- Publisher: Tanglewood Press
- Format: Hardback | 576 pages
- Dimensions: 140mm x 216mm x 46mm | 794g
- Publication date: 23 October 2012
- Publication City/Country: Terre Haute, IN
- ISBN 10: 1933718757
- ISBN 13: 9781933718750
- Sales rank: 244,708
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.
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Mike Mullin first discovered he could make money writing in sixth grade. His teacher, Mrs. Brannon, occasionally paid students for using unusual words. Mullin's first sale as a writer earned ten cents for one word: tenacious. Since then, Mullin has always been involved with literature. One of his early jobs was shelving books at Central Library in Indianapolis. Later, he paid his way through graduate school in part by serving as a reference assistant. He has worked in his mother's business, Kids Ink Children's Bookstore, for more than twenty years, serving at various times as a store manager, buyer, school and library salesperson, and marketing consultant. Mullin wrote his first novel in elementary school - Captain Poopy's Sewer Adventures. He's been writing more or less nonstop ever since, but fortunately for his readers, Ashfall will be his first published novel. Mullin holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Visit www.mikemullinauthor.com for more info about the author and Ashfall and its sequel, Ashen Winter.
By Jacob Walters 26 Jan 2013
By Jason 23 Oct 2012
Mike Mullin's Ashen Winter stars with a bang and ends with a sense of dread foreboding. In between, the reader is taken on a non-stop action ride that spans two weeks of time and covers western Illinois and eastern Iowa. So far, I have been warning people getting ready to start the book that they should be ready to invest time and energy because this novel is not going to let them go until they reach the end.
It has been some months since young Alex and his girlfriend, Darla, arrived at the farmstead of Alex's uncle and his family. Those who read the previous book, Ashfall, know that upon arrival, Alex discovered that his parents were gone, having gone in search for him. The safest thing to do in such a situation is to wait for them to return. This changes when a group of bandits assault the farm, shooting Alex's cousin, Max, and threatening to kidnap the girls and make them into sex slaves.
Here, as we saw in the previous book, we see that Alex often has a lot more bravery than smarts as he puts himself on the wrong end of the bandits' guns. Still, the family survives and the girls are saved and Max will live. What comes out of the assault, though, is knowledge of Alex's parents as an item that belonged to them was found to be in the hands of the bandits. This impels Alex upon a desperate search for the whereabouts of his parents. Knowing better than to try and stop Alex, his uncle helps the teen prepare. Darla, who is probably the most knowledgeable and resourceful of anyone in the novel, insists on accompanying him.
This begins a hunt through two states, across the Mississippi and brings Alex and Darla into contact with despicable government contractors, cannibals, slave traders and those townsfolk who have barricaded themselves into the shelters of their town in a desperate attempt to survive a world gone post-apocalyptic.
During their journey the two must survive against a world plunged into a nuclear winter brought on by the massive amounts of ash and particulate in the atmosphere. Scurvy is rampant, meat is mostly non-existent and what meat that can be found is usually referred to by the appellate "long pork."
The worst possible thing happens to Alex during the early stages of this novel, Darla is taken captive by a band of cannibals. Fearing for her life, Alex will do anything to get back the woman that he loves. If anything proves that he has matured past being a sullen, self-centered teen, it is single-minded determination to save and protect those whom he loves. This is easier said than done, Darla really was the accomplished survivor of the two and had been doing her best to keep Alex safe.
Alex is joined in his quest to rescue his beloved by a sex slave and her autistic brother. As annoying as they can be at times, Alex refuses to allow them to come to harm even as he finds himself battered and exhausted time and again.
What is important for the young reader is that this novel is a powerful sociological study regarding humanity in times of extreme duress. The things that makes a person a human is stripped away by the layer as they struggle to survive in a world that has betrayed them. Neighbor turns against neighbor and even reduces himself to eating those whom he once knew. Even Alex's family members engage in revolting acts of torture. When called upon it by Alex, their response is succinct, We do this to protect those who depend on us for their survival.
The post supervolcano winter is a bleak and horrid place and those parts of the country that were mostly unscathed by the destruction are counting on the government and the government's mercenary agents to make sure that the refugees do not inundate them and divide their supplies and food stocks. Through all of this one could be excused for giving in to despair, anarchy and losing their will to live. Alex, and those around him, show the power of the human spirit to keep the flame of the heart burning and looking forward to a better day.
People who have read Cormac McCarthy's The Road will find many parallels in this novel, but I personally felt that there was a great deal more emotion and character depth in Ashen Winter. If you have not gotten yourself a copy of this book or have not read the prequel, Ashfall, I highly recommend you jump into this series.
By Brenden 21 Sep 2012
I just got an advanced copy from my Teacher, and It was amazing! Like... i dont want to give anything away.. but the fights are a little more complex, and the overall way the book is writen i think got a bit better. Its a little more Suspenseful, plus their is a bunch of stuff that is introduced into the series that I thought made the book better as a whole. and i would recomend this to everyone, its a really good book.
"In this sequel to Ashfall, 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."--VOYA "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."--School Library Journal "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 postvolcanic, dystopian Midwestern world."--Booklist "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."--Kirkus Reviews "In this chilling debut, Mullin seamlessly weaves meticulous details about science, geography, agriculture, and slaughter into his prose, creating a fully immersive and internally consistent world scarily close to reality." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review