In Ashes, an EMP changed a large portion of the population, turning them into what can best be described as what we call zombies. The Changed roam and eat the flesh of those that remain unchanged. At the end of Ashes, our main character Alex found herself in a town called Rule hoping to find help for a fellow survivor named Tom; he was left injured as the two fled for their lives. The town of Rule is populated by survivors that have organized themselves into a survival group that appears almost as a religious cult. All is not what it seems in Rule.
Shadows picks off where Ashes left us, Alex is trying to escape Rule and finds herself in an enclave of zombies. The zombies may be the least of her problems.
|Shadows, book 2 in the Ashes trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick|
Coming from EgmontUSA in September 2012
Shadows is without a doubt a fast paced, action packed thrill ride. There are several story lines happening throughout that shed light on the truth about Rule, the life of the Changed, and the lengths that every day people will go in order to survive. This is a world where you never know who to trust and the unchanged sometimes turn out to be greater monsters than those who were changed.
As we follow several characters and their story lines, they eventually come together in a way that will blow your mind. It was difficult at first to sort out all of the new characters - and there are a lot - but their paths all cross in a way that is satisfying and leaves you hanging on waiting for the third and final book in this trilogy.
Bick is a psychiatrist and she definitely puts some interesting psychological twists into this tale. There are a group of characters that will eerily remind readers of the Nazi doctors as they engage in some disturbing experiments regarding the nature of the changed. And one of the biggest questions appears to be whether or not the changed are in fact done changing.
Although Shadows is indeed an exciting read, it can at times also be a challenging read. There are many characters to keep track of and sometimes the characters make observations that they just leave dangling that come up a little bit later. There was one scene I had to read multiple times to try and figure out what was happening. And there is another scene where the relationships in Rule are sussed out that was also challenging since it had been such a while since I had read Ashes. The Ashes trilogy is definitely a more sophisticated read and seems best suited to the older end of the ya audience.
The Ashes trilogy is a unique and complex look at a post apocalyptic world and it takes the zombie genre and tweaks it in all the right ways; each character is thrust into unthinkable situations and is forced to make difficult decisions in order to survive. The characters also cover the spectrum; there are your truly evil characters, but there are also those that are basically good people forced to make unthinkable decisions in order to survive. This is, after all, the post-apocalyptic world so how do the old rules apply in this new world?
The best part? Our female lead Alex still continues to be a strong female character but is not so awesome as to be unbelievable; she sometimes gives in to the temptation to take the easy or safer way out. And for those of you that have read book one and may be wondering: I am totally on team Tom. 4 out of 5 stars and definitely recommended. A great pairing with the Rot & Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry and This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers.
Check out this look at author Ilsa J. Bick at VonnaCarter.com