Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick Audiobook

ashes 1 Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick Audiobook Title: Ashes
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Publisher: September 6th 2011 by Egmont USA
Format: Audio CDs, 11 hrs and 6 mins
Narrator: Katherine Kellgren
Series: 1st in the Ashes trilogy
Source: Purchased from Audible

4 owls1 Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick Audiobook


It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

My thoughts

Alex had a brain tumor (which she called ‘the monster’) and knew she didn’t have a lot of time left, so she headed up to a special place in the mountains to say goodbye to her parents and dispose of their ashes. While there, she ran into a young girl and the girl’s grandfather. After an unexplained “attack” left Alex able to smell (something the tumor had taken away) and Ellie’s grandfather dead, they struck out on their own to find out what happened.

I really liked Alex. She was a strong protagonist, not your basic clichéd damsel-in-distress. She didn’t need, or want, anyone to take care of her, she’d been doing just fine on her own ever since her parents died. Good grief, Ellie was annoying. She was a child, yes, but her complaining and whining seemed far too young for someone her age. Tom, whom the two ended up running into and sticking with, was another strong character. He had some secrets and wasn’t upfront about his reasons for being on the mountain, but immediately was willing to do whatever he could to protect Alex and Ellie. If I were ever in a zombie apocalypse, I would want him on my side. (As an aside, if the zombie apocalypse were to actually take place, I would hightail it over to Ashley’s house first.)

We met more characters as the trio journeyed to seek answers and some of those characters were more developed than others, though I found one or two to be on the clichéd side. Especially at the end, some were downright regressive in their thinking and they pissed me off.

There was an element of mystery in Ashes, not only in what exactly the attack was and how it happened, but why did it bring back Alex’s olfactory sense, and why did it give her the ability to smell other things, like lies and personalities?

I didn’t like the second half of the novel, as the world learned to move on and survive, as much as I did the first, but it was still enjoyable. There was a change in the novel’s setting and I missed Tom (and yes, even the ultra-annoying Ellie) and thought the story was better when the three of them were together.

The audio was a trainwreck. I don’t know if that’s how Katherine Kellgran narrates all of her books, but I will be avoiding anything narrated by her at all costs in the future. In the beginning, she made Ellie into a LOUD whiny brat. I don’t think she would have been that annoying as a character without Katherine’s narration. She screamed the exciting parts and I ended up turning my volume down several times.

The cover is creepy, and gives a hint at what the book may be about (electromagnetic waves?). Though I don’t like it as a general book cover, it fits the novel perfectly.

The sum up

Taut and exciting. Avoid the audio version at all costs.

Connect with the author



Amazon paperback
Barnes & Noble paperback
Barnes & Noble audio
Barnes & Noble hardcover
Books A Million audio

Other opinions

The Book Bind
Pure Imagination

signature bigger Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick Audiobook

I love to hear your thoughts and read every single one of them.

  1. Ha! I loved the audio, and thought Katherine Kellgren did a great job. I’ll agree that her Ellie was obnoxious in the beginning, but she was meant to be. My enjoyment of Ashes completely caught me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to like it–I only picked it up because it was part of a promo at Audible. Now, however, I can’t wait to get my hands on book two.
    Ruby recently posted..Book Review: False Memory (False Memory No. 1) by Dan KrokosMy Profile

    • thebusybibliophile says:

      You’re the second one to say that they loved the audio! Maybe I’m the minority with this one…

  2. Rosanna says:

    Hey..just wanted to say that I despised the audio narration on Ashes to the point that I couldn’t bear to listen. That’s actually how I found this blog.
    Trust your instincts. There are always subjective opinions…but I listen to a lot of audiobooks and this one was way too exaggerated and over the top. An unpleasant earful.
    I’ll be avoiding this narrator in the future also.

Talk to me

I appreciate you thinking of me, but this is an award free blog.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You’re pretty awesome!