Author: Mike Mullin
Series: Ashfall, #3
Released: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Format: Hardcover, 466 pgs
Source: Publisher for review
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.
Ashfall, Ashen Winter and Sunrise are, in that order: the good book, the better book, and the best book by far. In this final installment, Mullin shows a level of maturity that was beyond him in the previous two books, and proves to us that – while his characters slowly developed and grew – he was also busy becoming a much better writer.
I was not among those readers who fell madly in love with Ashfall. While I liked the story and even enjoyed Alex’s voice, I felt that the faulty pacing was impossible to ignore. A year later, the same thing happened with Ashen Winter. While I enjoyed the characters and the overall darkness of the story, I struggled with the lack of oscillations in the pacing.
Sunrise is a whole different ballgame. It is long, it is slow, it is, at times, excruciatingly detailed. But it is also a well-rounded book, a complete work that functions perfectly in its entirety. I’ve noticed reviewers complaining about the first half, but for me, the process Alex and Darla had to go through to find their place under the sun and rebuild was more than necessary. Through it all, Alex matured admirably, and his growth – both emotionally and within the community – made perfect sense to me. Darla, happy to stay in the background and be the moral support he desperately needs, followed him every step of the way.
And if we’re to be perfectly honest here (which we always try to be), the Ashfall series was always pretty much Darla’s show. She was the supporting pillar and she carried this whole thing on her back, until the very end. While she did seem idealized at times, no one can resist a true hero, especially in the shape of a thin teenage girl.
There were more than a few surprises in this book, unexpected, unwanted and very painful. But each and every one served a specific purpose, and they all led to a very satisfactory ending.
Bravo, Mr. Mullin. I wonder what you’ll give us next.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.