The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors' constant companions.
When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.
This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.
Hardcover, 466 pagesExpected publication: April 15th 2014 by Tanglewood Press
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Three and a half stars: A thrilling and exciting ending to a terrifying series.
Just when Alex, Darla and the rest of his family thought things were settling down, disaster strikes as they are raided by the neighboring town. Their precious stock of frozen pork bellies, which is keeping the town alive, is stolen. Now Alex, his Aunt and Uncle and countless other citizens are raiding neighboring Stockton to get their food back. After a horrific fight, Alex realizes that in order to be truly safe they must build a wall around Warren, but the mayor opposes him. So Alex, Darla and his remaining friends and family start building a new greenhouse and longhouse next to the windmills. After months and months of hard work and near starvation, Alex and the others have a safe home and functioning greenhouse. The only problem, they need more supplies and others are wanting to take what is theirs. Will Alex fend off the attackers?
What I Liked:
- Whew! This has been one heck of a ride. I rarely keep up with series and trilogies these days, but the Ashfall Trilogy is one series that I have continued to read and enjoy because it is so frightening and realistic. The United States as we know it has been decimated by the Yellowstone Super Volcano. The land is covered in ash, followed by a unrelenting volcanic winter. The sun can't penetrate the layers of ash in the air, and everyone is starving. Mr. Mullen has created a terrifying look at what the world might be like if Yellowstone once again blew. If you crave realistic, dystopian books that are action packed this is a series to try.
- Darla and Alex are two characters I have totally gotten behind and cheered for. Alex is far removed from the selfish fifteen year old teenager I first met in book one. He is fierce, courageous, resourceful and ready to lead. He has survived some horrendous events and he continues to fight everyday for his life and those he cares about. He has grown into a mature, capable young man who unexpectedly ends up carrying the heavy burden of leadership. Right along side Alex is Darla. How I admire Darla. She is one fierce, smart girl. She is extremely intelligent and mechanically inclined. You name it, Darla can build it. If I were in an end of the world situation you can bet that I would want Darla by my side. Gotta love that girl for bringing a gun to a knife fight and not playing fair! Not only have I loved watching these two grow and mature, but I have loved following their relationship. In the middle of all the destruction and hardship, a tender love has bloomed, a new hope for a new world.
- After all the terror and violence in book two, book three settles down after a deadly beginning and sets its focus on survival. I liked that Alex and Darla finally stopped running and began in earnest to prepare for their future. This book is about building for the future. It was fascinating watching how the group salvaged and built a new life. Talk about resourceful! I appreciated that Mr. Mullin did plenty of research on how to survive in a decimated world, and that everything seemed realistic.
- I loved that Ed the former Flenser found redemption and became a crucial part of the new settlement.
- I was relieved that after all the upheaval and chaos during the climax, that the book settled out and ended on a high note. I am truly hopeful that Alex and Darla will get the future they deserve and desperately hope for. If anyone deserves a bit of happiness after all they endured, it is Alex and Darla!
And The Not So Much:
- At first, I was a bit disheartened when the book opened because I feared it was going to be more of the same. Book two: Ashen Winter is a book filled with violence and chaos, and I grew a bit tired of the drama. I was tempted to put this book down because I didn't want to endure another book with violence and fighting. Thankfully, after the first few chapters, the focus shifts and becomes more about survival as the group works to build new greenhouses and procuring more resources.
- I was fully engaged in the middle section and I loved watching the group build a new settlement with hard work, sheer determination and their bare hands. It was encouraging and exciting to finally see them get ahead. Then the final portion of the book seems to lose focus and everything becomes chaotic. There is so much going on and more fighting and drama. As I was nearing the end, I was wondering how the story would wrap because there was a lot of new material introduced in the final portion. While there is a nice resolution, I couldn't help but want a bit more. I felt like the ending of the book tried a bit too hard, and I wished that it had been a bit tighter.
- There were several loose ends that left me scratching my head. Alex and Darla after a horrific encounter in Stockton (seriously this part of the book is a gut punch) are rescued by a family. This family escaped Stockton desperate to find their teenage daughter Emily. They talk and talk about finding Emily, and then the storyline just fades with no further development. Early on, Alyssa begins receiving gifts from what seems to be a secret admirer. It is pretty obvious as to who is leaving the gifts after awhile, but nothing comes of this storyline until the end when it is revealed, and then it is forgotten. What??? Who stole the pork? Was it someone in Warren? Uncle Paul develops a horrible cough, and then it isn't discussed any more. What caused the cough? There are a few other things that were left unresolved as well.
- This is a minor quibble but I got frustrated with the whole pork stealing thing. Seriously? If your food supply gets stolen once, hide it, dig a hole in the ground whatever is necessary, don't leave it in a truck so someone can easily steal it again!
- The whole situation with Alex and his mother was irritating. I could sort of see why she had her issues, but I had a hard time believing that after everything she had been through that she would treat her son that way. I wanted to slap her!
- I was disappointed that there wasn't more information on the rest of the world. In some ways I liked that the reader was in the dark just like the characters, but I kept hoping that by the end I would learn more about the rest of the world and what had happened. Unfortunately, the reader remains blind like Alex.
- After all the turmoil and horror, I was so hoping for a pleasant ending, while the book ends on a hopeful note, I wanted more. I would have loved for an Epilogue to catch up with Alex and Darla a few years down the road to see how life is treating them.
Sunrise is a thrilling, action packed and emotional finish to an entertaining and realistic dystopian trilogy. This book has a solid cast of characters whom you can't help but cheer for as they fight to survive in the ash and snow covered landscape. If you like realistic dystopian books, this is a good series to check out. I enjoyed the journey!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Check out the other books in this series: