Dude! This book rocked way more than the first in the series.
Sure, I enjoyed Ashfall, but if you read my review, you’ll know I found the pacing a little slow and the story dragged for the first half of the book … But pretty much everything that bugged me in the first read was missing in the second.
Because the author seriously nailed it in Ashen Winter!
Maybe it was that not so much world building was required, but I found I instantly connected with Alex in this one. The character development is immense, and I routed for him from point zero all the way through to the end. The author also seemed to have found the key to portraying just the right emotion for Alex, too, so maybe this was a big contributing factor—almost as though he’d now spent enough time working with him to understand his main character to his full potential.
From the get go, the reader is thrown into the story with barely any time to wonder what’s going to happen to these guys next. And the instant something does happen? It just keeps on a-rolling right along. From one chapter to the next, I just couldn’t help but read on. To begin, it didn’t seem as though each chapter ending held much tension, until I realised the continual tale was actually a pretty genius way to keep us absorbed. In fact, the entire book could have survived without chapterisation—that’s how fluidly it flowed.
And to see the progression of the depicted world—or maybe I should say regression—was awesome. The changes are subtle, but they’re there, and I suspect they’re going to be much worse before this tale is concluded. It’s as dark and desolate a world as one could imagine. And what makes it all the worse is that it is imaginable, it does sound plausible—which is a sincerely horrifying thought. Seriously, there is great setting going on in here—more so than the first book—and the author does an awesome job of painting such a vividly grey and depressing picture in your mind you can’t help but place your mind there.
All this without even mentioning Ben. *grin* Ben is an AWESOME addition to the cast. His character is just so well depicted, and his personality sweet and oh, so vulnerable. The very first time we get to truly ‘see’ him in his full swing is during what should have been a very intense moment, yet Ben’s part played made me laugh out loud and I knew, instantly, he was going to add great colour to this book. And I was right. He amused me over and over amongst pulling at my heartstrings. Loved him.
So did I like it? Yes! More than that. It was an excellent addition to Alex’s adventures. I enjoyedshadowing him during the first stage of his journey in Ashfall, but I loved trailing along in Ashen Winter. The poor guy goes through so much the reader can’t help but hurt for him, can’t help but emphasise, but pray he’ll figure it all out. And can I just say goodbye sappy Alex who relies on his girl to save him, andHELLO kick-a$$ Alex who has soooo got it going on? Love is one powerful motivator, though, I reckon.
Closing comments: Bring on the next book. I can’t wait.