Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

Thursday, March 20, 2014 with 7 comments

Title: Ashen Winter
Author: Mike Mullin
Series: Ashfall #2
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Publication Date: October 16th, 2012
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

I loved Ashfall, so I nearly tripped over myself to dive into Ashen Winter. I liked it, but it didn’t live up to book one. I have this problem sometimes with books like this. The disaster happens, and the excitement dies down, you’re left with the aftermath. That’s not always as fun to read about. Ashen Winter starts off about 10 months prior to the eruption. The opening lines are perfect…

“Ten months had passed since I’d last seen the sun. The rich blue of that final August sky was fading from my memory. Colors are slippery: If you cover your eyes and try to remember blue, you see black”

From here on, if you haven’t read Ashfall yet and you don’t want to be spoiled, leave now… *cue evil music*

So in Ashfall, Alex’s main goal is to make it to his uncles farm so he can be with his family. Along the way he meets Darla, and together they go through all kinds of crazy stuff, but they make it. Only to find out that Alex’s parents already left. They left so that they could go back and find him.

When his parents don’t come back after 6 months of searching, he packs up some supplies and heads out with Darla to find them. It seems almost like a needle in a hay stack honestly. What are the chances they are even alive.

All kinds of stuff goes down, and I won’t spoil, but the world has not changed for the better in these horrible times. The worst part of the whole disaster is watching human nature take over. People get crazy!! Like really freaking crazy, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and wonder… would it really be like that? Could it really get that bad?

I suppose it could, but I sure hope not. I feel like Alex is the Luckiest guy and also the least lucky guy. My goodness these poor kids go through hell, but everything does eventually seem to work out for them.

The main focus of Ashen Winter I would say, is the corrupted world they live in now. That made it drag a little for me but all the action kept me turning the page. I’m interested to see how the trilogy will wrap up.

Mike MullinAbout the author:

Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school.
From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really hoping this writing thing works out.

Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. ASHFALL is his first novel.

Find Mike:

Website | TwitterFacebookGoodreads


  1. I didn't love this book as much as book 1 either. I found I didn't like Alex as much without Darla. And I felt like he was doing some really dumb things and taking dumb risks that were pissing me off. I was also disappointed in the parents. I thought they would be a lot more likable. But I still love this series. I just finished Sunrise and it's definitely worth reading. It shows you what goes on over the next 3 years.

    1. yeah, the parents were a huge disappointment. And I finished Sunrise not to long ago as well, and I enjoyed it. :) The whole series turned out being more brutal than I expected. lol. Not for those with a weak stomach, that's for sure. :)

  2. Hmmm...I usually find the same is true of most sequels...lots of world-building and it's pretty slow-going for me. I hate trudging through a middle book so I can get to the ending of the series. But since you're still pretty invested in the story, it can't be that bad, right? I'm not really sure a book that focuses so much on human nature is for me, though...just thinking about the lengths some people would go to to survive and get what they want gives me the heeby jeebies. :P

    1. yeah, the lengths they go to isn't pretty and it gets worse in book three. I was invested though. I needed to know what happened to them, ya know? Even if it was hard to read at times.

  3. Ashen Winter for me was good but definitely didn't live up to book 1. I think my biggest issue was Alex he just seems to go from this amazingly strong and brave character to one with the mental aptitude of a 10 year old. I loved Darla though she as always was great. Since you've already read Sunrise I guess you know how it turns out. Can't wait to see that review for sure.

    1. Yeah, he does lose a little of that strong quality in this one. Though I had to hand it to him, I didn't think he'd get anything without Darla. lol, She's is awesome. I love her character so much. She is definitely the smarter one of the two.

  4. I was really looking forward reading the second book and I wasn't disappointed ! Actually read it in few days and will read the conclusion of the trilogy as soon as possible.
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