Title: Ashes. Author: Ilsa J. Bick. Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Speculative Fiction. Publisher: Egmont USA Publication Date: September An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions. Alex hiked into . SHADOWS pretty much picks up where ASHES left off and is a bigger and broader book, with a LOT going on, new characters to meet, new mysteries to unravel.

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For story-telling purposes—plot, pacing and all that—I decided ulsa a detailed recap. On what starts out to be a perfectly nice Saturday in October, a wave of e-bombs sends electromagnetic pulses sweeping through the sky. No one knows who did this, or why. All that matters are the effects. So that spiffy new iPad? Along the East and West Coasts, the detonation of low-altitude nukes above nuclear waste storage facilities, as well as other facilities going critical because backup generators do not kick in, spews fallout into the atmosphere, turning the moon green and the sunrises bloody.

Everyone who might be able to fix anything is asges history. In a flash, civilization collapses into a hellish, pre-industrial black hole. Those still alive—the very young and the very old—must find a way to battle new enemies, not only fellow survivors organized into raiding parties and rigidly-ordered societies like Rule, a very small, very insular village but the Changed: Dogs are like canaries in a mine when it comes to the Changed: There is also some suggestion that dogs know who is likely to Change or actively Changing.

A very few people have changed in a different way, developing super-senses that some are not afraid to use to their advantage. All kids are suddenly valuable commodities; the few Spared are also viewed with suspicion because no one is quite sure if the Change is over.

Suckier still, Alex carries a monster in her head: After two years of failed chemotherapy, radiation, ashees experimental regimens, Alex has decided to call the shots for a change. After the Zap, Alex gets her sense of smell back in spades: Which is pretty funky. Much more to the point and like the dogs, she is able to detect the bloated roadkill stink of the Changed.

Oh, and all of a sudden, every dog is her new best friend. What can you say? Initially rescued by Alex and then Tom, Ellie is kidnapped by some very nasty adults who see her as a meal ticket.

Mina also has the patience of a saint and packs a mean bite. The nasty adults take her, too. Steady and calm, someone to whom Alex is instantly attracted, Tom also has a few secrets j.ick his own. Dark and reserved, a bit of a brooder, Chris has an uncanny ability to find Spared, especially up north around Oren and its nearby Amish community. He falls for Alex in a big way.


Despite her initial determination to escape from Rule, Alex eventually reciprocates. At 24, Peter is the oldest Spared and fiercely protective of Chris.

Sarah, Tori, and Lena: After the Zap, Yeager was Awakened. Like Alex, he possesses a ilea and can determine emotions and truthfulness through touch. For a variety of reasons—all of them very good—Chris is reluctant. Jess makes no secret of encouraging Chris and Alex to become, well, a little ashees.

Ashes Trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick

He is also an Awakened, though he has no super-sense. Kincaid has suggested that the monster might be dead, dormant, or organizing into something entirely different. After Tom is shot, he and Alex make it to a deserted convenience station. While there, Alex battles three brain-zapped teenagers and very nearly ends up as an appetizer.

Already weak from his gunshot wound, which is also badly infected, Tom is even more seriously hurt when a brain-zapped kid takes a chunk of his neck.

Alex makes it to Rule, acquiring j.biick orphaned puppy on the way and having ilza close encounter with a wolf pack, but is nearly lynched by a mob of terrified adults who see kids her age as potential threats. Chris and his dog, Jet, rescue her. She convinces Chris and Peter to leave the relative safety of Rule and go back for Tom. When ilea arrive, however, Tom has vanished.

It is now the beginning of November. Harlan confesses and says that he last saw Ellie and Mina weeks before and south of Rule. With nowhere else to go, the winter digging in, Ellie gone, and no idea if Tom is still alive, Alex really has no choice but to stay.

This turns out to be moot since Rule has no intention of allowing the Spared to leave; indeed, the inhabitants of the village—extremely fundamentalist and maybe an offshoot of the Amish near Oren—are encouraged to see rescuing the Spared as a sort of holy grail. Furthermore, this is a very traditional society organized along gender-specific tasks. Still, not everything asshes rotten. Yet the months slip by and life develops a mind-numbing routine that begins to wear Alex down in a kind of acceptance.

Chris makes many overtures she rejects, but she does grow fond of him. Forced to go ever further, Chris and Peter leave for Wisconsin. But he can kiss Alex, and boy, is it a doozy. Chris leaves h.bick his foraging expedition, and Alex seems content to wait for his return. This is strange since it means that Chris broke off from the main party to go north instead of sticking with Peter and his men, who went west. In the course of taking care of the boy, Ilsz finds something of hers: Unfortunately, the boy dies without regaining consciousness.

She is stopped, however, by none other than Jess, who Alex now realizes is an Awakened iilsa a super-sense of her own hearing. As it turns out, however, Jess has been waiting for Alex to make this decision and helps her escape.

As Alex is escorted by Jess and her allies to the Zone, Chris suddenly gallops out of the woods. Although Alex tries to help Chris, Jess forces isa out at gunpoint.


So You Read ASHES a Year Ago | ILSA J. BICK

Once away from Rule and many miles into the Zone, Alex asges upon a shocking tableau: One frozen head she recognizes: Harlan, the man who stole Ellie and was Banned months before. And she is discovered by a pack of five Changed: I just wanted to extend my praise to you,Ilsa.

Your book has been the first in a long time to grip my attention. It really has a fantastic balance of dark themes and moral questioning. I know you write for a young adult audience, but I wanted you to know that I as a college student, along with my friends, are big fans!

So You Read ASHES a Year Ago

I hope to see more of your books aashes the near future. May inspiration be plentiful! Bick, My name is Katy and I most recently read your book Ashes.

Aside from being flat out amazed by it, I was slightly confused by the ending. I simply have minimal questions. So to start, Rule was feeding the changed people?

Why were they helping the changed, dangerous people that everyone feared? Was Chris a bad guy after all? I would very much appreciate if you would take the time to answer these questions I am dying to completely understand! First off, so glad you liked the book.

I just finished your book and I spent about 40 minutes looking for answers. I loved the book but I just really wanted her to find tom and Ellie. Hey Ilsa, great writing. Ashes really gripped me from beginning to end. I happened by this book from my librarian at our high school. This j.bidk what I love about librarians: Hello my name is Jordan Evans and I have a question, will you be writing more books for the ashes trilogy or is that trilogy now over?

Can you please write one last book with a concluding ending j.bick Ashes! I just finshed the book 3 min ago! I have so many questions that can only be answered by another book. Bick I am doing a book report on Ashes book 1 and I had one question. Did Jess have a super-sense? Something about my byy forwarding my mail…but no matter. First off, thanks so much for writing in.

That you did would suggest you liked the books—always a good thing! I actually wrote about it a while back: Having said that, I have a few ideas, but I am also trying to finish another book first. Well…what do you think? I think I hint at it in the first book. Gotta know — will there be another one? So glad you enjoyed!