Remember when the movie “Volcano” with Tommy Lee Jones came out in the 90s? And “Dante’s Peak” was the same year? Well, I watched both of them and developed a healthy fear of all things lava.
Lava hates your self-expression.
“Ashfall” by Mike Mullin uses the fears (and hopes) of every doomsday prepper and turns them into a story told from a 16 year old nerd’s perspective.
Alex is a solitary boy who is looking forward to a weekend of World of Warcraft when his parents allow him to stay home instead of spending the weekend on his uncle’s farm. (Sounds like my kind of weekend. Blood Elves FTW!) A massive volcano erupts in Yellowstone National Park, totally ruining his gaming weekend and nearly killing him with a giant rock missile. He crawls out of the debris, gets the firefighters to drench his house, and goes to stay with the neighbors.
Then the explosions start.
And the ash starts to fall.
Things are not looking up for poor Alex. (He’ll never get his character maxed out at this rate.)
His safe haven at the neighbors’ quickly falls to ruin when a gang of looters break in and are immediately dismissed. Alex panics and makes a haphazard plan: He will find his family. It’s only a two hour drive, it can’t be that hard right?
Faced with dehydration, starvation, silicosis, crazies and dangerous looters, Alex starts off on a life changing adventure.
I would tell you more about Alex’s story but I don’t want to ruin it for you! Mullins writes an adventure deeply entrenched with real emotions and concerns of Alex and his new friend Darla. The only criticism I have is that Alex surrrrrre knows a lot about survival for a kid whose only outside activity was Tae Kwon Do.