I love disaster movies. Maybe it’s the inherent question of “what would I do in this situation?” that draws me to them. While disasters in books do lack Hollywood blockbuster special effects, it allows the author to throw restraint out the window and go big. One of my favorite natural disaster books is actually a series. Mike Mullin’s Ashfall series (Tanglewood Press) follows 15-year-old Alex, who’s left at home while his family goes on a weekend trip to visit relatives. Unfortunately, it’s the same weekend that the super volcano under Yellowstone decides to erupt. After his house is destroyed, Alex sets off to rejoin his family. And that’s just the first book. The other books detail Alex’s struggle to survive and make a new home and life amid the devastation. So, right off the bat, it pushes my disaster button big time, especially since the Yellowstone eruption isn’t a common disaster cliché (It’s actually more terrifying than the “Big One” that will hit California one day).
However, the series also does something very, very right. While on his trek, Alex stumbles upon a fellow teenager named Darla. Don’t let the name fool you. She’s every bit as smart and capable at Katniss and arguably more ruthless. Darla is an amazing character and, in my opinion, often outshines poor Alex. If it wasn’t for Darla, Alex would be dead many times over. The series is focused on survival and while "normal" things, like romance, angst, etc., are there, they take the backseat.
I’m so nit-picky about what I read, it’s rare I find a book I wholeheartedly love (let alone a series!), but these books were everything I wanted them to be. In my review of the third book on Goodreads, I said that I wished that this series was longer. It looks like I got my wish! While it’s true the series was only meant to be a trilogy, the author has stated that he’s writing another book. I can’t wait to read it!