Review: Sunrise (Ashfall #3) by Mike Mullin
Series: Ashfall #3
Genre: Young Adult, Survival, Science Fiction
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Expected Publication: April 15, 2014
The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors' constant companions.
When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.
Sunrise is the third and final book in Mike Mullin's Ashfall trilogy. The book picks up just shortly after Ashen Winter ends and we learn how things have progressed on the farm now that Alex's family has been reunited.
The best part about Sunrise for me was Darla. As a character she's fantastic. Darla is the complete opposite of Alex in that she's a natural born leader as opposed to Alex who really struggles in the role. Darla is also incredibly brave and resourceful. Everything she does is calculated in her head a million times before being set in motion. Listening to her head and not her heart is what has kept her alive and continues to keep her alive throughout Sunrise. I must say it's incredibly refreshing to see such a headstrong and capable female character. She doesn't need Alex to survive but instead its him who needs her. I really enjoyed that dynamic. I just wish Alex and everyone else appreciated her as much as I do.
I also enjoyed seeing a bit beyond just the farm and Warren. At one point Alex and the others find another group of survivors who had been living in a Walmart (I think) distribution center. It was great to see the ways that they had been surviving and it also infused new blood into the small circle of characters we already knew. Things really pick up for the better after this encounter happens.
Now even though I ended up finishing and enjoying (parts at least) of Sunrise that doesn't mean that the book wasn't without faults. Believe me when I say that they aren't few and far between but instead a normally occurring aspect of the book.
My first issue with Sunrise was the length. Where Ashen Winter suffered was it being too long. This is the complete opposite of Sunrise which I felt was too short. Everything from intimate conversations between characters to what should've been action packed sequences felt rushed. I never had a chance to process what was going on since the story was ADDing all over the place.
Another thing I didn't care for was the behavior of the Warrenites. It's entirely stupid how they behaved. Why,why,why wouldn't you protect yourselves when there are still plenty of bad people in desperate need of resources. Nobody save maybe one or two citizens thought ahead. They all deserved the crap they received and I was entirely frustrated because of it.
Lastly, I think my biggest issue by far with Sunrise was Alex. I can't even begin to rightly describe how infuriating his character is throughout the book. To put it bluntly, he is literally is the worst part of Sunrise and by the end I didn't just want to throttle him, no, I wanted him dead. As for what would become of Darla, yeah, she'd be better off without him as well. She is way too good a person to be treated like a second class citizen by Alex for the rest of her life. What happened Alex? You were such an amazing character at the start of this series. Why, did you have to disappoint me so much in Sunrise? I just wish I could get that character back that I loved in Ashfall because this shell of a character was nothing but a waste of space and frankly I'm embarrassed for the Author even writing you this way. Unnecessary drama and decisions does not a good book make.
As far as Series Finales go this was a major letdown. Sure, I'll give the story some props for it's entertainment value in its second half and If it wasn't for those few bright moments this might've been a very different review than it ended up being. Ultimately however a few decent chapters can't make up for the stupendously stupid choices the main character seems to make throughout the book. While I don't regret reading Sunrise my experience was lackluster enough that it might put me off from trying further books from the Author if he decided to ever revisit the series in the future. Without giving anything away there is still certainly enough open-endedness to suggest that this truly might not be the end after all. With that being said, I'll be rating Sunrise by Mike Mullin ★★★.
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Want to check out my review for Ashfall? Click Here!
Want to check out my review for Ashen Winter? Click Here!