Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ashes Ashes by Jo Treggiari

A tenth of the world's population is dead in the first epidemic, more die in the second wave. Natural disasters keep people fending for their lives, and sixteen year old Lucy is trying to survive in the Wilds just outside of New York City. Her family is dead and Lucy lives in constant fear that she will not survive the next day. When she is chased down by a pack of dogs, a young man saves her and she joins his commune when a tsunami destroys her hut. She must learn to trust and rely on others, overcome her prejudices against the S'ans (the infected that survived and now carry horrible scars), and deal with her attraction to Aiden, even as the Sweepers raid the little tent city more frequently on the search for something or someone. As Lucy discovers that there is more to her own back-story than she first realized, she must decide whether to stay and fight for the people she's become close to or run north.

This had a super strong start. Extremely atmospheric and a great history of how this world developed. I liked Lucy's voice, she was strong, spunky, moody without being obnoxious, and realistic responses to what life threw her way. Unfortunately I did not love the plot after the first four chapters. It slowed way down. Like a snail's pace. All of a sudden we're trying to deal with Lucy gardening, like all the time and a flirtation with a random guy. I liked the secondary characters, but there was some random focus on them. I didn't really understand why we didn't spend more time with Aiden and Del and really build up the love triangle there. Or why we didn't see or hear more of Leo so his death meant more. Why didn't we get to know more of Sammy or Del? Why was there a rather lame ending, that seemed overly action-y in the whole scope of the book.

I think that Jo Treggiari had a fantastic idea and a really solid base, but if she would've spent a little more time developing the character relationships and less time inner-monologuing and gardening this book could've been amazing. As in praising the heavens amazing, but the was a huge drop in the middle that left me bored and uninterested in the rest of the book.

I do like the fact that this is a standalone, there aren't enough standalone books. I think that I've bitched about the fact that it is completely unnecessary to make ever book into a trilogy, and sometimes unwanted to continue a storyline. I liked the fact that this left you a bit hanging on what's going to happen next. Nice.

Awesome beginning, snoozer middle, adequate ending. That is all.

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