The Ashes Trilogy: Ashes

The Ashes Trilogy: Ashes : Book 1

3.94 (25,134 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
3.94 (25,134 ratings by Goodreads)

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A cataclysmic event. A dramatically changed world. A zombie army. Can three kids really survive... and who can they trust?

Alex has run away and is hiking through the wilderness with her dead parents' ashes, about to say goodbye to the life she no longer wants to live. But then the world suddenly changes. An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who has changed...

Everyone still alive has turned - some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh). Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the zombies that are on the hunt, Alex meets up with Tom - an Army veteran who escaped one war only to find something worse at home - and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to find food, shelter, while fighting off the 'Changed' and those desperate to stay alive.

A tense and involving adventure with shocks and sudden plot twists that will keep teen and adult readers gripped.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 144 x 200 x 33mm | 327g
  • Quercus Children's Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0857382624
  • 9780857382627
  • 46,536

Review Text

'I pulled an all-nighter to read it and my eyes were starting to protest by the end. I really liked the characters, they were very human ... the book was really awesome and I loved it and I will cry if there is not a sequel' Bloggers Heart Books. Bloggers Heart Books
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Review quote

'I pulled an all-nighter to read it and my eyes were starting to protest by the end. I really liked the characters, they were very human ... the book was really awesome and I loved it and I will cry if there is not a sequel' Bloggers Heart Books. * Bloggers Heart Books * 'totally thrilling' Books For Keeps. * Books For Keeps * 'I can't even begin to describe how much I loved reading this book. I never wanted it to end! It literally had everything I personally love in books. It had loads of twists and turns, great characters, horror that isn't for the fainthearted ... I really can't wait for more from Ilsa Bick because Ashes was a truly glorious read that gave me goosebumps! One of my top favourites of the year so far!' Books Glorious Books. * Books Glorious Books * 'The vicissitudes of surviving in a post-apocalyptic world are skilfully, and sometimes graphically, drawn ... This novel is slickly and effectively written. It has a page turning, anxiety-riddled quality that makes it a very compelling read' Carousel magazine. * Carousel Magazine * 'Bick's apocalyptic thriller is packed with action and gore. The book is fast pace and gripping ... Overall this is a thrilling read with a huge cliff-hanger of an ending' Jenny Duffy, Kim * Jenny Duffy, Kim * 'Ashes is a must read' Michael Grant, bestselling author of Gone. * Michael Grant * 'What sets Ashes above many other post-apocalyptic offerings is the standard of debut author Bick's writing. Sometimes stark, often extremely frightening it is also strangely beautiful' The Mountains of Instead. * Mountains of Instead * 'Unputdownable! Full to the brim with tension and stomach-churning fear' We Love This Book. * We Love This Book * This book was really, really good! ... I would classify it as a 'gory-romance' ... a must-read' Teen Titles. * Teen Titles * ''This is the first of a trilogy and I can't wait for the rest of the series to be released' Inis. * Inis *
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About Ilsa J. Bick

Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, a film scholar, surgeon wannabe, former Air Force major, and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, e-books, and novels. Ilsa currently lives with her family and other furry creatures in rural Wisconsin One thing she loves about the neighbours is that they're very quiet and come around for sugar only once in a blue moon. You can visit her online at
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Rating details

3.94 out of 5 stars
- 25,134 ratings
5 35% (8,843)
4 35% (8,788)
3 21% (5,291)
2 6% (1,476)
1 3% (736)

Our customer reviews

Ashes starts really strong. Alex hikes into the woods when she meets Ellie, an 8 year old girl, and her grandpa. While she is talking to them she suddenly feels a tremendous pain and pressure in her head. Ellies' grandpa keels over with blood spurting out of his ears and mouth. Alex sees birds falling from the sky and the deer acting strange. Alex and Ellie have to get out of the woods to find help. They decide to head to the rangers station further up the mountain. Along the way they stumble on some teenagers eating a person, they are freaked and quickly run away. They meet up with Tom when he saves them from a zapped teenager that tries to eat them. Tom is Army and tells Alex he reckons it was an electromagnetic pulse or something like that and isn't just happening here. Ilsa Bick draws you into a world that is bleak and what people are left will do anything for survival. The first time Alex sees the Zapped kids is one of the gruesomest, goriest, scariest, heart pounding, nail biting parts. The author isn't afraid to describe exactly what was happening. She pulls you into the scene and you are on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens. Alex is such a likeable character. Despite what is happening with her she tries everything to keep Ellie safe even with Ellie being a typical 8 year old and making nothing easy. She is a very scared little girl and Alex does all she can to make sure Ellie is OK. Then they meet up with Tom and he makes the girls feel protected and safe. He is so good and kind with Ellie and helps Alex learn to defend herself. He is a really strong character. In this Post Apocalyptic time Alex, Ellie and Tom have to deal with Zapped kids, raiders, savage dogs and trying to survive. Ashes read like a typical post apocalyptic book and then bam the author throws something else into the mix. Something happens half way through and Alexs journey isn't the same. From then on its twists and turns and you honestly don't know what will happen. Ashes is a action packed, scary, heart stopping story and Im really look forward to seeing what happens to these characters and Im glad I can dive into book two because with the ending of book one I was like NOOOOO!!show more
by natalie cleary
If there's a thing that post-apocalyptic novels have taught me is that I don't want to be around people when it happens. Beside the fact that some of them might turn into zombies and chew your face off, there are those who remain "normal", and wouldn't have any qualms shooting you over a pound of flour. Cormac McCarthy would agree. I think he'd also approve of Ilsa J. Bick's vision of the apocalypse, and even more important, the idea that it's not (just) the zombies you should fear. Ashes throws one punch after the other and is filled with action, gore and romance. Alex has not only a bunch of human-munching zombies to fight off. When the disaster strikes, she is on a hiking trip with a mission, and despite the fact that she's well-prepared, she loses all her equipment and has to survive with what little she has left. Alex is a great character, capable, brave and smart, but half-broken and confused by what's happening around her and inside her head. If you're queasy, you might find the descriptions too graphic and detailed. There's also a scene of brutal animal torture that shocked me more than the humans being chewed on. The quasi-society that we're introduced to closer to the end poses some important questions about how far people are willing to go to ensure survival in a world that's gone to bust. While we're rooting for Alex to take matters into her own hands, it's also impossible not to start seeing things from another perspective and embrace some things as necessities, no matter how morally dubious they may seem. (This was very vague, but I'm trying to avoid spoilers here.) Alex is torn between two options as well. While I wasn't completely happy about the love triangle, being able to follow Alex's line of thought made it bearable and added to the suspension. The book pretty much ends with a blast. It's completely unpredictable and I can't wait to get my hands on Shadows. Ashes left me with lots of unanswered questions, not just relating to the cliffhanger ending, but throughout he story as well. While I expect them to be answered in the sequel, those questions distracted me from getting completely lost in Ashes and that's the only reason why I'm not giving it five more
by Ivana
(Source: I purchased a copy of this book on Kindle.) 17-year-old Alex has a monster in her head. A malignant tumour that isn't responding to chemo, radiotherapy, or the new PEBBLES treatment. Deciding that enough is enough, Alex has taken her parents ashes, cut school, and driven to Michigan, intending to do some hiking on the Waucamaw, and to scatter her parents ashes on lake Superior. She's had enough of the treatments, and she's decided to just make the most of the time she has left. An electromagnetic pulse changes everything though. People drop dead, other people become wild and start attacking people and eating them, and nothing electronic will work. Forming a friendship with an 8-year-old girl (Ellie) stranded in the same place, and an ex-army man Tom who rescues them from a cannibal. Together the three must try to survive in the wilderness, and eventually try to find their way back to civilisation. What chance do the three on them stand though, with not only cannibals out there but mercenary's trying to rob them. Wow! This book was just awesome! There was mystery, suspense, horror, and even a touch of romance. At times I was angry, shocked, disgusted, screaming at my kindle, and loving every minute of it! I loved Alex who always tried to make the best of her limited resources, and took time to care for a lost little girl, even when it meant rising her own life. I loved Tom and Ellie and the storyline was just explosive. So many ups and downs, and just when things are looking up, something else awful happens! I'm loving dystopian books this year, and this is definitely one of the best. Ashes is better than 'the hunger games', and totally a 5 star book. I can't even begin to explain how much this book gripped me, and how totally suckered in I was! I'm so happy that the sequel 'Shadows' is already out so that I can jump straight into it, but I'm already not looking forward to the wait for book 3! I can't wait to find out what will happen to Alex, Ellie, Tom, and all the other characters. This whole book was a total rollercoaster ride, and I just loved the storyline. If you like dystopians you're gonna want to get a copy of this, and fast! 9.5 out of more
by Sarah Elizabeth
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