Reviews for Ashen Winter


Booklist Reviews 2012 August #1
As fast, furious, action-packed, and, yes, gruesome as Ashfall (2011), this sprawling sequel follows the continuation of 16-year-old Alex's journey with tough, gorgeous Darla through the ash and snow of a post-volcanic, dystopian midwestern world to find his parents, who are also searching for him. As he travels along the frozen Mississippi, he is reunited with Mom and Dad, but he loses Darla in a violent attack, and he sets out to rescue her from what might be forced prostitution. With the dangerous quests and violence (including torture), what will stay with readers is how the characters save each other from the worst. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
When Alex and Darla learn that Alex's parents may still be alive, they set off across the frozen post-Yellowstone-eruption middle-American landscape--with cannibal gangs newly in power--to find them. This chilling, action-packed dystopian follow-up to [cf2]Ashfall[cf1] features an epic love story and tough, complex characters struggling to retain their humanity in the face of a brutal new world.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 May #2
Almost a year after the Yellowstone eruption in Ashfall (2011), Alex and Darla are drawn back to dangerous Illinois, which has only grown worse. Life on Alex's uncle's farm has settled into a routine, and while the eruption has triggered an extended subzero winter, Alex and Darla's heated relationship keeps them warm. When a small flenser gang--cannibals--attack the farm, they drop the shotgun that Alex's uncle gave Alex's parents before they ventured into Illinois looking for their son. This discovery prompts Alex--accompanied by the more competent Darla--to head out in search of his parents. After a false start and a disastrous run-in with their old enemies, FEMA military contractors Black Lake, the story picks up with an even more catastrophic run-in with well-organized cannibals. The encounter leaves Alex trying to survive without Darla's help, struggling against flensers who trade in humans--both as food (in explicit detail) and for sex (tastefully inexplicit). Alyssa, a former slave of the cannibals, and her high-functioning autistic brother, military expert Ben, join Alex's rescue mission. The human-driven gore is much more horrifying than in Ashfall, though the realism isn't as strong in the frequent action sequences. Alex's nuanced feelings toward Darla serve to ground the book nicely, though. The cliffhanger ending leaves readers craving the next installment--and dreading what it may bring. A violent, desperate adventure in a chaotic, post-disaster world. (author's note) (Adventure. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #2
Almost a year after the Yellowstone eruption in Ashfall (2011), Alex and Darla are drawn back to dangerous Illinois, which has only grown worse. Life on Alex's uncle's farm has settled into a routine, and while the eruption has triggered an extended subzero winter, Alex and Darla's heated relationship keeps them warm. When a small flenser gang--cannibals--attack the farm, they drop the shotgun that Alex's uncle gave Alex's parents before they ventured into Illinois looking for their son. This discovery prompts Alex--accompanied by the more competent Darla--to head out in search of his parents. After a false start and a disastrous run-in with their old enemies, FEMA military contractors Black Lake, the story picks up with an even more catastrophic run-in with well-organized cannibals. The encounter leaves Alex trying to survive without Darla's help, struggling against flensers who trade in humans--both as food (in explicit detail) and for sex (tastefully inexplicit). Alyssa, a former slave of the cannibals, and her high-functioning autistic brother, military expert Ben, join Alex's rescue mission. The human-driven gore is much more horrifying than in Ashfall, though the realism isn't as strong in the frequent action sequences. Alex's nuanced feelings toward Darla serve to ground the book nicely, though. The cliffhanger ending leaves readers craving the next installment--and dreading what it may bring. A violent, desperate adventure in a chaotic, post-disaster world. (author's note) (Adventure. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

Gr 9 Up--Following the cataclysmic volcanic eruption in Yellowstone Park and the resulting volcanic winter, nationwide drops in temperature, and devastating snowfalls led to mass starvation and widespread lawlessness in Ashfall (Tanglewood, 2011). Separated from his family, Alex and Darla, a resourceful girl he met on the road, made their way to his uncle's farm. In this book, Alex gets word that his parents may still be alive and the teens head out into a very dangerous world to try to find them. Mullin's heroes are forced into horrendous situations where they deal with cannibals, slavers, corrupt government officials, and other nasty characters. Stomach-turning descriptions of brutality and strong language may offend some readers, but teens who enjoyed Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008) and Michael Grant's Gone (HarperTeen, 2008) will find Mullin's story equally engaging.--Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

[Page 146]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2012 October
The United States has fallen prey to a super volcano in Yellowstone Park. Alex and Darla fought their way out of FEMA and paramilitary camps to find Alex's family in Illinois, only to find that his parents had gone looking for him. Alex and Darla head out to find them after the farm is attacked by bandits that have Alex's father's gun. Shortly after they set out, Darla is shot and taken captive. Alex roams all over the Midwest in an attempt to get her back. He finds his parents in a FEMA camp that they cannot leave. His parents believe it is their duty to save this camp from "flensers" that are stealing people to use as slaves or to eat. The government is no help. Alex and his parents save the camp with the help of some friends and leave to once again look for Darla. His parents do not seem to understand why he needs to find her. His mother just wants to go home to Illinois, but his father decides to help him find the love of his life. What cost will Alex pay to get Darla back? Is the cost too high? What is going on at home when he returns? In this sequel to Ashfall (Tanglewood, 2011/VOYA December 2011), Mullin has outdone himself with nonstop action and injury. Just as soon as you think Alex has it all figured out, the other shoe drops and more problems arise. This book contains some content that may not be suitable for younger readers, such as sex, cannibalism, and violence.--Barbara Allen 5Q 5P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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