course everything but the most meagre dregs of humanity are going to be killed when that thing goes off.  But we’re going to have a different kind of struggle to the one the main character has.

He was a reasonable character who started off a little weak and boring for me.  It was approximately page 250 when I had very nearly given up on this book, that he really picked up and I began to enjoy his personal story.  Darla’s character is enjoyable from the get-go and I think it is her inclusion in this book that truly pushes it up onto a well-deserved pedestal.  

The writing is, for the most part, very serviceable.  It is smooth when it needs to be, gritty when it needs to be and achingly painful for other parts. I certainly have no qualms about that!

I suppose, for this book, it was the little things that got to me.  Themes that didn’t translate as well across the Pacific Ocean.  This book deals with themes of government oppression and corporate greed that vaguely felt silly to me.  Though, to be fair, I get why this is an unsettling premise to Americans.  My government has never tried to transmit thoughts into our brain!  Our military still runs on Windows 03!  

Then surprisingly, was the transparent fear-mongering against socialism and how horrible it is to be stripped down and become part of the masses under an oppressive regime.  Socialism, government fear, issues with authority and autonomy aren’t as big a deal here and I think gave a triteness to this novel, for me, that a different audience would find powerful and unsettling.  

Over all it was a fun read, and for a different audience, I think it would serve its purpose very strongly.

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4 Comments:

Blogger ahz1 said...

Great review, Kat! (But I loved it.)

November 24, 2011 at 6:47 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Sounds like a novel written from a very specific political perspective. I think your review is pretty fair, considering not everyone could find that appealing. :)

November 26, 2011 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger CuddleBug said...

Thanks Kate. It does feel that way. It's like The Road by Cormac McCarthy but less depressing because it's really, REALLY hard to be that depressing.

The thing is, my government is more afraid of us than we are of it. Also our politicians are complete idiots and I don't think they have the capabilities of even thinking of what the government does in this book.

They'd still be bickering with each other in the face of human disaster.

November 28, 2011 at 4:31 PM  
Anonymous Eesti said...

The characters are fantastic! Alex is such a strong character, who's really smart and resourceful, using skis to travel across the ash. In the beginning he's a sort of nerdy kind who likes to spend all his time playing WOW, but he also takes taekwondoe so you know there's something deeper to him. He ends up changing and growing a lot throughout the novel. Darla is a great female character, she's strong, and smart, and sassy, everything you want a female protagonist to be.

January 24, 2012 at 7:49 PM  

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