Ashen Winter: Lackluster, No Emotional Connection, Snore

If you’re wondering why I’m updating on a Monday and not a Tuesday, it’s because I am going to be working all day tomorrow and I will not have time to upload this.

Ashen Winter is written by Mike Mullin. It is the sequel to Ashfall (which I reviewed here) and there is a third and final book, Sunrise, coming out next year. It was published in 2012 by Tanglewood. Mullin’s website can be found here.

Genre: Young Adult, Survival


“It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the dark, cold, and primitive world…

It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remained communities.

When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.”

~Inside Flap


“We rounded the corner and passed a burned-out building on our left. The sign in front read GALENA STATE BANK & TRUST. We raced on past a whole series of burnt buildings, but none of the rest of them had signs.

Peering around Darla, I saw something surreal. A few hundred yards ahead of us, a line of cars stood upright, resting on their front bumpers with their trunks in the air. They formed a wall that stretched as far as I could see to the left and curved away from us to the right. Where U.S. 20 passed through the car-wall someone had built a heavy timber gate across the road. Almost before I’d processed what I was seeing, church bells began ringing furiously. A line of men popped into view one by one, their heads and shoulders above the low log gate.

Every one of them was pointing a rifle at us.”

~Mullin 47-48

“How many shells we got?” I said to Ben.

“This is a Remington 870 pump-action shot gun. It is the most popular shotgun ever made. Law enforcement and military all over the world use this gun.” Ben tried to pump the shotgun, but the slide wouldn’t operate. “It is loaded.”

“So how many shots are in it?” I asked as I started the truck.

Ben clicked a lever on the side of the gun and started pumping the slide. Chunk-chunk. Chunk-chunk. Each time he pumped the gun a shell flew out, landing in the footwell. “None,” Ben said when he finished.

~Mullin 319

Warnings: Crude language, sexual situations, violence, death

Recommended Age Range: 16+

Rating: 1/5

Cover Art

What I Liked:

Ben is a great character. He’s probably the one thing I would look forward to in the final book.

Mullin really does his research here. Everything is portrayed accurately and realistically, from medical procedures to food to supplies.

What I Didn’t Like:

I didn’t really enjoy or like Ashfall all that much, but this book was worse. It is action-packed, yes, but I didn’t feel it. It was more like: “I took the gun and shot it. The bullet hit the driver’s shoulder;” very matter-of-fact, very…informative, for lack of a better word, very emotionally-lacking. I felt no emotional connection to the characters. None. I could not care less if Alex found Darla or not. I could not care less about their relationship. I did not feel happy when Alex finally found her. I felt nothing at all, and that’s probably the worst feeling a reader can have.

It’s the return of Darla!

This is a good example of how sometimes action does not make for a thrilling good read. I felt no thrill and it was not a good read. It was all tell and no show. I couldn’t wait until I finished this book. I’ll probably read the last book just to finish out the series, but I’m not impressed with it. Ilsa J. Bick has a similar survival series (except hers has zombies-of-a-sort) and it is ten times better. I’d much rather read hers than suffer through this one again.

Overall Review:

Ashen Winter, while packed with action, elicited exactly the opposite of a heart-pounding, thrilling read for me. It went on and on until every connection I had with the characters was sucked dry and I stopped caring about everything. There are much better survival stories out there. Don’t waste your time with this one.

Coming Up Next: Syren by Angie Sage

3 thoughts on “Ashen Winter: Lackluster, No Emotional Connection, Snore

  1. Pingback: Sunrise: Surprisingly Better Than The First Two | Leaf's Reviews

  2. Pingback: Never Fade: The Trilogy Format Strikes Again | Leaf's Reviews

  3. Pingback: Holy One-Year Anniversary, Batman! | Leaf's Reviews

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