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.
This was an exciting, fast paced story that was quite a bit darker than the first book. Life is different than in the first book, but is seems neither easier nor harder, just full of different challenges.
I enjoyed Alex even better in this book. His honor really stood out. His commitment to Darya was commendable. Even when faced with the temptation of easy sex, he stood firm to Darya. That sets a great example for readers, especially since the setting was one in which Darya would never know if it happened or not.
While I enjoyed Alex, I did not like his parents. His mom was way too protective and unwilling to see Alex as anything other than a child. It seemed unrealistic within the circumstances of the book. His father was much more of a surprise. In the first book, Alex’s memories were of a quiet and gentle guy. In this book, we get to see the reality of his father’s current personality, and I’m not sure I liked the hard, sometimes vicious and cruel man he has become.
Overall, this was a great second book in the series. It is definitely a series book, but doesn’t suffer the usual second book problems. It is a full story, and an enjoyable one at that, albeit of a slightly darker nature. I definitely loved it, and can’t wait for the third to come out.
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