edit 11/5/12: I've decided a year later this is totally worth a full five stars instead of the initial 4-4.5 star rating I gave it. Book two got a 5 star rating, and this series is a constant recommendation from me to others. So five stars it is.My full review can also be found at http://the-bookaholic.blogspot.comThank you, NetGalley, for the opportunity to read this wonderful start to a series!This was an incredible start to what I think will be a one-of-a-kind Dystopian Horror series. Ashes gripped from the beginning until the last page. The imagery was so vivid and detailed, I have to say you can’t exactly have a weak stomach when it comes to reading this. Haha. At times, horrifying and morbid, but I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages. Like zombies? Then you’ll love this.Ashes takes you into a whole new level of Post-Apocalyptic fiction. The events that not only have the reader following the characters just before the “big disaster”, but everything after as well as the new-world building. Everything is so structured and amazingly well crafted in a good timeline. The characters stick with you most particularly. There are characters you love, and ones you loathe. My only nitpick about the book I would have is that it ended a bit too abruptly for my liking… on such an awful cliffhanger. While I normally have no problems with cliffhangers, sometimes when starting a new series, it can be just a slight annoyance with a sudden abrupt ending and I’m flipping the page to only find the acknowledgements. Nonetheless, I’m now eagerly awaiting the next book to this series. I highly enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what’s to come now for the characters!