Posted by: Trisha Leigh | July 22, 2011

Dark Can Be Scary. Dark Can Be Brave.

I managed to grab an ARC of Ashes at BEA by smiling sweetly and chatting up the woman at the Egmont booth about Hourglass (by Myra McEntire).

It was my lucky day.

It was also the day I picked up nightmares, fantastic world building, fear, desperate characters, and the day I said goodbye to my fingernails. Again.

Here is the Goodreads summary of Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick:

It could happen tomorrow…

A cataclysmic event. An army of “The Changed.”
Can one teen really survive on her own?

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it’s a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human…

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom—a young army veteran—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 survive.

I read this book in less than two days and gnawed all the skin off my lips in the process. It flew and dragged at the same time because of the sheer terror I felt for the characters, especially Alex. Their story is a powerful tale of just how far we might have to go in order to survive, and the decisions we might face about what we’re going to give up, and what we’ll never let go.

This book didn’t make it onto the YA Buzz panel at BEA, and I for one think that’s a shame.

Yes, it was hard to read in places. Yes, Bick utilizes violence, graphic in places. I’ve got images in my mind I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of. I didn’t care for the way she chose to leave us hanging at the end of a first novel.

All of that said, this is the book Bick wanted to write. I can feel that fact in every word, and she didn’t pull any punches or stay behind any lines because doing so would make her book more palatable or more marketable or hell, even more likable.

And I respect that. It’s scary. It’s brave.

On a lighter note, I’m here to give away my ARC to one of you. I’m not revealing too much when I tell you the “changed” in the book have developed a taste for human flesh.


In an effort to be as tasteless and inappropriate as possible, here’s what you have to do to enter:

Leave me a comment and tell me if the unthinkable happened and you became a cannibal…who would you eat first?

Me, I’d go for Catherine Hardwicke because damn. Hollywood’s got enough problems without dealing with her too.

What I’m watching right this minute: Hopefully the preview of Cowboys and Aliens at ComicCon.

BONUS MILES: In an effort to lighten your mood after reading the dark and disturbing Ashes, the winner will also receive my ARC of Au Revoir Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber.




  1. Eek! Sounds scary. I’d have to read the violent parts with my eyes closed. 😉

    Who would I eat first? Hmmm. Probably that annoying actress on The Room Store commercials. Really, I’d be doing the world a favor.

    And if you got to see a preview of Cowboys and Aliens, consider me totally jealous.

  2. Based on who would taste the best or on who I hate the most? Would I enjoy eating them? Which part would I eat first? Do I have to eat the whole thing?

  3. I hope you get to see the preview. That movie looks awesome.

    I posed your question to my kids, just for fun. My son would eat Selena Gomez because she sings stupid songs. My youngest daughter would eat Justin Beiber because he sings like a girl. My oldest daughter would eat Fred because his voice is so weird and he screams. I would eat that girl who did the “Where’s the chapstick?” youtube video, because every time I ask that question my kids start into the routine and it makes me batty.

  4. Haha, I don’t think I could eat anybody! I would eat squirrels first (ugh, gross) and even bugs before I ate people meat.


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