3.93 (24,863 ratings by Goodreads)
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An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions. When it happens, Alex was hiking in the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom--a young soldier--and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it's now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 480 pages
  • 148 x 214 x 38mm | 581g
  • Minneapolis, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1606841750
  • 9781606841754
  • 421,156

Review quote

"Gripped me from beginning to end dark, creepy and suspenseful. "James Dashner,
"New York Times" Best-Selling author of "The Maze Runner "and "The Scorch Trials"
"A haunting and epic story of survival in a shattered world, ASHES is a must read."
Michael Grant, "New York Times" Best-Selling author of "Gone "
" a harrowing apocalyptic survival tale that brims with true horror .Ashes inhabits the same dark country as "The Stand" (and is, in fact, delightfully King-esque at times) or Justin Cronin s recent viral apocalypse "The Passage" . Bick s ability to convincingly render the mindset of people exposed to horrors and those still living with them makes not just Alex but all the characters around her feel real enough that we ache for them. "Locus Magazine
"The gorgeous (and disturbing cover) is sure to grab attention; an impeccable sci-fi/horror"
"balance, quick pace, and risky storytelling all live up to the jacket s promise." The Bulletin of the Center for Children s Books
"An action-packed tale of an apocalypse unfolding, launching a trilogy with flair." Publishers Weekly " "
"Gritty, grim, grotesque, gruesome, gratifying and ultimately deeply satisfying, Ashes is this year's best ya dystopian novel." Pamela Thompson, "El Paso Times" Sunday Living
"Splendidly paced apocalyptic zombie horror ends with a thrilling, terrifying cliffhanger and a number of unresolved mysteries." Kirkus Reviews
"You won't want to put it down and, quite frankly, it blows the rest of those dismal-future books clean out of the water." Donna at Bites,
"Ashes is disaster done right, it has to be one of the best disaster books I have read in a long while... I cannot recommend this book enough." (Five Stars)
"It's like the Walking Dead, but in a YA novel . I can't wait for the sequel! "Hallie Wilkins, age 16, Anderson's Bookshops
"Dystopia on steroids, exactly what it should be. "Pamela, Hickelbees, San Jose, CA
"Front and center we have my current obsession, Ilsa Bick's Ashes, which is like Justin Cronin's" The Passage "for the YA set. "Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck, N.Y
"If Cormac McCarthy and Justin Cronin bore a lovechild (I read "The Passage" directly following "ASHES"), Ilsa J. Bick would be their bouncing baby girl." A. Ragheb,
" Great writing. Fantastic plot. Likeable characters. Mt. Everest-type cliffhanger. It all makes for a fabulous book -- for young adult readers and adults alike. " (Chicago)" "
" "Ashes"is one that fans of Suzanne Collins's trilogy will surely devour. What will really grab readers is the wonderful narrative that carries "Ashes" through every shocking, unexpected plot twist. Bick clearly has a natural gift for storytelling, and here she has crafted a compelling story that will suck you in. ---" (national)""
" An easy read with engaging characters and an intriguing plot. This novel is gripping and intense but very dark it's not a book for the faint of heart or young and may leave readers checking for their flashlights and battery-operated radios just in case. Deseret News""
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About Ilsa J Bick

Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, as well as a film scholar, former Air Force major, and now a full-time author.Her critically acclaimed first YA novel, "Draw the Dark," won the2011 Westchester Fiction Award and was named a Bank Street College 2011 BestBook.Ilsa currently lives with her family and several furry creaturesin rural Wisconsin, near a Hebrew cemetery. One thing she loves about the neighbors: they re very quiet and only come around for sugar once in a blue moon.You can visit her online at"
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Rating details

24,863 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 35% (8,722)
4 35% (8,715)
3 21% (5,236)
2 6% (1,459)
1 3% (731)

Our customer reviews

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 and such strong emotions that a reader can actually feel as the characters experience them because of the desperate situation they are in. Alex was by far my favourite character. Not because she's the main protagonist, but because she's the no-nonsense, tell it like it is sort. She was smart and she wasn't afraid to act when the time came down to it. There was no 'acting the hero' sort of thing with her, it was just doing what needed to be done and to keep other people safe before herself. Tom and Alex were great companions along with Ellie. They both fit well together and worked well as a team which made them both likeable. I felt that I couldn't really get to know Tom as a character properly though before the end of the novel for reasons obvious when you read the book. There were little tidbits of Tom's past that were revealed but not enough! I want to know more! That's another thing, about halfway through the book, the plot takes a dramatic turn which I'm sure not everyone will appreciate. It did work for me though so I can't complain. It was one of those moments where you keep reading, sort of get a little confused for a second at the way the story is developing, and then just accept it as the way the author wanted it to go. I thought it was a brilliant turn of events and it made me read just that little bit faster! The plot itself was amazing! An electromagnetic pulse? That could have gone either way, I'm sure, but in Ashes it worked so well. Plus, it was a read that made me cringe quite a bit which doesn't happen very often anymore with the amount of horror I read! I seriously loved every shiver that went down my spine and every revolted gasp I made! One thing I can't believe though, was the ending. For obvious reasons I won't say how it ended but it took me so completely by surprise that I was kind of in shock for a while and couldn't read anything else! 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!show more
by Maryam H
As you have most likely come to realize if you have been reading my reviews for any length of time, I can be quite harsh on books. Some people have even asked me why I continue to read and review books if I find it so hard to like them. The answer is simple really. I do it for the "gems", the ones that come along and surprise you with their awesomeness. Ashes is one such book. Let me be honest...I expected to really NOT like this book. One of the few reasons I actually picked it was because I was new to book blogging at the time and I was trying to get a handle on NetGalley. Egmont USA was one of the few publishers that didn't require you to request a title for review, you could just click Read Now...and so I did. I grabbed a bunch of their titles, not really being familiar with their company, and hoped I could work myself into getting accepted for better books that way. I had little to no expectations for these books. Boy was I wrong! Ashes was brilliant! Let me just say that right now. If you haven't read it I suggest you rush out now (well tomorrow when it is officially released) and pick up this book and devour it! The first thing that impressed me about Ashes was how the reader is immediately immersed in the story. There is no long drawn out description of the setting, the weather, the house, are thrown into the middle of a heated telephone conversation that tells you everything you need to know....the main character is terminally ill and obviously fed up with her never-ending treatments, her parents are dead and she has taken off from her aunt's place where she is now staying so she can have a much needed mental health break. This is all explained to the reader through realistic dialogue the engages the reader instead of boring them to death with lines and lines of poorly written back story. And the last line of the first chapter leaves you haunted and dying to know what happens next. "They never spoke to one another again." I love the author's amazingly descriptive vocabulary. She is never afraid to hold back and describes everything like it is. "Hadn't done the woman any good either, judging from the way her guts boiled out in a dusky, desiccated tangle, like limp spaghetti." I love her for that! A few times I stopped and asked myself if this amount of gore was appropriate for the YA genre, but Hell, I was reading Stephen King during my "YA" years because books like this weren't really available for us. And I don't have any serious mental problems...I think... I loved the short chapters that were just long enough to not be ridiculous, but weren't too long to bore you. Sometimes people like to read in bursts and often people feel they have to finish at the end of a chapter. Ashes gives you lots of opportunities to do so. That is just something I always appreciate in a book. As an animal lover I always enjoy when animals are added to a story, and not just for shock value so you can kill them off. I hate nothing more than an author who throws in a family dog just to kill them off because that way they can get some shock value without hurting an actual person. Well newsflash! Sometimes people bond closer with animals, especially dogs, than they do with the characters themselves, and just sometimes killing off those animals pointlessly really irritates the readers. Can you tell I really hate when authors do that? Luckily Ms. Bick isn't THAT kind of writer. The animals in Ashes play a specific role and they burden a nice portion of the story on their furry little shoulders. I love that! Some of the animals in this book are as important as the main characters and you develop a bond with them so strong you hurt when they hurt, just as much as you do (if not more) when something happens to the main characters. The story houses some great mysterious qualities that you feel compelled to search out. Nothing is right out in the open and people are very guarded with their motives and emotions. It keeps the readers guessing and invested in the story. I can't wait to read the other two books in the trilogy so I can finally learn just what the Hell is going on! Some minor things that did bother me about Ashes were the endings of a few chapters that were meant to be foreshadowing, but after a while just got irritating. Always something along the lines "later she would wonder if things might have turned out differently if she hadn't just..." It was a little repetitive and just seemed forced at times. Also, the ending really pissed me off. It made me so mad I swore out loud. My boyfriend looked at me like I was about to murder him. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a horrible ending...the problem was that I was unaware it was meant to be the first book in a trilogy, and if I had of known in advance I would have expected some type of cliffhanger. This one smacked me in the face so hard I was left in shock, mostly because it was unexpected, and also because the story was moving so fast at this point and I was just waiting to get to the end, to find out things, and then boom, no more. I think I almost cried. I even called out the poor author on which she responded very kindly. I love authors like that who interact back with their eased the blow...a little...that and I made her promise to send me the next book (Shadows) as soon as it was more
by Gwenyth Love
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