Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

9780857382627

Seventeen year old Alex has had a rough life; having lost her parents at a young age and now dealing with a brain tumour, it’s no wonder she needs a weekend off. Taking a hike along her father’s favourite trail seems like just the thing to clear her mind – no matter what her aunt says. Carrying her parent’s ashes in her backpack as she goes, Alex sets off and finds unlikely companionship in an older gentleman and his newly orphaned granddaughter, Ellie, along the way.

It all seems to be going as normally as possible – until a cataclysmic electro-magnetic pulse echoes throughout the night, killing the girl’s grandfather. Now trapped on a mountain with a young girl and her canine companion, Alex is beginning to regret not listening to her aunt. But the EMP has effected everyone differently, as Alex will find out, and not everyone was lucky enough to survive unscathed. Something strange is lurking out in the woods and it isn’t completely human. After an encounter with one of the creatures, a near death encounter that Alex only barely survives, a new player comes into the game: Tom, a military man on leave, who was camping with some of his friends when the EMP struck. Together with her rag-tag team of survivors, Alex must find her way in the new world and fight to stay alive.

Ashes is thrilling, riveting and yes, there is zombies. They are craftily hidden between layers of text because I honestly didn’t realise I was reading about a potential zombie apocalypse until about three-quarters through the book. Alex and her companions are highly believable characters which makes their struggles and triumphs all the more touching. The most important thing to take away from this review is you need to read this book. Right now.

-Karen