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» » Ashes, Ashes
Ashes, Ashes


Jo Treggiari


Ashes, Ashes


Children's Books

PDF ebook size:

1441 kb

ePub ebook size:

1376 kb

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Scholastic Paperbacks (January 1, 2013)




Science Fiction and Fantasy



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Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

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A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.Epidemics, floods, droughts -- for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of vicious dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.
This book adds nothing new to the genre of post-apocalyptic worlds. Even for a children's story, it is very simplistic and not exciting. If you are really bored, this might be a good read, but I find more excitement in cleaning the toilets.

Like many, young Lucy loses her family to the plague. Lucy decides it is safer to fend for herself rather than align herself with a group. She encounters what appears to be wild dogs and is saved by Aidan, who is a goodlooking boy. Really, a goodlooking boy in a dystopian story, I am so surprised. After a tsunami destroys her home, Lucy decides to join Aidan.

And because there was an immediate insta-love between Aidan and Lucy, Lucy is immediately jealous of Del. Del of course is destined to do something bad, because it is a dystopian novel. It is destiny or just unimaginative writing. The formula is destroyed world, special heroine who is incredibly strong, bad woman getting in the way, and evil people out to destroy the heroine. A few exciting fights are thrown in and a rescue. (Our heroine is weird and pitiful. There is no excitement. The fights are boring.)

Okay, I sometimes enjoy formulaic books...if they are well done, but this wasn't well done. The premise was that the Sweepers are after Lucy because she was naturally immune to the disease. They are going to kill her in a blood extraction process...really. Isn't it smarter not to destroy the thing they are trying to study. Oops, it is smarter, but it wouldn't be as exciting if her life wasn't at risk. And here is the odd thing, the old people were immune due to previous exposures. They also never claimed that Lucy never got sick...just that she had been immune to one disease for which they already have a vaccine. So all this was well...dumb, just plain dumb. See Dr. Ellison was intentionally infecting those she caught with another variation of the plague that killed everyone, not a brilliant move. Why was this stupid, because now that population was small and rarely came into contact with one another, there was a very small chance that any epidemic would destroy the world. This was all fake. Any smart person would recognize this as a contrived plot.

The characters weren't well done. I only liked one, Sammy, and he was a very secondary character. The action was minimal and not well done. In a genre filled with stories, this was an extremely poor story.
A raging small pox virus changes the face of the planet. 99.99% of the population is dead. Those who survived the virus are horribly scarred and the rumor is they are crazy and ruthless, driven mad by the virus. Then there are the Sweepers, men in masks who kidnap people and take them back to the last working lab, still trying to find a cure to the mutated virus. Those who are left are scavengers. They survive off what they can find and what meager amount they can grow, but the tsunamis, earthquakes and horrible flood/drought seasons have made any kind of farming almost impossible. New York City has become a nightmare for all those who live there.

Lucy outlived her entire family. When the virus was first starting to rampage through her hometown in New Jersey, she was called to the nurse a lot, and they drew a lot of blood, even though Lucy never showed any symptoms. She thought it was routine until her father stormed in and took her home. She never returned to school after that, but there wasn't a school to return to before long. When she outlived her family and most of the world, she wondered if her parents' decision not to vaccinate her as a child was the reason the doctors were so interested in her blood.

Now, Lucy survives alone in the Wilds of NYC, a patch of land between the swollen Hudson River and the destroyed and flooded landscape. She kills and snares her food and lives off the few safe plants she can scrounge. When she is chased by a pack of dogs one day, she is sure she is going to be ripped apart, until a young man pulls her into a tree. At first Aidan seems like a fool hellbent on getting them killed, but when he leads the dogs away and gives her a chance to escape, she can't stop thinking about him. She returns to her lean-to, but when she sees the water recede from the shore, she knows she has a precious few minutes to escape a tsunami. Fleeing up the slope to higher land leads Lucy straight to Aidan's settlement.

Once she arrives, she spies a Sweeper van headed straight to the settlement. She knows she can't let them come unnoticed, so she alerts the people with a wolf whistle, saving many people. Unfortunately, the Sweepers nab two kids and two adults, despite Aidan and the others trying to protect everyone. When they leave, Lucy runs straight to Aidan, thrilled he wasn't hurt. He convinces her to stay with the group, and she grudgingly does, mostly to be with Aidan. Her interest in Aidan becomes a sore spot with a young woman named Del who staked her claim to Aidan years ago, but when Del and a man named Leo are taken by Sweepers int he middle of the night, Lucy wants to go get them. No one has ever returned once they had been taken by the Sweepers.

When Leo arrives dying of the plague and days later Del wanders back after having escaped, they tell everyone what is going on in the hospital and where they are keeping the kids. With first hand knowledge of the hospital, Del, Aidan, and Lucy set off to save the kids. What they don't know is the people inside the compound will be waiting for them. For Lucy in particular. Her blood may be the key to the stopping the virus, and Dr. Lessing, the woman in charge, will stop at nothing to get it.

This book hooked me right from the start, but by the time it wound down to the storming of the hospital, it lost me. When they get in there, nothing is clear. Some people are against Lessing, but then they support her again, but then they try to help the kids escape again, but then they try to stop them. The kids want to escape, then they consider staying, then they don't trust Lessing again and try to escape. You don't know if you are supposed to hate Lessing (which it seems you should) because the character is so odd and her motives- curing the disease- aren't altogether bad. The real problem I had with this final sequence was the unfolding of all the action. It was very confusing and almost seemed to be written by an entirely different author since the first 2/3 of the book was so well written. I am not sure what happened to this part of Jo Treggiari's story, but it made Ashes, Ashes tough for me by the end. And I was left so confused, it ruined the rest of a really good book for me.

The reading level is moderate and the content is mild considering the post-apocalyptic nature of the book. The most gory parts of the story are when Lucy is hunting and cleaning her meat, which is told in pretty serious detail. (You will never look at a turtle the same again). I love this genre, so I have a lot to compare it to, and I probably wouldn't use this book as one of my first recommendations for a kid, unless they had read a great deal of PA before and were whittling down the genre (as I have). I wish it had ended better, because if it had, this would be one seriously great novel! Oh well... maybe next time?
This review is for the Kindle edition ebook.

Well written, "end of the world as we know it" story that is well-paced and exciting.

What would you do if the world as you know it ended and you survived? When the survival rates are 1 in a million, and everyone around is getting sick, to survive means you did not get sick. As a survivor, questions abound about how and why you are alive.

I thought creating a girl hero was a great idea. Even better is the idea that Lucy was willing to learn how to survive in a world without electricity and running water. I found this an exciting story line, with just enough romance to keep the reader of adventure engaged in the story. I was quite pleased that zombies do not appear in a book with devastating disease and destruction.

In a world filled with stories of vampires and zombies, it is wonderful to find a new book without any of either. Jo Treggiari has given us an exciting story of the end of life as we know it. I found this to be a well-written, well-paced story. The end of the book is such that I hope a sequel will be coming.

I heartily recommend this book to teens and young adults. It has all the elements of a good adventure book, without the gore and horror of some books published today. I look forward to reading more of this authors books.

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