World of Ash
Author: Shauna Granger
Release Date: 12/02/13
There are two inherent truths in the world: life as we know it is over, and monsters are real.
The Pestas came in the night, spreading their pox, a deadly plague that decimated the population. Kat, one of the unlucky few who survived, is determined to get to her last living relative and find shelter from the pox that continues to devastate the world. When it mutates and becomes airborne, Kat is desperate to avoid people because staying alone might be her only chance to stay alive.
That is, until she meets Dylan. Dylan, with his easy smile and dark, curly hair, has nowhere to go and no one to live for. He convinces Kat there can be safety in numbers, that they can watch out for each other. So the unlikely couple set off together through the barren wasteland to find a new life – if they can survive the roaming Pestas, bands of wild, gun-toting children, and piles of burning, pox-ridden bodies.
The first thing that jumped out at me about this book was honestly the cover. I know they say not to judge a book by it's cover, but sometimes it comes in handy. It's obvious that there was something plague-like just from the mask (reminiscent of the "plague" masks that were worn by people who worked with the people dying from the bubonic plague). As a fan of the Middle Ages, that caught my attention fast. I wanted to see what was going to happen with this book. I was right, and I was not disappointed by this book.
The opening scene was really informational. I don't usually like first person novels, but I instantly liked Kat. She was definitely a character that I could relate to. Even when the worst of things happen, it is still real easy to get caught up on something that used to be important but isn't anymore - something trivial - because of bad things happening. Sometimes it takes you away for a moment, so I really liked seeing that right out of the gate.
Before the apocalypse, Kat was living a good life with money to burn. Her biggest worry was what she was going to do with her hair next or needing to get something redone. After the apocalypse, she doesn't have the time for things like that anymore. She has her own, unique voice that makes her easy to follow and easy to get along with.
I also enjoy that it's not your average dystopian young adult fiction. With The Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched, and every other popular YA dystopian novel out there gaining even more readership, it's refreshing to see something like this. We live in a world where biological warfare is possible, so the Pestas is believable on that end. But it's also this mystical, unfathomable force spreading this disease faster than people can comprehend it. We come into this in the world after millions or billions of people have died from it. It's a whole new world for those who managed to get through it.
Add in romance aspect and it makes for a good book. It's hard to believe that anyone could find love in a damaged, destroyed, and still infected world like the one Kat is fighting to get through, but I'm so glad that it does happen for her. Love is one of the only things that can make getting through a world like that manageable. Dylan gave her a companion to get through the world with - a teammate that she didn't know she needed.
If you like post-apocalypse worlds or dystopian novels, or even just YA, this is a book worth checking out.