It’s been about 11 months since the eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano. Entire swaths of the United States lie in ruin. The devastation is inconceivable. It’s cold outside; there’s very little sunshine. The US government seems to have collapsed. The Midwest is in complete chaos. The roads are impassible and towns wage war on each other for very limited resources.
I’d have to say that reading this book brought about a whole mess of emotions in me. This is such a depressing world – full of anarchy, guns, violence, crazy people with guns, and the like. It literally seems to be a hopeless world. Instead of working together, the majority choose to battle it out. The brutality is alarming. I really had trouble reading this aspect of this world and I did have a moment where I would have flung the physical book across the room had it not been my precious e-reader. You see, I hate gratuitous violence. I’m a pacifist at heart and I believe that I would probably not survive this post-apocalyptic world.
After a short break, I dove back into this book. After all, I had invested a lot of time reading this series and I absolutely HAD to know what would happen next. This series will make you think. It will make you think about your own disaster preparedness plans and what items would be must haves and what items you could do without. It will make you think about hope, cooperation, rebuilding a society, and leadership. Despite all of the darkness and gray surroundings, there was a glimmer of hope. That’s what I hung on to, and that’s what kept me reading.
This hope was to be found in the youth of this series. Young characters like Alex and Darla, who were barely grown up as the book began but were forced to grow up quickly and improvise. Alex and Darla took on leadership roles despite their youth. They saw the need to rebuild an entire society – and this is the theme that stuck with me: the rebuilding and rebirth.   I was a little surprised by Alex. At the beginning of Ashfall, he was just a petulant teenager. In this book, adults defer to him for leadership. Surprisingly enough, Alex rises to the task. The amount of responsibility placed on Alex is daunting. Again – why would the adults abdicate their responsibilities to a teenager barely old enough to drive a car? (not that there are any around, but you get the picture).
I think that what makes this society work is the incredible teamwork. Alex is surrounded by some very capable people, most of whom are barely older than he is. Ben, who is autistic, made an excellent military tactician which enabled the settlement to be placed in a highly defensible position. Darla, the MacGyver of all things mechanical was able to get some turbines going to power up the settlement. Now that was an amazing accomplishment. Another member of the team assigned work tasks to the newcomers, and so on. Such teamwork enabled this settlement to function very well.   Of course, this world is far from perfect and our main characters encounter many obstacles. Probably the most annoying was Alex’s mother and how she treated Darla. Outside the settlement, others conspire to steal food and the limited technology on hand.
Sunrise was a satisfying conclusion to the Ashfall series. Even though it wasn’t my favorite book in the series, I’d recommend the series to readers in middle school and up.
Thank you to NetGalley and Tanglewood Books for a review copy of this book.
Review and blog tour giveaway posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!