Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick, a new best-seller?

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The Ashes book cover art. Ashes was written by Ilsa J. Bick. Will Ashes become a new best-selller novel?

Dani Pasco, Staff Writer

Welcome to the near future: where destruction and violence is common, there are no moral codes, and zombies roam the world. This is the setting of Ashes, a book just printed five months ago by Ilsa J. Bick, an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, e-books, and novels. It’s a story about Alex, a 17 year old girl who’s struggling through her life living with a brain tumor.  She takes a break from school to go hiking near the bottom ofMichigan’s border. While she’s hiking, she meets two strangers; one friendly old man named Jack, and his snotty little granddaughter Ellie, who has ear buds shoved up her ears with the volume on max.

Jack is making friendly conversation with Alex while trying to show his unruly granddaughter respect for other people, and for hiking. Without any warning, a sharp pain took hold of Alex’s entire being; along with everybody else, including animals. Awhile after Alex comes around, she discovers no solid-state electronics work, and billions have died in what she calls ‘the Zap’. But the ones who didn’t survive or die, were left as carnage-eating zombies scouring the Earth. The scary part is; they’re not brainless at all.

Now I must warn you, this book has really graphic descriptions. Those with a weak stomach may not want to read this. Blood and gore are a common sight in Ashes, so readers beware!

Most of the first half of the book revolves around surviving and trying to figure out what ‘the Zap’ was, and why it killed so many people; but not her. The story is not very original; it has the same kind of “apocalypse” theme that most people are writing these days, now that it’s 2012. But the characters are so complex and develop so well, that it makes up for the lack of originality.

This isn’t a predictable book, either. The writer keeps you guessing as to what happened and what might come next, just as the characters do. The book gives you a good surprise every now and again. There really is no dull moment in Ashes. I could hardly put it down!

Action is a continual theme in Ashes, but don’t think there’s not a little bit of romance in here, though it’s not hard-core. Add in a touch of humor and BINGO! Something here for everybody, boys and girls!

The story has a sense of realism, as to other books where stuff just ‘happens’ and a full explanation as to why is never given. The way the characters react to different events makes it seem like Bick put a lot of effort into making them react like real people would.

 Ashes is not dumbed-down, it’s not over optimistic, and it doesn’t leave you feeling depressed after you’re done reading it. It makes you hunger for more, but I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait; it’s the first book of the trilogy!

I see a best-seller in the making, and I encourage everyone to at least try it out. As I said before, there are graphic descriptions in Ashes, and it is not for everyone. But none-the-less, a wonderful book with captivating characters, suspense, thrill, story, but not so much originality. I give it an 8.9/10.