Monsters: The Ashes Trilogy

Monsters  - Ilsa J. Bick

(Technically 4.5 stars, but since I can't rate half stars at GR, I rounded up here! =D)


You can see this full review at my blog, The Bookaholic


Now I have come to the conclusion of the Ashes trilogy. I am saddened by this. I kept my pacing timed so that I could savor the finale. Obviously, you’re gathering from these sentences that this trilogy is a favorite. I don’t think I’ve loved a set of books so deeply in years. And maybe that’s saying something. It stacks against my love of Vampire Academy, Harry Potter, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Hunger Games, and Wicked Lovely. It’s on my shelf of life-long favorites and there to stay.


I have to admit, though, that this conclusion had bumps in the road and this was where I had no problem with my own pacing goals. These bumps caused me to get a little bored during some moments, to be honest, and some areas I felt like it may have been too much of an info-dump or too much unnecessary detail to just add more pages to the already long (821 pages to be exact) installment. A small issue, but something I thought to mention nonetheless. Readers who don’t like multiple characters and/or several character view points, might possibly be turned off yet again. To remind you of Shadows: it’d been written the same way, changing up from the way Ashes had been (Ashes having been generally in only or mostly Alex’s POV). However, once again, I adore this style. I love love love the multiple characters and getting to see what is going on with each one after I’ve come to know them. Particularly because Bick gives them life and personality. She makes me loathe some. She makes me love some.


One character, that I shouldn’t name because I’m trying to avoid spoilers in this review, is a character that made such a unique impact on me I’m likely to remember that one for the rest of my life. There’s really so much more I’d like to ramble on and on about but I’m afraid to give away even the tiniest spoiler that those who’ve read even Ashes and Shadows might not appreciate. Shadows had left off with lots of unanswered questions as to character situations, etc. and if I so much as to mention particular scenarios in Monsters, it could give something away unfortunately. Ack.


It’s always so hard to refrain from just gushing about books like a starry-eyed fanatic when you really want. The love. THE FEELS IT GIVES ME. The details are fantastic. It feels like I’m reading and watching a movie right in front of me. After I finished, I was even internally asking “Why can’t these be movies?!” Yes, it gets graphic and gory and like with the last two books I probably cried more for the animals when there was any mention of that (these are zombie-like creatures, so keep it in mind that there is a good deal of death--animal and human--at times) because I always have a soft spot when it comes down to loss of animals in a book or movie. Ack. But the gore in the long run, the “zombies”… it’s not the deep part of the story. There are messages throughout… about humanity and life… and they’re heavy, and make you really think.


At the beginning, it’s an immediate go into the action from the end of Shadows. So if it’s been some time since you’d read the books, you might want a quick little refresher if your memory isn’t quite up to speed with it. That’s another thing I did enjoy… I wasn’t bogged down by a lot of beginning repetitive info that can tend to be tossed in with some series installments. I feel like something like that shouldn’t usually be worried about, and just to go right into the action/story of that installment in most cases. Obviously if the reader is picking up that installment, they’d read the others, am I right? Ha! K, mini rant over. :P Where I felt the start had been strong and propelled me through well over half of the book (until I hit a few various ‘bumps’ as mentioned above), I found the ending on the weak side--a tad disappointing to be the ending to the trilogy--and left me yelling at the book for MORE. Even though I know I won’t get more. Sad. I still had to take half a star because of the ending though.


My biggest reasoning was that the buildup of the big ending didn’t have quite the KA-POW as I’d expected. Lot of tension. Lot of action to get the suspense and excitement built, but when it came to it at the end, it was over so fast. And then some other things felt open-ended, leaving me to thoughts. And I can’t sit here and voice them or ask questions because there would be spoilers! Ah! Otherwise it would’ve been a straight 5-star read. Which would’ve been my first full 5-star set. Ever. (Ashes and Shadows were both rated at 5) No big, of course! It’s still one of my most highest-rated, and I’m usually telling everyone I know to read the books, even when it’s not their thing. =D


Oh goodness. You see? You see what these books do to me?! I can’t stop talking once I start. I love them.  


This is one pre-apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic thrill of a ride I’ll never forget.