“Ashes, Ashes”
by Jo Treggiari
read by Cassandra Campbell
Produced by Oasis Audio
9 hours and 48 minutes

Time once again to dive into the fiction from the young adult category, this time I listened to a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel “Ashes, Ashes” by Jo Treggiari.    As with most young adult titles this one involves a little romance but lots of action and some despair.  The world has ended but, Treggiari never fully explains why but 99% of the human population is wiped out from a smallpox like plague.  The rest of the world is getting wiped out by floods and drought and the cities are decaying.  What’s left of the human population is being hunted down by hazmat suited people called sweepers, armed with tazers they invade encamped populations taking people (especially children) away in white vans to an island hospital never to be seen again.

Lucy Holloway is an anomaly.  When the book opens we find her struggling for her own survival eating only that which she catches and kills.  Relying on acorn mush is not enough and through the help of a survival book rescued from the decaying library as the book opens she is learning to clean and cook a turtle.

While out checking her snares she sees a boy of around her same age (16) who helps her to escape from the sweepers.  The boy, Aiden, stays on her mind and she often thinks of joining his encampent of refugees.  When a tsunami threatens her campsite she litereally runs for the hills and in running away decides to find the encampent.  Lucy decides that she would be better with a group rather than alone, and joins up with the group of survivors.  But the danger follows her and the sweepers raid the camp taking people away.  This time one escapes and leads a rescue party to bring back the other children.  On this rescue mission Lucy discovers the sweepers are looking specifically for her because her blood holds the mystery to surviving the plague.

Through the dangers of a dying world and a mad scientist on the hunt this book is full of adventure that will sweep you away to a world of survival.  The reader Cassandra Campbell does a nice job of presenting the story and with the constant teetering on the edge feel of the story the few mispronunciations are easily forgiven.

The book does present an interesting end, in that it ends the story nicely but does leave it open for a sequel, which I’m hoping Jo Treggiari has planned.  If you liked the “Hunger Games” series this book will be right up your alley.

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